Sports

Dave Belisle: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Every parent would want their kid to be coached by Dave Belisle. After watching his team lose in a “classic” in the Little League World Series, the coach brought his team together to deliver inspiring words to his young players. Belisle did something that professional coaches struggle with across the world in every sport, convincing your players it’s okay to lose.

Here’s what you need to know about the man behind the famous speech:


1. Belisle Told His Team ‘You Guys are Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Absolutely Awesome’

Dave Belisle Little League Coach

(Screengrab via ESPN)

The impassioned speech was transcribed by the Providence Journal:

Heads up high. Heads up high. I’ve gotta see your eyes, guys. There’s no disappointment in your effort — in the whole tournament, the whole season. It’s been an incredible journey.

We fought. Look at the score – 8-7, 12-10 in hits. We came to the last out. We didn’t quit. That’s us! Boys, that’s us!

The only reason why I’ll probably end up shedding a tear is that this is the last time I’m going to coach you guys. But I’m going to bring back with me, the coaching staff is going to bring back, you guys are going to bring back that no one other team can provide – that’s pride. Pride.

You’re going to take that for the rest of your lives, what you provided for the town of Cumberland. You had the whole place jumping, right? You had the whole state jumping. You had New England jumping. You had ESPN jumping. OK? You want to know why? They like fighters. They like sportsmen. They like guys who don’t quit. They like guys who play the game the right way. If everyone would play baseball like the Cumberland Americans, this would be the greatest game.

The lessons you guys have learned along the journey, you’re never going to forget. We’re going to have some more fun. We have two more days of fun. When you walk around this ballpark in the next couple of days, they’re going to look at you and say: “Hey, you guys were awesome!’

Everybody has said: You guys are awesome. Awesome. Awesome. Absolutely awesome.

It’s OK to cry, because we’re not going to play baseball together any more. But we’re going to be friends forever. Friends forever. Our Little League careers have ended on the most positive note that could ever be. OK? Ever be.

There’s only going to be one team that’s going to walk out of here as World Series champions. Only one. We got down to the nitty-gritty. We’re one of the best teams in the world. Think about that for a second. In the world! Right?

So, we need to go see our parents, because they’re so proud of you. One more thing. I want a big hug. I want everyone to come in here for one big hug. One big hug, then we’re going to go celebrate. Then we’re going to go back home to a big parade.

I love you guys. I’m gonna love you forever. You’ve given me the most precious moment in my athletic and coaching career, and I’ve been coaching a long time – a looooong time. I’m getting to be an old man. I need memories like this, I need kids like this. You’re all my boys. You’re the boys of summer.

So, for the last time, we’re going to yell Americans: One, two three – Americans!

OK. Good job. Let’s go. Time to go.


2. He’s Also a Hockey Coach

Belisle splits his time between coaching baseball and coaching hockey. Though he says that he prefers baseball a little more, he told the Valley Breeze early in 2014:

I love both sports, and maybe because of where and when I grew up in Manville, I absolutely love baseball and especially Little League baseball.

His team, Cumberland American Little Leaguers, won its place at the Little League World Series by winning the New England championship in 2013. Speaking to the Valley Breeze, Belisle said:

That is my most cherished coaching memory. We did not have a regular ace pitcher, but those kids kept grinding and grinding and made themselves good enough to go to Williamsport. That was a great experience.

He knew going in that this being his last time around with this team was going to be emotional:

It will be the last time that I do it because then it will be time to move up to Babe Ruth League with my boys. But the kids who were on that team last year are already working out and trying to improve their games, and some of them are developing as pitchers, so who knows what could happen?


3. His Dad Is a Rhode Island Sports Legend

Dave Belisle Dad Mount Saint Charles

The Mount Saint Charles team celebrating victory in 2013. (Facebook)

As coach of the Mount Saint Charles Academy, Belisle’s dad, Normand “Bill” Belisle, is a hockey institution. His amazing record at the school is 904 wins, 129 losses, and 32 ties. His illustrious career at the school was featured in a documentary call Ice Kings. Around 24 Mount Saint Charles players have been drafted by the NHL. He has been involved in coaching in Rhode Island since 1954.

