EDITORIAL: Belisle at Mount — One of the Greatest Eras in American Sports

Friday, August 10, 2018
EDITORIAL

Bill Belisle
Forget the “Bird Years” or “Belichick and Brady.”

The greatest sports era in New England history -- and maybe American sports history -- is the coaching career of Bill Belisle at Mount Saint Charles.

Disney is already drooling for the movie rights.

Belisle built a sports powerhouse at a small Catholic boy’s school in Woonsocket, Rhode Island.

The accomplishments are sports lore.

26 consecutive state titles (1978-2003).

32 state championships.

More than 1,000 wins.

2 first overall NHL draft picks — Brian Lawton, the first-ever American to be selected first overall in 1983 and Bryan Berard in 1995.

More than 20 Mounties who have gone on to be drafted by NHL clubs, including 2015 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Mathieu Schneider.

And those are just some of the numbers.

For those that played for Belisle, the affection will last a lifetime. Since 1975, thousands of young men had the opportunity to learn how to compete and win and lose under his guidance.

Well, mostly win.

Playing for Mount hockey is analogous to playing football at Notre Dame or Alabama — it proves you played for a winner.

"When I was a kid at Mount Saint Charles we'd skate for six or seven hours a day in the summer. Kids today can't do that because things are too structured and regimented. I think USA Hockey is trying to right some of the wrongs with the ADM,” said Mathieu Schneider during his own induction into the Hall of Fame.

While times have changed and sports have changed, Belisle should be cherished for building a winning program, teaching young men excellence, and all without personal fanfare.

Bill Belisle is one of the most successful coaches in American sports history.

  • 2016 U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame Inductee 

    Belisle was inducted into the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame on Wednesday, November 31, 2016.

    He was inducted alongside Craig Janney and the 1996 World Cup of Hockey Team  

    See His Speech Below: 

     

    PHOTO: Mount Hockey Twitter

     
  • 26 Straight State Championships 

    After losing the State Championship to La Salle in 1977, Mount would go on a historic run. 

    From 1978 to 2003, Mount would win the State Championship every year for a total of 26 straight titles. 

     

    PHOTO: Mount Hockey Twitter

     
  • 32 Total State Championships 

    Since being named head coach of the Mounties in 1975, Belisle has led the program to 32 total State Championships in 43 seasons. 

    His last title came in 2014, capping off a run of six championships in seven years. 

     

    PHOTO: U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame 

     
  • Over 1,000 Career Wins 

    On Friday, February 3, 2018, Mount Saint Charles defeated Smithfield 9-2 to give Belisle the 1,000th win of his career. 

    The mark is the most wins ever by any high school hockey coach in the country.

    He entered the season with 990 career wins. 

    In the game, six different players scored including Belisle’s grandson, James Belisle.

     

    PHOTO: Mount Hockey Twitter

     
  • Mount Ranked #1 in Country 

    During Mount's run of 26 straight State Championships, Belisle's teams were ranked #1 in the country a total of nine different times. 

     
  • Mount Saint Charles Athletic Hall of Fame Inductee 

    Not surprisingly, Belisle was inducted into the Mount Saint Charles Athletic Hall of Fame in 2014. 

    Players that Belisle coached, who are also in the Mount Hall of Fame, include: Garth Snow, Mathieu Schnieder, Brian Lawton, Keith Carney, Brian Bouche, Bryan Berard, Jeff Jillson, the 1977-78 Boys Hockey Team, Dave Capuano, 

     

    PHOTO: NHL

     
  • Two First Overall NHL Draft Picks 

    Two of Belisle's players were drafted number one overall in the NHL. 

    Brian Lawton was the first ever American to be picked #1 overall in 1983. 

    Twelve years later, Bryan Berard was selected first overall in 1995. 

     
  • Over 20 Players Sent to NHL 

    In his career, Belisle has sent more than 20 players to the NHL including 2015 U.S. Hockey Hall of Famer Mathieu Schneider, Brian Boucher, Keith Carney and others. 

     

    PHOTO: NHL

     
  • National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Famer

    In 2000, Belisle was inducted into the National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame. 

     

    PHOTO: Mount Hockey Twitter

     
  • 2018 RI Hockey Hall of Famer 

    Belisle will be inducted into the Rhode Island Hockey Hall of Fame as part of its inaugural class on September 20, 2018. 

    Other members of the class include Bryan Berard, Ron Wilson, Cammi Granato, Brian Lawton and more. 

    The only question now is how many more Halls of Fame can tap Belisle.

     

    PHOTO: USA Hockey

     
  • Returned to Coach Following Accident 

    While Mount was going for their sixth straight state Championship in 1983, Belisle fell on the ice during practice and fractured his skull.

    The injury left him in a coma. 

    After a year-long recovery process, Belisle returned to Mount to continue his winning ways. 

     
  • Won State Championship at Mount as Player 

    Before he became the coach, Belisle played at Mount and helped the team win the State Championship in 1947. 

     

    PHOTO: NHL

     
  • Nearly 600 Home Wins 

    During Belisle's career, the team almost never lost a home game. 

    Belisle has nearly 600 home wins and just over 70 home losses. 

     

    PHOTO: Mount Hockey Twitter

     
  • Winning Percentage of Over .800 

    With more than 1,000 wins and less than 200 losses, Belisle leaves the coaching ranks with a winning percentage of .818. 

     

    PHOTO: Mount Hockey Twitter

     

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