5 February 2019 – Legendary American-Croatian NFL coach Bill Belichick (66) is set to be made an honorary citizen of his grandparents’ hometown in Croatia.
On Sunday, Belichick won his 6th Super Bowl title when his New England Patriots beat the LA Rams 13-3 to win Super Bowl LIII in Atlanta.
The American-Croatian joined George Halas and Curly Lambeau as the only coaches to win six NFL championships since postseason play began in 1933. Sunday was his 12th Super Bowl appearance, 9th as a head coach, and is the most of all time. He is also the oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl.
Belichick’s paternal grandparents Ivan Biličić and Marija Barković emigrated from the town of Draganić in the Karlovac County in Croatia in 1897 to Pennsylvania and the town wants to honour him with honorary citizenship.
“We will propose that Belichick is made an honorary citizen of Draganić. He has greatly contributed to the promotion of our little place, and he himself does not hide the fact that he is proud of the place he comes from,” Stjepan Bencetić, Draganić’s mayor told 24sata.
Bencetić says that they have been given Belichick’s contact details and will be extend an invitation to the famous coach.
“We have just got a contact and will be in touch. We will congratulate him on the Super Bowl and then inform him that he will be made an honorary citizen of Draganić. Of course, we will invite him to Croatia to see the place where his ancestors came from and to talk about all the things which connect us,” he added.
“I am very proud of my dad’s family tradition and history with Croatians. I’m proud of that heritage,” Belichick was quoted as saying.
His father, Steve Belichick (born Stephen Biličić), played for the Detroit Lions and was an assistant coach and scout with the United States Naval Academy football team for 33 years.
Honorary citizen is a status bestowed by a place on an individual whom it considers to be especially admirable or otherwise worthy of the distinction.