CANTON, Ohio - Bill Parcells, who led the Giants to their first two Super Bowl championships, led the Patriots to another Super Bowl appearances and resurrected the Jets' franchise after a series of woeful seasons, took his place among NFL legends Saturday night when he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
With many of his former players and coaches in attendance, including Super Bowl-winning coaches Bill Belichick, Tom Coughlin and Sean Payton, Hall of Famers Harry Carson and Lawrence Taylor, and Phil Simms and Vinny Testaverde, Parcells paid tribute to those who helped him along the way and taught him what it took to become a big-time professional coach.
Among those he thanked were his high school basketball coach, Mickey Corcoran, 92, who was on hand for the ceremony, and former Hastings College coach Dean Pryor, who gave Parcells his first head-coaching job in 1964.
"Mickey Corcoran, he was everything a 14-year-old guy needed -- coach, teacher, disciplinarian, butt-kicker," Parcells said. "He's a great friend, like a second father."
Parcells said Pryor gave him "one vital piece of information that I took with me and preached to every organization. That was, 'Bill, they deserve a chance to win, and you . . . have an obligatory responsibility to give it to them.' "
Parcells also paid tribute to his players and coaches, his family members, including his ex-wife, Judy, and the owners who hired him. He did not mention Jets owner Woody Johnson; the two worked together for only a year after Johnson bought the team in 2000 and Parcells served as general manager.
Parcells was presented by former Giants captain George Martin, a standout defensive end who helped the team to its first Super Bowl championship after the 1986 season.
"Bill was an in-your-face coach and a perfectionist," Martin said. "If he sees something he doesn't like, he's going to make you perform it over and over again. Bill had an immediate impact on all of us. We knew there was a new sheriff in town the day he arrived. He is an absolute master at identifying talent, and he was a master at motivating."
Parcells said Martin was instrumental in helping him through a difficult period when he first became coach in 1983. After the team went 3-12-1 that year and Parcells was concerned that he might not last through the following season, the Giants rallied in 1984 to finish 9-7 and make the playoffs. They won the Super Bowl two years later.
"Quite frankly, without [Martin's] support, I don't think I'd be here tonight," Parcells said. Parcells thanked the many coaches who worked for him over the years, although not by name.
"History has shown that I had top assistant coaches, great position coaches, some retired, some still going, others in pro football, division championships, conference championships and several Super Bowls. I was lucky to have some of the top names currently in pro football, and I want them to know I'm grateful for their support," he said.
Belichick, Coughlin and Payton have won a combined six Super Bowl championships.
Parcells also made a special request regarding where his bust is placed inside the Hall of Fame. In a nod to the off-field troubles that have plagued Taylor during and after his career, Parcells quipped, "When they put my bust in the Hall tomorrow, I'd like to be somewhere near Lawrence Taylor so I could keep an eye on that sucker."
Parcells closed by recalling a private meeting with the late Giants president and co-owner Wellington Mara, who took him into a corner of the team's locker room shortly after he was hired and pointed to a plaque with an inscription from Giants Hall of Fame cornerback Emlen Tunnell.
"That inscription read, 'Losers assemble in little groups and complain about the coaches and the players in other little groups, but winners assemble as a team.' Well, tonight, ladies and gentlemen, I get to do just that."