Bill Belichick, Robert Kraft praise Dante Scarnecchia following retirement announcement


Bill Belichick and the Patriots have a tremendous void to fill on the coaching staff this offseason following Dante Scarnecchia announcing his retirement Tuesday after 36 seasons in the NFL, 34 of which came with the Patriots.

His importance and value to the organization was shown in the statements released by Belichick and owner Robert Kraft.

"Dante Scarnecchia has been unbelievable in every way. As a coach, he was extraordinarily talented at teaching his players and bringing the most out of each of them," Kraft said. "Dante put everything he had into helping his players achieve their maximum potential -- the mark of a great coach. His contributions to our team and to the game of football are unprecedented over the last four decades. Yet even more remarkable is the impact Dante has had on countless players, coaches and staff members who have walked through our doors.

"He modeled the principles he believed in through his hard work, diligence and integrity. He held himself accountable. He trained alongside his players. He treated everyone with respect. There truly is no way to sum up the incredible career he's had, the positive impact he's made on our franchise or how much he will be missed. We are forever grateful for Dante and wish him the absolutely best in his next chapter, along with his lovely wife Susan and his family. The New England Patriots are better because of Dante Scarnecchia, and he will always have a home with us."

Belichick added: "It was a privilege to coach with Dante for so long. I knew that long before his initial retirement and throughout a second act of continued excellence. Dante is among the very best assistant coaches ever."

Scarnecchia was the longest-tenured NFL coach in 2019 and owns the most coaching seasons in Patriots history. The last NFL coach to spend at least 30 seasons with one team was Dick Hoak, who spent an NFL-record 35 seasons as an assistant with Pittsburgh.

The 71-year-old has spent all but four seasons (1989-90, 2014-15) with the Patriots. He was an offensive line coach for the Colts from 1989-90 and briefly retired for two seasons from 2014-15.

Scarnecchia will go down as one of the best assistant coaches in the history of the NFL.