Here's a smoothly crafted profile of a competent, kindly man at the top of his profession, seen through the eyes of his players--hockey luminaries like Bobby Clarke, Billy Barber, and Dave Schultz--his family, his associates, and the man himself. Fred Shero, coach of the Philadelphia Flyers, engineered the rise of his team from fourth place to first in their division of the National Hockey League. Under his leadership (and with the help of Kate Smith's rendition of the National Anthem), they captured the Stanley Cup for two consecutive seasons. A perfectionist whose will to win is tempered with wit as well as what his players claim to be extraordinary human understanding, Shero's philosophy is best summed up in one of his classic blackboard homilies: ""Take the shortest route to the puck carrier and arrive in ill humor."" His fair-mindedness and unparalleled knowledge of the game have put him in a unique position--a coach from whom the players keep no secrets. Nice guy, Fred.