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The Legends Club
Cover of The Legends Club
The Legends Club
Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry
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The riveting inside story of college basketball's fiercest rivalry among three coaching legends—University of North Carolina's Dean Smith, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, and North Carolina State's Jim Valvano—by the king of college basketball writers, #1 New York Times bestseller John Feinstein
On March 18, 1980, the immensely powerful Duke basketball program announced the hiring of its new coach—the man who would resurrect the team, restore glory to Duke, and defeat the legendary Dean Smith, who coached down the road at UNC Chapel Hill and had turned UNC into a powerhouse. Duke's new man was Mike Krzyzewski. The only problem was, no one knew who Krzyzewski was, he had a so-so record in his short time as head coach of Army, and worst of all, no one could even pronounce his name. The announcement caused head scratches . . . if not immediate calls for his head . . . and on this note his career at Duke began.
The table was set nine days later, when on March 27, 1980, Jim Valvano was hired by North Carolina State to be their new head coach. The hiring didn't raise as many eyebrows, but with the exuberant Valvano on board, two new coaches were now in place to challenge Dean Smith—and the most sensational competitive decade in history was about to unfold.
In the skillful hands of John Feinstein, this extraordinary rivalry—and the men behind it—come to life in a unique, intimate way. The Legends Club is a sports book that captures an era in American sport and culture, documenting the inside view of a decade of absolutely incredible competition. Feinstein pulls back the curtain on the recruiting wars, the intensely personal competition that wasn't always friendly, the enormous pressure and national stakes, and the battle for the very soul of college basketball allegiance in a hot-bed area. Getting to the roots of the NCAA goliath that is followed religiously by millions of fans today, Feinstein uses his unprecedented access to all three coaches to paint a portrait only he could conjure. The Legends Club is destined to be one of Feinstein's biggest bestsellers.
The riveting inside story of college basketball's fiercest rivalry among three coaching legends—University of North Carolina's Dean Smith, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, and North Carolina State's Jim Valvano—by the king of college basketball writers, #1 New York Times bestseller John Feinstein
On March 18, 1980, the immensely powerful Duke basketball program announced the hiring of its new coach—the man who would resurrect the team, restore glory to Duke, and defeat the legendary Dean Smith, who coached down the road at UNC Chapel Hill and had turned UNC into a powerhouse. Duke's new man was Mike Krzyzewski. The only problem was, no one knew who Krzyzewski was, he had a so-so record in his short time as head coach of Army, and worst of all, no one could even pronounce his name. The announcement caused head scratches . . . if not immediate calls for his head . . . and on this note his career at Duke began.
The table was set nine days later, when on March 27, 1980, Jim Valvano was hired by North Carolina State to be their new head coach. The hiring didn't raise as many eyebrows, but with the exuberant Valvano on board, two new coaches were now in place to challenge Dean Smith—and the most sensational competitive decade in history was about to unfold.
In the skillful hands of John Feinstein, this extraordinary rivalry—and the men behind it—come to life in a unique, intimate way. The Legends Club is a sports book that captures an era in American sport and culture, documenting the inside view of a decade of absolutely incredible competition. Feinstein pulls back the curtain on the recruiting wars, the intensely personal competition that wasn't always friendly, the enormous pressure and national stakes, and the battle for the very soul of college basketball allegiance in a hot-bed area. Getting to the roots of the NCAA goliath that is followed religiously by millions of fans today, Feinstein uses his unprecedented access to all three coaches to paint a portrait only he could conjure. The Legends Club is destined to be one of Feinstein's biggest bestsellers.
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    6 - 8

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About the Author-
  • The Legends Club is John Feinstein's 36th book. He is the author of A Season on the Brink and A Good Walk Spoiled, both #1 New York Times bestsellers and Last Shot, which won the Edgar Allen Poe Award for mystery writing in the Young Adult category. He was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writer's Hall of Fame in 2000; the National Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013. He currently writes for The Washington Post and Golf Digest and is a regular contributor to The Golf Channel, Comcast Sports Regional Networks and hosts a college basketball show and a golf show on SiriusXM Radio. He lives in Potomac, Maryland with his wife Christine and is the father of three children, Danny, Brigid, and Jane.

Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 8, 2016
    Renowned sportswriter Feinstein has produced an engaging, mostly chronological history of three college basketball coaching icons and rivals, all from Atlantic Coast Conference universities within a mere 25 miles of one another. In 1980, new North Carolina State University basketball coach Jim Valvano shared his strategy for competing against Dean Smith, already a legend in the making as coach of the University of North Carolina: “I’ll never outcoach Dean Smith, but maybe I can outlive him.” Thirteen years later, Valvano was dead from bone cancer; he became even more famous posthumously. Smith coached until 1997, developing advanced dementia in retirement and dying in early 2015. That makes longtime Duke University coach Mike “Coach K” Krzyzewski the only surviving member of the triumvirate. Feinstein, who has covered college hoops most famously in 1986’s A Season on the Brink, relies on years of unprecedented personal access, input from the widows of Valvano and Smith, former colleagues, and—most heavily—Coach K himself to tell this story with dignity and respect. Feinstein’s long history with these coaches gives him intimate knowledge of his subjects, allowing him to provide an insider’s perspective that likely will be new even to ACC aficionados.

  • Kirkus

    February 1, 2016
    A veteran sportswriter returns with an account of the basketball wars--on- and off-court--among three iconic coaches in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Feinstein (Where Nobody Knows Your Name: Life in the Minor Leagues of Baseball, 2014, etc.), who also writes columns (Washington Post, Golf Digest) and appears on broadcasts of sporting events, proceeds more or less chronologically from 1980, when Mike "Coach K" Krzyzewski began his career at Duke University and Jim Valvano began at North Carolina State. The author charts the rises and falls of the three teams--Duke, North Carolina, and North Carolina State--and, eventually, the deaths of two of his principals--Valvano in 1993 and UNC coach Dean Smith in 2015. Feinstein's affection for the three is patent throughout, no more so than in his accounts of the deaths of the two late coaches. But he can barely restrain his admiration (and fondness) for Krzyzewski, whose accomplishments he chronicles with almost a family member's devotion. (In the acknowledgements, the author notes his close friendship with Coach K.) Feinstein goes into detail about some key games, delves into the biographies of some of the players, and generally becomes swept away at times by the tidal power of his own affections--perhaps most evidently (and excessively) in his cliched final sentence that claims that the stories of these three "will undoubtedly live forever." To his credit, the author informs his narrative with myriads of interviews with all of his principals--and with those who have survived them--and enriches all with his deep knowledge and love of the game. He navigates through the murky waters of recruiting and explains how certain rules have affected the game--e.g., the 45-second shot clock, the fairly recent NBA ruling that forbids young men to enter the draft right out of high school. A text that will delight college basketball fans but also raises tacit questions about the effects of big-time athletics on a university's academic mission.

    COPYRIGHT(2016) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    Starred review from March 1, 2016

    Sportswriter Feinstein (Where Nobody Knows Your Name) explores the rivalry and relationship among three coaches--University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Dean Smith, North Carolina State University's Jim Valvano, and Duke University's Mike Krzyzewski--both on and off the court. Extensively researched with interviews from players, colleagues, family, and Krzyzewski himself, the book traces how these legendary coaches led their teams to eight NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) championships, highlighting winning seasons, major games, milestones, and iconic plays. The author points out each coach's triumphs as well as their defeats. For example, Krzyzewski met early criticism at Duke as the team struggled to win games, while an academic scandal and NCAA investigation resulted in Valvano's resignation from North Carolina State. The heart of the title is the evolution of their relationships: the professional bond between Krzyzweski and Valvano morphed into brotherly love as Valvano battled cancer; and the tense, contemptuous relationship between Krzyzweski and Smith transitioned into one of respect over time. Although Johnny Moore and Art Chansky's The Blue Divide and Joe Menzer's Four Corners have previously covered these Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) rivals, Feinstein's volume adds depth to these coaches that extends beyond games and recruiting. VERDICT A must for college basketball history fans, especially those fascinated by the ACC.

    Copyright 2016 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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The Legends Club
The Legends Club
Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic College Basketball Rivalry
John Feinstein
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