Bill Belichick, Brad Stevens, Alex Cora, Bruce Cassidy on OMF explain how they approach media

Ryan Hannable
August 21, 2019 - 4:05 pm

Every professional coach has a different way of approaching the media, which is on display in Boston with all four coaches not all having the same style -- some more different than others.

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As part of the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio Telethon, Bill Belichick, Brad Stevens, Alex Cora and Bruce Cassidy all joined Ordway, Merloni & Fauria for a one of a kind segment and were asked how they approach the media.

Here's what they had to say.

Bruce Cassidy: "I don’t read too much into it, to be honest with you guys. You guys got a job to do. You got a passionate fan base for every sport. People want to have an opinion. I think it’s great to have some banter. I don’t listen every day, so I guess if it got personal with certain players that’s when I’d say, ‘Hey, OK, let’s keep it to their performance on the ice.’ That’d be my only opinion. If that happens, like I said, I don’t read about it a lot, so I’m probably not the best guy to ask. But I do deal with the media every day. I have a lot of respect for the media. They have a job to do, I have a job to do. And I just find if you have to cover the Red Sox for 162 games, or the Bruins for 82 or the Celtics it’s a grind for you, too, I assume at some point during the year. So that’s why I try to be honest with my answers and give you the information that I feel is going to be out there anyway. Other people do it — everyone has their own way of doing it. That’s how I thought I’d work for the Bruins in Boston."

Brad Stevens: "You certainly hear things that you just kind of say, ‘That’s talk. That’s not real.’ But again, what Bruce said I totally agree with. Everybody has a job to do and part of the reason why we’re all compensated really well and we get to do this job with this kind of scrutiny is because of people’s interest. That people want to talk about it all the time is a good thing. I think the only thing that I would say is the only time it would ever bother me at all would be is if a player was unfairly maligned for things that aren’t real. I just think ultimately that’s why whenever you get a chance to, you try to support your players and your teams regardless of circumstance when you can. That’s just part of it. I think it’s easier to sit here when I’m 42 and have been a head coach for 12 years. It’s a lot easier for me to sit here now than maybe 12 years ago or certainly if I would have been good enough as a player in my early 20s to handle the scrutiny or the praise. Which, oftentimes, the praise is just as unsettling because you know that there are a lot of hands that are doing a lot of good things to help everybody have success."

Bill Belichick: “Things are a lot different than they were at a different point in time. It is what it is. I agree with what Brad and Bruce said, they hit it right on the nose. Everybody is trying to do the best they can. I think there are times when — I think when it gets personal I think that is crossing the line. You can think whatever you want about my coaching — good, bad, I have heard all of it. That is your opinion and I have no problem with that. I think when it gets personal with players and other people within the organization, I don’t think that is where it belongs, but I don’t have any control over that. Whatever it is, it is. I just try and do the best I can for our football team.”

Alex Cora: “I learned over the four years I worked on TV and doing Baseball Tonight covering the game, I learned a lot about how it works. I always tell you guys, I know how it works here. You guys ask the questions, but whenever there’s a headline, somebody else is behind the door and they are going to throw it out there and it’s going to be bigger than what it really is. I’ve seen it throughout the season last year when we were doing good, and this year when we struggle. Somebody else is going to make that news bigger than what it is. I keep everything in perspective. I do feel that my four years working in the media helped me to work in this market. Aaron Boone is the other one. He went through it for 5-6 years at ESPN and now you see him in New York. I always go back to Boone. Boone last year, he won 102 games in New York with the Yankees. It just happened another team in his division had a historic season and won 108. Everyone was saying he was a bad manager and it was a bad season — no, no, no. You know what, it was a good one and he was able to deal with negativity in New York. Now you see him with the Yankees and he’s dealing with it the same way. He understands how it works.” 

Related: Boston sports coaches on OMF explain what makes Bill Belichick, Patriots so successful