Once and for all New England Patriots Head coach Bill Belichick is of Croatian heritage. His grandfather Ivan Belicic came to United States in 1897 from Karlovac region and his grandmother Mary Barkovic came in 1898 also from near Karlovac. They lived in Monessen, PA. Bill’s father Stephen Nickolas Belichick (Bilicic) was born in 1919 and family moved to Struthers, suburb of Youngstown,

Bill Belichick

Ohio in 1924. Grandfather Ivan never went to school but spoke 6 languages. He worked at Pittsburgh Steel and was butcher and a gardener on a side. When he went for his citizenship papers immigration official suggested that he change his last name to White. He refused.

Ivan Belicic and Mary Barkovic had 1 daughter and 4 boys. Stephen “Steve” was son # 3 (father of coach Bill). He graduated Struthers High School in 1937 and Case Western Reserve University in 1941. He played professional football for Detroit Lions with Andy Runovich from Indiana University. Steve married Jeannette Munn (Bill’s mother) who was a Spanish and French professor at Hiram College where Steve was a head football, head basketball, head track, head golf and physical education coach. He belongs to CFU and his nieces visited Karlovac and relatives in villages of Draganic, Lazanic and Barkovic. They associated with other Croats in Pennsylvania and Ohio and relatives go by names of Yurcich, Buyan/Boyan and Brigich.

Stephen “Steve” Belichick and Jeannette Munn had one child (son) Bill who was born in Nashville in 1952 when his father Steve was coaching at Vanderbilt University.  William Stephen Belichick “Bill” went on to become 3-time Super Bowl coach and the rest is history.


Vedran Joseph Nazor, Croatian Chronicle, 2005

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