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Coach K : the rise and reign of Mike Krzyzewski
2022
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Library Journal Review
O'Connor (Belichick: The Making of the Greatest Football Coach of All Time) presents the first exclusively biographical look at Mike Krzyzewski (b. 1947), one of the most successful coaches in sports history, who has defined Duke University's dominant men's basketball program for over 40 years. (It's timed for Krzyzewski's planned retirement after the 2021--22 college basketball season.) O'Connor's is a deeply researched account of Krzyzewski's childhood in gritty Polish neighborhoods in Chicago, his four years as a West Point cadet, and the way he turned Duke into a basketball dynasty. Krzyzewski's mercurial relationship with Bobby Knight and the famous Duke/University of North Carolina rivalry are also woven into his life story. Using new insights from friends and family, O'Connor isn't afraid to show sides of the famous coach that most haven't experienced firsthand, and delves heartily into the leadership tools that still drive Krzyzewski. This timely book is the most comprehensive biography of the legendary "Coach K" to date. VERDICT The national spotlight will be on Krzyzewski as the basketball season winds down; all public libraries and sports collections will want to showcase O'Connor's appealing, candid profile of college basketball's winningest coach.--Janet Davis
Publishers Weekly Review
New York Post sports columnist O'Connor (Belichick) delivers a standout definitive biography of Mike Krzyzewski, who led the Duke Blue Devils to five NCAA titles during his decades-long tenure as coach. Fashioning his fascinating account from interviews with Krzyzewski's friends and players, O'Connor begins with his subject's childhood in 1940s and '50s Chicago as "the son of a cleaning lady" and a hoops fanatic ("I don't think I ever passed that schoolyard without seeing him playing basketball," one neighbor recalls). His persistence led him to captain the Army basketball team, under coach Bob Knight (as his "much-better half on the court"), before eventually becoming coach himself, a stint which led to his joining Duke's basketball program in 1980. O'Connor takes a nuanced look at Krzyzewski's legendary career--from his experiences coaching All-Stars Kobe Bryant, Dwight Howard, and LeBron James during the 2008 Olympics to the many lives Krzyzewski impacted on and off the court. The coach's preternatural ability to "motivate people to achieve things they did not believe they were capable of achieving" is inspiring, as is the arc that O'Connor paints of his life as "a low-income street kid" who became "the greatest college basketball coach of all time." Fans won't want to miss this insightful look at a colossal figure in college sports. (Feb.)
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