|Bill Belichick on Don Brocher: ‘He was here to help the rest of us, and we’ll miss him’||01.02.13 at 2:12 pm ET|
FOXBORO — Patriots head coach Bill Belichick spent the first two minutes of his press conference Wednesday giving a heartfelt tribute to longtime equipment manager Don Brocher, the longest-tenured employee of the team. Brocher passed away due to complications from a battle with leukemia early Tuesday morning.
Brocher, who just turned 60 in November, leaves behind his wife, Laurie.
“I’d just say that as a football team, an organization, we’re saddened by the loss of Donnie this weekend,” Belichick said. “In a game where, we all see what kind of changes were made on Monday throughout the league, for somebody to be here 40 years, doing the job that he did for so many owners, coaches, general managers, you name it, players, was really a tribute to his dedication, consistency, dependability, quality of the work that he did.”
Brocher began his Patriots career in 1972 and became a institution inside the locker room, filling many different needs of player and coaches.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to [Brocher’s wife] Laurie and his family, and he’s a guy that six months ago when [former Patriots assistant equipment manager] John Hillebrand went to Jacksonville, sat in my office and we talked about how — he talked about how good he was feeling, how much he was looking forward to a few more years on the job, and then doing some other things he was looking forward to. And then six months later, where we are today,” Belichick said.
Belichick seemed most emotional when talking about the last time the team saw him, during the Sunday night game with the 49ers, as he spent time on the sidelines.
“Don was here for the San Francisco game,” Belichick said. “I don’t think anybody really had a sense of the physical and mental toughness he displayed that night just by being here, and doing his job and being here for us in that type of situation. But that was kind of Donnie, he was never one to complain, never one to talk about how he was doing, he was there to help the rest of us, and we’ll miss him.”
The Patriots released the following obituary on Wednesday:
Donald ‘Donnie’ S. Brocher, 60, a Boston native and a resident of Norton, Mass., lost his battle to Leukemia and died peacefully at Massachusetts General Hospital on New Year’s Day, Tuesday, January 1, 2013. Laurie, his beloved wife and best friend for 23 years, was at his bedside along with family and friends when he died.
Born the son of Edwin and Betty Brocher on November 23, 1952 in Boston, Mass., Don was raised in Marblehead, Mass along with his sister Debbie and brothers David, Danny and Bobby. His first love was hockey and his childhood sports idol was the Boston Bruins‘ Bobby Orr. He attended Beverly High School where, as a senior, he served as the equipment manager for the high school’s hockey team, and graduated in 1970. Read the rest of this entry »