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

John Feinstein. Doubleday, $27.95 (416p) ISBN 978-0-385-53941-8
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. (Mar.)
Reviewed on: 02/08/2016
Release date: 03/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Compact Disc - 978-0-399-56565-6
Paperback - 496 pages - 978-0-8041-7317-9
Paperback - 720 pages - 978-0-399-56679-0
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Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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