Twenty-five state championships, four national championships, seven undefeated seasons: With the assistance of veteran co-author Paisner (co-author: Nobody's Perfect: Two Men, One Call, and a Game for Baseball History, 2011, etc.), Hurley tells the stories behind his remarkable success.
What are the numbers that a coach or athlete must garner before they are eligible to write the how-it’s-done guide to utter domination in the sport and in life? Without question, Hurley has met the requirements over his 40-plus seasons as head coach at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City, N.J., and a quote from Vince Lombardi at the beginning dispels the notion that Hurley is selling the idea that perfection can be achieved. Throughout, the author espouses the values of preparation and hard work in stories that span his career in coaching. Books from former coaches, proclaiming to deliver the secrets to success in sports, are a dime a dozen, but Hurley’s entry stands out as an example of how some of the older standards for sport—such as humility, the embrace of endless hard work, ignoring the trappings of success and the “bigger is better” mindset that leads athletes to put the bling before the ring—are still worthy standards to follow. Hurley often trained with the high school students he was coaching, to teach them that nobody, not even the coach, was above bettering themselves physically. At the same time, he writes, he questioned the impact it would have to erase one of the “lines” between the coach and the players, wondering if the benefits would outweigh the potential costs.
Hurley’s writing walks a fine line between unadorned and overly conversational, but the messages come through clearly, and fans of Friday Night Lights, as well as sports fans in general, will enjoy the author’s memories.