cover image Hard Work: A Life on and off the Court

Hard Work: A Life on and off the Court

Roy Williams, , with Tim Crothers. . Algonquin, $25.95 (288pp) ISBN 978-1-56512-959-7

Williams, the men's basketball coach at the University of Kansas (1988–2003) and at the University of North Carolina (2003–present), describes his personal and professional path to a Hall of Fame coaching career and two national championships. Ignored by his abusive, drunken father and raised primarily by a cash-strapped, saintly single mother, Williams paid for his college education at UNC by officiating intramural sports. When Dean Smith, that school's legendary basketball coach, offered Williams a low-paying job on his coaching staff, Williams accepted and sold calendars and delivered videotapes to TV stations to feed his family. As a head coach, Williams's dedication extends to landing recruits and running organized, thorough practices. And he's done all this while maintaining a cohesive family life. (He's married to his college sweetheart.) Well-intentioned and upbeat, the book treads the familiar ground of glossy, inspirational sports biographies. Williams recalls passionate speeches, great players (i.e., Michael Jordan, James Worthy) and various anecdotes from the coaching life, but never delivers consistent insight on the workings of a successful coach at two legendary sports programs. However, the book is redeemed by Williams's genial (and borderline hokey) tone and the forthright revelations of his tumultuous childhood and early days coaching in high school and college. 16-page photo insert. (Nov.)