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Coach: 25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference Hardcover – October 27, 2005

6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These often entertaining reminiscences about the impact that athletic coaches can have on their players are a mixed bag. The very disparate nature of the essays sometimes creates a loss of overall focus, but the wide range of sports covered—baseball, football, basketball, track, tennis, golf and fencing—is a plus. Only four of the 25 pieces are written by women, but they offer interesting contrasts. Novelist Francine Prose describes the 1950s gym teacher from hell, while Christine Brennan fondly remembers her beloved 1970s high school coach who, before Title IX, battled against the lack of funds and equipment for girl's teams. Journalists George Vecsey and Frank Deford present historical recollections of, respectively, baseball's legendary Casey Stengel and Al McGuire, the high-profile basketball coach at Marquette University, but most of the other pieces touch on personal coaching experiences. Of particular interest is CNN correspondent Tour's evocation of a 1970s tennis club in Dorchester, Mass., started by Mister Smith, who dreamed of turning African-American ghetto kids into professional tennis players. While moving, Jane Leavy's description of being a dying coach for a friend with AIDS feels out of place in a collection that otherwise deals with sports. (Oct. 27)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Phil Jackson will earn 10 million dollars for coaching the Los Angeles Lakers this season. Division I college football coaches regularly earn in excess of 1 million per year. They may all be fine coaches, but the coaching that affects millions of lives every year takes place in smaller, virtually invisible venues: in youth leagues and in junior-high and high schools. This collection of essays--many originally published here--explores the work of 25 coaches of various kinds and degrees of renown. Most are written about coaches rather than by them (Frank Deford on Al McGuire, David Maraniss on Vince Lombardi), but perhaps the most powerful selection describes what happened when Jane Leavey, author of Sandy Koufax (2002), agreed to serve as the "dying" coach for an AIDS-stricken friend. A moving and often humorous collection that may attract a significant amount of "off-the-book-page" attention. Wes Lukowsky
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (October 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446577456
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446577458
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,360,263 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Julie Jordan Scott on January 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I picked up this book because I thought it was

about Creativity Coaching, one of the Life Coaching

specialties I use in my professional life.

Then I saw it was about ATHLETIC coaches - and

writer's relationships with SPORTS coaches.

I rolled my eyes at myself at making such an


I decided I would read some of the selections


I turned first to John Irving - a writer whose

work I especially enjoy. His quote, "When you

love something, you have the capacity to bore

eveyone about why - it doesn't matter why." and

decided that quote may be the very reason this

book called out to me.

The other selection I found incredibly compelling

was from writer Lauren Slater. I was in tears

as I sat in Barnes and Noble reading this

lush, evocative entry. She allowed us to witness

her trip to Summer Camp and the deep sadness and

horrible inner battle she had as she separated

herself from her mother, as well as the movement

from it thanks to Coach Kim.

This would be inspiring to any kind of teacher

and any kind of writer, though those who actually

ARE athletic coaches may find it the most

helpful of all.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By T. Faranda on August 24, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This book was given to me while I was in Sloan Kettering in January, by Steve Valerio and his wife Jennifer. For a couple of years while I was coaching the North Jersey Rugby Club, Steve was the president of the club. He wrote a really lovely sentiment in the front of the book, for which I am greatly appreciative.

Coach is not the type of book I'd buy for myself, but it was pretty good! I really enjoyed it. There are 25 reminiscences by a variety of people - mostly professional writers and authors - about coaches who deeply influenced them. Of course some of the essays were pretty average - to be expected when there are 25 of them - but some of them were really quite brilliant.

My favorite was by Jane Leavy (never heard of her before reading this book) entitled "Coaching Bob" and it's different from the rest of the essays. In it she describes coaching Bob - a man suffering from AIDS - on how to live his life and face his impending death.

The last three essays were by well-knwn sports writers and commentators Bob Wolff, Ira Berkow, and Bud Collins. All very good.

The fellow who gave me the book, Steve Valerio, is your typical great guy rugby player. When I started coaching North Jersey, Steve, who was called "Flash" because of his (lack of) speed, was playing wing, the speed position on the rugby field. After a while, having discerned his (lack of) speed, we moved him to wing forward, where he never let us down.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Z. Blume on March 19, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is an anthology of articles about coaches who influenced each of the writers in the book. The pieces themselves are hit and miss with some great stories by George Vecsey, Benjamin Cheever and Frank DeFord among others, but there are also several that just aren't that interesting. The benefit is that you don't have to read any of the chapters that don't interest you and the good ones are worth the price of the book. I would recommend this for a quick read of some inspirational stories, but not as a comprehensive anthology about the greatness of coaches or what makes them special.
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