An autobiography from a legendary coaching lifer.
In 1962, Boeheim (b. 1944), a native of tiny Lyons, New York, walked on to the Syracuse University basketball team as a lightly touted freshman, eventually earning a scholarship. In the fall of 2014, he will begin his 39th season as head coach of the Orange. In 2003, Boeheim won the national championship after several near misses, and in 2006, he was elected to the coaches’ wing of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Only Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski has more wins in the history of Division I. In this memoir, Boeheim’s voice rings through clearly, a tribute to both the coach and to his co-author, McCallum, a respected veteran basketball writer (Dream Team: How Michael, Magic, Larry, Charles, and the Greatest Team of All Time Conquered the World and Changed the Game of Basketball Forever, 2012, etc.). Boeheim keeps his focus on the college game, its evolution and his experience as the most visible person at Syracuse, although he shares relevant details of his personal biography as well. Basketball junkies will especially value the coach’s insights. Every two or three chapters, Boeheim breaks up the narrative with one of nine multipage “coaches notes” from the 2013-2014 season; these provide additional insight into Boeheim’s passion and preparation as well as his philosophies in dealing with players, officials, and peers on and off the court. Syracuse was an inaugural member of the Big East Conference that helped to transform college basketball in the 1980s, highlighting a tough, hard-fought style of play and larger-than-life coaching personalities, of which Boeheim was one of the more prominent. The tales from the Big East in its heyday mark some of the highlights of the book, as do his coaching insights.
Sometimes accused of being a complainer on the court, Boeheim comes across as likable in this readable, thoughtful book about coaching college basketball.