History Book

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Monday, February 11th. Thank you for turning to WORLD Radio to help start your day. Good morning. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Coming next on The World and Everything in It: the WORLD Radio History Book.

Today, an assassination attempt on president elect Franklin Roosevelt. Plus, 23 years ago the Cleveland Browns fire their head coach, who goes on to become one of the winningest NFL coaches of all time.

EICHER: But first, 87 years ago this week, an Olympic first that has yet to be matched. Here’s Paul Butler.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: We begin today with February 15th, 1932, at the first Lake Placid Winter Olympics:

NEWSREEL: There’s the U.S. No. 1 team. Here they come up to the finishing line. Chalk up another victory for the USA!

The U.S. bobsled team takes gold. Eddie Eagan, one of the runners, becomes the first person in Olympic history to win a gold medal in both the winter and summer games.

Twelve years earlier, Eagan represented the U..S during the 1920 Summer Olympics in Belgium, as a light-heavyweight boxer. He defeated Norway’s Sverre Sorsdal to earn his first gold medal.

Eagan became the first American to win the British amateur boxing championship while studying at Oxford. Afterward, he toured the world, boxing everywhere he went. He was undefeated during the two year circuit.

Eagan returned to the 1924 Olympics but didn’t medal. He turned in his gloves and became a successful attorney.

Years later, Eagan became friends with the head of the U.S. Olympic Bobsleigh Committee, who convinced the 35-year old Eagan to join the American bobsledding team. Before arriving in Lake Placid, Eagan had never set foot in a bobsleigh before. A handful of other athletes have medalled in summer and winter olympics, but Eagan remains the only to win gold in both.

NEWSREEL: [Theme music]

Next, February 15th, 1933:

NEWSREEL: [Cheering]

Vacationing U.S. President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt attends a political rally in downtown Miami.

NEWSREEL: Mr. Mayor, my friends in Miami, I haven’t been here for seven years, but on my coming back I have firmly resolved not to make it the last time…

Some 25,000 people cram into Bayfront Park to catch a glimpse of FDR, just days before his inauguration. Giuseppe Zangara, mingles unnoticed in the crowd, cradling an $8 revolver from a local pawn shop.

NEWSREEL:The president-elect finishes his impromptu talk and prepares to drive out of the railway station when: [GUN FIRES] The startled onlookers suddenly realize what has happened…

Two bystanders attempted to interrupt the would-be-killer.

NEWSREEL: I knew he was shooting at the president so my first thought was to get the pistol up in the air so that he wouldn’t hurt any of the bystanders.

The shots missed Roosevelt, but wounded five others, including Chicago Mayor Tony Cermak.

NEWSREEL: Mayor Cermak, critically wounded, is carried to Mr. Roosevelt’s car. Resting in the arms of the president-elect, he is rushed to a hospital…

Cermak dies of complications 19 days later. Florida later executes Zangara by electric chair, and Roosevelt goes on to become the longest-serving president in U.S. history.

And finally, February 15th, 1996. Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell fires head coach Bill Belichick after just four seasons.

Belichick arrived in Cleveland in 1991 as a rookie head coach, ending his first season at 6 and 10.

BELICHICK: We showed that we could play with everybody in the league, the best teams, in the AFC and the NFC…

The next two years were slightly better, both 7-win seasons. But Belichick was slowly building a winning team—in his own way.

AUDIO: [Sound of sportscast about Bernie Kosar firing]

Belichick made a handful of controversial personnel changes, including cutting the popular veteran quarterback Bernie Kosar in 1993. He led the Browns to the playoffs in 1994, but 1995 was a disaster. After a 5-and-11 season, the team moved to Baltimore, changed its name to the Ravens, and showed Belichick the door.

Five years later, the New England Patriots named Belichick their new head coach:

BELICHICK: I’m tremendously excited to be here and be a part of the New England Patriots’ organization, this is a first-class operation…I’m thrilled to be part of this organization and have the opportunity to lead this team.  

Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady soon created a dynasty. The Patriots have posted 18 straight winning seasons, 16 playoff appearances, nine Super Bowl appearances, and six Super Bowl titles.

Belichick ranks as the third-winningest coach in NFL history with 291 wins.

And Cleveland? It got another franchise in 1999, but the Browns have only made one playoff appearance since then. They remain one of four NFL teams to never appear in a Super Bowl.

That’s this week’s WORLD Radio History Book, I’m Paul Butler.


WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

Like this story?

To hear a lot more like it, subscribe to The World and Everything in It via iTunes, Overcast, Stitcher, or Pocket Casts.







Pocket Casts

(Requires a fee)

One comment on “History Book

  1. Ronald J. says:

    I love the podcast but need to correct a mistake from this week’s history book feature. Bill Belichick WAS fired on February 15, 1996 but by the Baltimore Ravens, NOT the Cleveland Browns. The Browns ceased to exist after February 9 when NFL owners voted to approve the team’s relocation to Baltimore.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.