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A March to Madness: A View from the Floor in the Atlantic Coast Conference Paperback – February 15, 1999
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Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Boy was I wrong. Feinstein's insights and access showed me an entirely different side of the ACC world I only thought I knew. The spotlight here is on the coaches and we get to know most of them intimately -- their background, their fears, their expectations, their personal lives, their triumphs and failures. It's all fascinating stuff, although, frankly, I expected a little bit more about the players themselves. Instead, players like Tim Duncan and Vince Carter have mere bit parts in the background. But they were college players and I guess Feinstein really couldn't drag them into the commercial world of book writing.
Since the focus of the book is on the coaches themselves, the amount of access each coach gave Feinstein set the tone for the entire project. It is more than obvious that coaches like Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, Maryland's Gary Williams, Wake Forest's Dave Odom, Clemson's Rick Barnes, Virginia's Jeff Jones, and Florida State's Pat Kennedy gave Feinstein as much access and interview time as he wanted and they are covered thoroughly in the book. On the other hand, it's apparent NC State's Herb Sendek, Georgia Tech's Bobby Cremins, and, most importantly, North Carolina's Dean Smith didn't give Feinstein nearly as much time, access, and information as the others. Smith, in particular, is portrayed as an outside, shadowy figure and a pretty mean one at that.Read more ›
The book gives you great perspective on life as a basketball coach: how hard it is to climb the ladder, how uncertain the job is, how coaches' success depends on recruiting great players. The best parts of this book are the portraits of the coaches and how they got where they are today. Stories about Bob Kennedy and Gary Williams getting into a screaming match at the scorers table as assistant coaches; Jim Valvano and Rick Pitino at basketball camps in the off-season; and so on. Really compelling stories about the basketball life, including comments on the toll it takes on coaches' marriages.
The book has some drawbacks. For one, you almost need to be an ACC fan. I was already familiar with and interested in most of the characters in the book, but fans in other parts of the country may not be. Also, as time goes by and people move on out of the ACC, the book may become less and less relevent. All the players from that season are gone; many of the coaches too. I think only Herb Sendek, Dave Odom, Gary Williams, Mike Krz. are still coaching at those schools: gone are Rick Barnes, Pat Kennedy, Bobby Cremins, Jeff Jones, and of course El Deano. And the book really doesn't focus on the players at all: it's almost entirely about the coaches.
But some of the criticisms made by other reviewers don't seem valid to me: (1) Duke - I thought Feinstein bent over backwards NOT to show a Duke bias. But Duke finished first in the league that year, Duke has been one of the dominant programs in the game, plus Feinstein had some compelling stuff about Duke.Read more ›
I chose well. No, UConn is not a part of the Atlantic Coast Conference, the subject of this season-long profile by John Feinstein. But Feinstein gives a solid appreciation for what college basketball is all about through the experiences of the coaches, players, refs, execs, and fans active in the ACC, which Feinstein claims is perhaps the most competitive b-ball conference in Division 1, year in and out. "Let down just the slightest bit and you become instant roadkill," he writes.
Feinstein gives you a sense of the different coaching styles at play here, from Dean Smith's traditional approach at North Carolina to Rick Barnes' cut-up quirkiness at Clemson to Dave Odom's huggy-bear avuncularity at Wake Forest. He relates tales about the history and folklore of the conference that make one feel like an instant Dick Vitale just from reading them, even if the terms "traveling" and "charging" make you flash on American Express. Most importantly, he writes a book that really opens up the world of college basketball to the more casual fan, or even curious non-fan.
That's what I liked the book. I read it, relished it, and enjoyed it with practically no knowledge of the sport going in. The way Feinstein writes about how different refs call different fouls, for example, was both illuminating and entertaining reading.
Feinstein also writes candidly about contracts, recruiting, marriages (failed and successful), burnout, death, and all the other factors that affect college coaches.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
one of my favorite sports books. If you come from ACC country you will love it.Published 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
I have read several books written by coach K and as I am a Duke fan and none of these books have come close to John Finesteins "A March to Madness". Read morePublished on January 26, 2013 by Rizzo919
The book is moderately interesting, but verbose. You need to speed read this or you would have wasted many hours.Published on June 28, 2010 by J. M. Robinson
This book follows ACC basketball for a season. Very fun, like potato chips, hard to stop.Published on January 6, 2007 by Reader in Virginia
'A March to Madness' follows the Atlantic Coast Conference through the 1996-97 season with Feinstein's signature behind the scenes access. Read morePublished on December 11, 2006 by Douglas S. Wood
If you love ACC basketball and cannot get enough behind the scenes information about the coaches then you'll love this book. Read morePublished on September 26, 2006 by Riley
John Feinstein is a great writer, and this book is a look at one season in the ACC. He follows the teams around the conference for a season, giving us the background of the... Read morePublished on August 26, 2004 by T. Bratz
A March to Madness by John Feinstein is an in depth look at each men's basketball program in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Read morePublished on March 11, 2003 by Chris