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Well, my DW never found time to read the book that I gave her last Christmas. Sat down about a week ago and finished today. Would give it a A+ or a 100, but Thurl (who wrote and actually published it - Big T Productions) had a few Typo’s…and usually I’m not a proofer…. So, it gets an A almost PLUS.
Actually, from a content perspective, it is perfect. A bit different as he published it as a motivational work as well. White Fang, because I seem to know more about him from reading between the lines, as well as many others should find it enjoyable…. Especially on some flights.
Readabiiity or perhaps the level needed for comprehensive understanding is excellent. Easy to read…easy to grasp….no need to look up words put into the text to show off some high faluting vocabulary. I would read for at least 2 hours and never get tired or bored.
Filled with trivia and well researched….save Bucknell is in LEWISBURG, not Louisville, PA. A few transposed dates…like 1891 instead of 1981. A few others since two surnames were the same, but spelled differently.
The real crux of the book is the interviews with so many of the folks associated with the team. Every coach, player and even Beverly Sparks. Who dat? The white haired lady that I have watched since 2006 sit behind the WP Bench and see all the ex-players come up and hug her. My seats are on the sideline and I often wondered about her. She talks about working for Sloan, Valvano, Robinson and Herbie…she was the secretary to all of them…and loved Lowe…
Other folks who barely get any spotlight have their moments. I knew that Max Perry was an owner of Al Smith Buick and he was influenced heavily by V’s “marketability”. He and his wife received a very upscale and expensive outfit for their first child, Maxie. Every child and grandchild has worn that outfit and has their picture made in it for their scrapbook.
Jim Rehbock went back to school and was a PA (Did you know that, PACPA?). He then went into medical management and still works for Bunn HS, but is an usher at Walnut Creek and the PNC. I have a buddy there and will look him up. I remember him grabbing V when he got emotional and might have ventured out of the coaching box and got a T. Tommy DiNardo is still a Project Engineer (Associate Director) for Merck. I did a LOT of the things he does and enjoyed that “Oh, BTW, can you move this plant” tasks in addition to my prime role as Safety and Environmental Director.
BTW, V DID have a pair of scissors GOLD PLATED and showed then to the team and said they were for cutting down the nets when they won the National Championship...but when they had the annual No Balls…no dribble practice which had the “cut down the nets drill”, they used plain ones. Someone STOLE or confiscated then during the Houston Ceremony and Reeb’s is still LOOKING for them.
Tommy Abetamarco is listed last, but his stories and his adventures are wonderful. He has coached at Rutgers and is an assistant at Iona. He said that when V shook hands with Coach Smith before the second game in the ACC Tourney, he said, with a straight face. Jim, you have to beat us and win the ACC Tournament to even get an NCAA bid and then turned and walked away. V actually physically assaulted and was strangling the Alphabet Man and V’s dad, Rocco, pulled him off…read the book and find out WHY..
I was ROFLMAO when Thurl included one of V’s Corporate Motivational speeches (to keep Pam dressed like a trophy wife). Summarizing, V paints this picture…reporters were asking him how he would handle the devastation of the loss to Houston. There were only 27 OTHER NCAA coaches with a ring. There would be 50 MILLION a viewers and it would be the most watched history of basketball. He remembered how Coach Smith calmly shook John Thompson’s hand and disappeared into oblivion. He quickly formulated a plan to be 28 and have his destiny recorded….
In order to be successful, you had to market and sell yourself as well as your product or services….so he also laid out his own “personal” marketing plan to make sure he was remembered in history. He planned for the ending and kept the score close and out coached Guy Lewis and it would be one nail biter last second shot. Whitt was the emotional leader, so he would take it and make it. Then Lorenzo spoke up and said he wanted to make the ONLY dunk, which was what Guy Lewis said would win the game. OK..that was the plan.
NOW, it was V’s turn. The running around like a crazy man with a look of disbelief was all STAGED. In reality, he had an alternate ending, Whitt would run, in slo mo, from one goal and he from the other and meet at half court and hug and that would be “The Shining Moment”. He has these sales guys believing this.
He then closed and said….win the game or contest and give credit to your team, but market yourself for the next conquest. I laughed and cried. Little did he realize that that footage would become the trademark of the NCAA Tournament and no one ever shows stodgy old Dean. AND, then it hit me…and I cried…he was able to do just that and the footage from 83 is the pinnacle or signature of the V Foundation…
I highly encourage you to reread the reviews and buy the book….and I will read it again…just like I listen every year to “Lifetime Contract”.