A Coach's Life : My Forty Years in College Basketball

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9780375502705: A Coach's Life : My Forty Years in College Basketball

When Dean Smith retired from the University of North Carolina in 1997 as the most successful college basketball coach in history, he left behind a long list of staggering statistics, including seventeen Atlantic Coast Conference regular-season titles, thirteen ACC tournament championships, twenty-three consecutive NCAA tournament bids, two national championships, NCAA records for twenty-five-win seasons and consecutive trips to the tournament Sweet 16 (thirteen), an Olympic gold medal, and twenty-four first-round NBA draft picks. A special panel assembled by ABC and ESPN named him one of the seven greatest coaches of the twentieth century in any sport. Another measure of Dean Smith's legacy is his profound impact on the lives of the players he coached. From Michael Jordan to the last man on the bench of his least gifted team, Dean Smith's players all credit him with forging in them the values of discipline, respect, camaraderie, and fortitude that laid the groundwork for their success in basketball and in life. Ninety-eight percent of his players earned college degrees, and a high percentage went on to graduate and professional schools.

In A Coach's Life, for the first time, Dean Smith tells the full story of his fabled career. With warmth, humor, and unflinching candor, he gives readers the best seat in the house—the view from the bench—for all of the memorable games, players, coaches, and teams, including North Carolina's fierce rivalries, their darkest hours, and their greatest triumphs. He explains his basketball philosophy and its sources, the origins of his many innovations to the game, and his thoughts on the issues and challenges facing college basketball today. He talks about his roots in family and faith, the source of much of his strength in taking controversial stands on social issues over the years, such as desegregating the Carolina basketball team in the early 1960s. He relates incisive leadership lessons distilled from five decades of showing young men how to win the right way, on the court and off.

A Coach's Life is a book about basketball filled with wisdom about living. To read it is to understand why Dean Smith made everyone around him better, and to see that even in the most competitive of arenas, doing good and doing well can be one and the same thing.

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From the Back Cover:


Praise for A Coach's Life

"Dean Smith's life epitomizes what a coach can be--teacher, counselor, mentor, example, friend. I have known Dean for years and admire his ability, character, and vision. A Coach's Life provides insight into his life and the lessons taught by it."
--Senator Bill Bradley

"As a Wake Forest graduate married to a Duke alumna, I have spent much of my adult life joining my wife in cheering against Dean Smith and his Tarheels. A Coach's Life reveals why those hopes usually were dashed. Dean Smith is the greatest basketball coach of this era; more exceptional than his mastery of X's and O's, however, are the extraordinary values and decency of this very special man. This is the Final Four of coaches' books: interesting, insightful, fun, and profound."
--Al Hunt, executive Washington editor, The Wall Street Journal

"Anyone involved in sports as a player, coach, or fan will both enjoy and benefit from A Coach's Life."

--Bob Knight

"Dean Smith is not merely a basketball coach of historic accomplishments. He is also a man of uncommon integrity and decency. His life story will be heartening to the many Americans who have watched him shape two generations of young athletes to reach their full potential as men."

--Senator John McCain
Praise for Dean Smith

"When I came to the University of North Carolina, you saw two people in me: my mother and my father. Now you don't see just my mother and my father; you also see Dean Smith."

--Michael Jordan

"What's more impressive to me about Dean than his record is how good he is as a teacher of basketball. I've always said he's a better teacher of basketball than anyone else. I couldn't begin to teach players the things Dean has taught them. I've admired him because there's more to him than just wins."                  --John Wooden

"Dean is one of the most organized and brilliant minds that I've ever met in basketball. He shared ideas and thoughts and philosophies with me that people just don't share with others, and I will always be grateful and respect him for that. He did me a tremendous favor. One of the greatest gifts you can share with somebody is the knowledge that you have."

--John Thompson

About the Author:

Dean Smith was born in Emporia, Kansas, in 1931. At age thirty he became head coach of the University of North Carolina, and in his more than thirty-six years there, he established a peerless record—879-254, .776—as the winningest coach in college basketball history. Smith has won numerous coaching awards, including eight ACC Coach of the Year titles, and was named coach of the 1976 U.S. Olympic team. He lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

John Kilgo is a writer who has known Dean Smith for three decades. He publishes a UNC sports magazine, Carolina Blue, and was the co-host of Smith's TV show for fourteen years. Kilgo lives in Davidson, North Carolina.

Sally Jenkins is the author of Men Will Be Boys and the co-author of Pat Summitt's first book, Reach for the Summit. A veteran sports reporter whose work has been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, she has worked for The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, and Condé Nast's Women's Sports and Fitness.

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