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The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike…

The Legends Club: Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, and an Epic… (2016)

by John Feinstein

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John Feinstein is my most favorite author of sports books, particularly those related to college basketball. He covers a thirty year basketball rivalry among Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State. Most of this book centers on the coaching rivalry between Dean Smith from North Carolina and Mike Krzyzewski from Duke. After North Carolina State won the NCAA Tournament in 1983 under Jim Valvano, they have struggled to keep up with their other NC competitors. Valvano was the most interesting character of the three coaches and his struggle against cancer was heroic and inspiring.

I found the friendship between Valvano and Krzyzewski very interesting given their polar opposite personalities. There are a lot of great stories about the competition for recruits and the competition on the court. The ACC was my second favorite brand of basketball in the 1970s and early 80's. (My favorite was Big 5 basketball.)

This book is well researched and a pleasure to read if you like college basketball. Plenty of great stories. ( )
  writemoves | Jan 30, 2017 |
Every sport has times and places that become the pinnacle of that sport. A strong case can be made that North Carolina college basketball in the 1980s and 90s is one of those zeniths. Feinstein argues that the rivalry between the legendary coaches of North Carolina, Duke, and North Carolina State is what made their basketball so great. The author also provides respectful insight on the complex relationships between these men and the realities of playing and coaching at the highest levels of a sport. While the initial appeal will be to college basketball aficionados and sport fans in general, the stories of these men’s lives and careers is interesting enough to appeal to a broader audience. ( )
  MarianneDawn | Aug 8, 2016 |
I have read many of Feinstein's books and enjoyed them all. This one is the best. I am probably very biased by my many years of experience as a college coach and by my love of college basketball - but the is excellent - far more than stories of wins and losses it is a funny but touching tale of men doing what they love and doing it with style. ( )
  labdaddy4 | May 1, 2016 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 038553941X, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 18 Feb 2016 14:59:36 -0500)

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