25 Writers Reflect on People Who Made a Difference

Edited by Andrew Blauner
Preface by David Duchovny
Foreword by Bill Bradley

Subjects: Memoir, Autobiography, Biography And Memoir, Sports And Society, Composition And Rhetoric Studies, Literature
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438437347, 303 pages, March 2011

Table of contents

Bill Bradley

David Duchovny

The Old Man
George Vecsey

Why Be Last, Son?
E. M.Swift

My Losing Season
Pat Conroy

When I Was Young
Buzz Bissinger

Passing It On
John Edgar Wideman

Prudent Fitness: A Panegyric
Andrew Solomon

John McPhee

Physical Education
Francine Prose

John Irving

Something Special
Thomas Beller

Charles McGrath

The Coach Who Wasn’t There
David Maraniss

The Depression Baby
Frank Deford

Long Island Shaolin
Darin Strauss

Golf Lessons
George Plimpton

Tripp Lake
Lauren Slater

The Last of the Great Dreamers

The Boy They Cut
Benjamin Cheever

To Althea, From the Net
Robert Lipsyte

Coaching Bob
Jane Leavy

The Duel
Jonathan Ames

Our Miss O
Christine Brennan

Making It to the Majors
Bob Wolff

Back to Basics
Ira Berkow

Fit to Be Tied
Bud Collins

Twenty-five celebrated writers share the encouraging words and timeless wisdom of the coaches who influenced their lives.


"The really great coaches engage their players in a quest to be the best. In the right player-coach relationship, a quiet 'well done' can go a long way. These individual stories taken together form a narrative of value that shows us the powerful reward of vision, hard work, and the belief that together we can be something bigger and better than if we never listened to, learned from, or engaged with the people we encounter in our lives." — from the Foreword by Bill Bradley

"What happens when 25 wonderful writers meet 25 unforgettable coaches? The 25 life lessons you are holding in your hands." — Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated

"Compelling … rich … an all-star squad of scribblers. You don't have to be an ex-jock with a trophy case to find someone you can relate to here." — The Los Angeles Times

"Coach! One measly monosyllable, yet the word can evoke the entire range of human emotion, as it does in this masterful and touching anthology which promises endless pleasure for anyone who has experience coaching on either side." — Madeleine Blais, Pulitzer Prize¬ winner and author of In These Girls, Hope Is a Muscle

"This intriguing collection of essays will remind anyone who's ever been coached that it can be a powerful experience. Coaches come in all sorts of flavors. The gruff and kind appear here, as do the wise and the foolish, the encouraging and the destructive, and some in whom lots of these qualities and inclinations are curiously mixed. What the coaches share, at least in this remarkable collection of writers chronicling coaching, is that they are unforgettable." — Bill Littlefield, Host of National Public Radio's Only a Game

"A solid, entertaining collection recognizing great coaches, and a Beelzebub or two." — Kirkus Reviews

"A moving and often humorous collection." — Booklist

"Here is a book for all of us who teach to consider—the way students learn through those who help them learn how to use their bodies (and minds) while doing athletic work. Coaches offer so much to athletes—addressing their minds, hearts, and souls—as this extraordinary anthology lets us know so very well." — Robert Coles, author of Children of Crisis

"Perfect ... refreshing ... makes a true connection with the reader ... Sweet and often funny vulnerability, revealing the part of the writer that is willing to be coached. The collection has perfect 'pitch.' Writers pay tribute to coaches in the purest sense, showing their lasting influences." — USA TODAY

"Coaches—after parents, offsprings, siblings, religious leaders, teachers, and rules—are the most important beings on earth. Good ones can change your world. Bad ones, too. From E. M. Swift's crusty, old Frank Ward to Christine Brennan's protective Miss O.—the whistle-tooters in Coach prove the point again and again: coaches really matter." — Rick Telander, author of Heaven Is a Playground

"What coach wouldn't love to have this team?" — Roy Blount Jr.

"Coach is a collection of wise, funny, and humane writing on a subject that's poignant and elusive and usually sentimentalized into something unrecognizable. The intimacy of these accounts—some defiant, some celebratory, some subversively resentful—is what I enjoyed most." — Alec Wilkinson, author of My Mentor

"A superlative book. The stories in this anthology are, by turns, funny, wise, poignant, and always inspirational. This is a book you will cherish." — Peter Bonventre, ESPN

"This vivid, eloquent exploration of the connections between kids and their coaches is a memoir gem, a series of stories ranging from inspirational life-changing coaches to sadistic life-changing coaches. These stories speak to any parent whose child is being coached and to anyone who has ever been benched, been yelled into excellence, or been told to drop and do another twenty. Funny, sad, and inspirational." — Susan Cheever, author of Home Before Dark and My Name Is Bill

"Instead of boondoggles and bromides, what we have here are essays about real sports and the characters who left lifelong marks in their attempts to make something of these writers." — Katherine A. Powers, The Boston Globe

"I've spent much of a lifetime writing about coaches without thinking a great deal, if at all, about the people who coach elementary school kids or fencers or horseback riding. They are, for the most part, faceless and nameless to the sports world. But, as you see in this book, they leave lasting impressions just as Dean Smith or Vince Lombardi might. Coach is an intriguing mix of tales big and small, intimate, funny and sad. — The Charlotte Observer

"A must-read for anyone who thinks back to their childhood and remembers that special coach who demanded more. Coaches are all about finding diamonds in the rough, and this book contains a number of diamonds who recall all of the polishing and chiseling it took to make them shine." — Bill Ingram, HoopsWorld

"If you [coaches] ever had any reservations about what you do for a living, Andrew Blauner and 25 of the best writers in America have dispelled them. Blauner has assembled an incredible cast, including novelists, sportswriters, broadcasters, and commentators, who look back at their lives and identify coaches who've influenced their lives." — Coach and Athletic Director magazine

"Superb." — Chronicle of Higher Education