Author John Feinstein was there. He saw it, lived it, discussed it and now has written about the nine days in 1980 that produced rivals in basketball and friends for life. As a young college student, Feinstein met Dean Smith who was the North Carolina Tar Heels. Smith ruled the ACC in basketball and was larger than life to many other coaches. Also, he was given the reputation of controlling the conference and the referees by others in the conference.
Then in March of 1980, Duke University hired Mike Krzyzewski who was unknown to most of the college world and especially at Duke University. Nine days later North Carolina State would hire Jim Valvano and he was better known for his stand-up comedy and wit.
Feinstein tells story after story about how they three coaches would have a love-hate relationship for many years and how they tried to outwit and out recruit each other with Dean Smith having the upper hand. Games are remembered and details are given about some of the classic contests that involved the coaches in the ACC.
The remarkable thing about this book is the fondness that developed between Valvano and Coach K. When Valvano came down with cancer, Krzyzewski was the for him and spent time in the hospital talking and laughing with his buddy. They developed a closeness all the way through the death of Valvano.
Dean Smith eventually retired and in his time developed dementia. Coach K was there to talk to him and tell him what an honor it was to coach in the conference with Smith. The author was privy to all the stuff that went on in the ACC. He is sharing this with others in this fantastic book. You don’t have to be a Duke fan, North Carolina fan or NC State fan to enjoy this book.
This is a book for all College Basketball fans!