David Belisle attended Mount Saint Charles and played for his dad, after he graduated, he joined his dad in coaching.


4. His Son Is on the Cumberland Team

Dave Belisle Speech

(Screengrab via ESPN)

One of the Dave Belisle’s sons, Brendon, is a hockey star at Mount St. Charles. Brendon Belisle is also a two-time all-state player. His other boy, James, has just finished his freshman year at Mount Saint Charles and is described as a “proficient hockey player.” Another of his boys, Johnny, will be a freshman next year at the school. Meanwhile, Johnny, can also be seen as one of the Cumberland American Little Leaguer’s struggling to hold back the tears as his father delivers his impassioned words.

In addition to coaching his sons, Belisle also coached his young brother Peter, while he was a Mount Charles player. Peter Belisle is now the head coach of the UMass hockey team.

5. Belisle Works a Day Job as a Salesman

Mount Saint Charles Coach Speech

Belisle cut his coaching teeth alongside his father here, at Mount Saint Charles Academy, in Woonsocket, Rhode Island. (Google Street View)

Belisle divides his time between coaching and his day job as a salesman. When he began working with his dad at Mount Charles, he would head to the rink straight from his regular work.

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4 comments

  1. Dave Bwkiske was a classmate and friend of mine at Mt St Charles (class of ’77!). And allow me to affirm: what you see (and hear) is the real thing! I can’t tell you how proud I was to tell my own three midwestern boys– so far away from my new England roots– that I know this man, Dave– the man who elicited tears from young and old alike in his very inspirational post-game talk to his team flowing their close loss in a LLWS classic. Dave is the epitome of what a youth coach SHOULD be (but seldom is). He represents the inspiration, encouragement, and respect That is so often sorely lacking in youth sports — especially on teams that are “competitive.” Dave’s comments this evening during his ESPN interview are legendary (and telling– for they really do come from the heart of the Dave that I knew in high school): they should be memorized, internalized, and then adopted by youth coaches of ALL sports. “Respect the child,” said Dave. How often does THAT get lost in the shuffle for “the win?”. If Dave can motivate and train a team from a small town of 33,000 in RI so that thevkids can compete (and BELIEVE !) with “the best” ( including an All-Star “A” team out of Chicago, that speaks to the courage and hard work of the kids, yes… But even more importantly, I think it speaks to extraordinary and innate (thanks, dad “Bill” Belisle!) ability of a very genuine and humble man with a natural gift of leadership (and humir and genuineness) and (most importantly) the ability to communicate with youngsters of all age and ability levels. The ESPN guys were spot-on when they asked Dave if he were for hire! Can you imagine how youth sports coukd change if coaches adopted Dave’s methods?! Of course, methods aren’t the be-all– Dave us an extraordinary individual and leader– gifts that not everyone possesses. However, adopting the “methods” in themselves coukd revolutionize youth sports. You can be competitive and classy at the sane time (grow up, Johnny Manziel– these Cumberland should put you to shame with their classy demeanor!). Dave– please: when the time is right for you and your family, I beg you to entertain the idea, and consider the possibilities. Your impact on youth sports could be revolutionary in the best of ways! So proud to be able to say that I know you!

  2. In this age of AAU hoops and traveling sports teams of all sorts coached by has-beens and never-wasses who failed to take advantage of the student side of the student-athlete paradigm, we need more coaches like Dave Belisle. He’s in it for the kids and the game. He lets them understand that the journey can be as important, if not more important, than the destination. These will become kids who aren’t going to be afraid to fail and will recognize that often times, lessons learned from losses can prove more valuable than winning. They won’t be afraid to try, because the worst they’ll learn is another way that doesn’t work. If, unlike many of their up-and-coming peers, they learn these lessons, they’ll become the innovators and leaders that are in such short supply today because no one wants to fail. Learn the lesson, those who fail and don’t quit will be the ones who accomplish great things!!!!! More Dave Belisles need to be one our sidelines and benches and less of the guys with winning “attitudes”. Kids need to understand the PROCESS of being successful is far beyond projection and attitude and more about substance and character!!
    Godspeed Dave Belisle and the Cumberland American Boys of Summer!!!

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