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What makes a coach great? How do great coaches turn a collection of individuals into a coherent “us”?
Seth Davis, one of the keenest minds in sports journalism, has been thinking about that question for twenty-five years. It’s one of the things that drove him to write the definitive biography of college basketball’s greatest coach, John Wooden, Wooden: A Coach’s Life. But John Wooden coached a long time ago. The world has changed, and coaching has too, tremendously. Seth Davis decided to embark on a proper investigation to get to the root of the matter.
In Getting to Us, Davis probes and prods the best of the best from the landscape of active coaches of football and basketball, college and pro—from Urban Meyer, Dabo Swinney, and Jim Harbaugh to Mike Krzyzewski, Tom Izzo, Jim Boeheim, Brad Stevens, Geno Auriemma, and Doc Rivers—to get at the fundamental ingredients of greatness in the coaching sphere. There’s no single right way, of course—part of the great value of this book is Davis’s distillation of what he has learned about different types of greatness in coaching, and what sort of leadership thrives in one kind of environment but not in others. Some coaches have thrived at the college level but not in the pros. Why? What’s the difference? Some coaches are stern taskmasters, others are warm and cuddly; some are brilliant strategists but less emotionally involved with their players, and with others it’s vice versa. In Getting to Us, we come to feel a deep connection with the most successful and iconic coaches in all of sports—big winners and big characters, whose stories offer much of enduring interest and value.