BORN TO COACH: A Season with the New York Knicks by Rick & Bill Reynolds Pitino

BORN TO COACH: A Season with the New York Knicks

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A chronicle of the Knicks' 1987-88 basketball season by the team's new coach, Pitino (at 35, the youngest in NBA history), and Reynolds, the sports columnist for the Providence Journal-Bulletin who covered Pitino's successful seasons as head coach of Providence College. Here Pitino touchingly recounts the genuine struggle he underwent in deciding to leave Providence (where he had taken the team to the Final Four) for a Knicks team that had done poorly for three successive seasons. Pitino brought a brand of playing to the Knicks that was alien to the individualistic New Yorkers. The new coach believed in training exhaustively, building up the players' stamina so that in game situations they could confuse and daze their opponents, who would be unable to cope with the faster pace. Surprisingly, Pat Ewing and the other Knicks responded positively to Pitino's approach, and he led them to 14 more wins than in the previous season, as well as to a play-off berth (which the Knicks lost to the Celtics). But Pitino's story isn't always a happy one, and he seriously considers going back to Providence (""I really have a better sense of worth as a college coach. . . knowing basketball is not the answer to keeping your job in the NBA. If you can't keep harmony on your team, everything you know about the game is irrelevant""). Despite a continual and jarring alternation between Pitino's first-person diary comments and Reynolds' narrative, this is one of the more absorbing and thoughtful basketball books of the season.

Pub Date: Nov. 25th, 1988
Publisher: New American Library