Dick Williams: Crafting World Series Champions

Only a few Major League baseball managers get their teams to the World Series. Even fewer get their teams to more than one World Series. And only a handful have gotten three teams to the Series.

Meet Dick Williams, who guided the Boston Red Sox to the pennant in 1967, the Oakland A’s to three championships in the ’70s and the San Diego Padres to the National League title in 1984.

Along the way, Williams earned a reputation as a hard driving manager who expected nothing but the highest performances from his teams.

Get your copy of Dick Williams’s book

It was perhaps natural then that his 1990 memoir would be called No More Mr. Nice Guy. That’s when I had the chance to meet him. So here now from 1990. Dick Williams

Dick Williams was inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2008. He died in 2011, at the age of 82.

Behind the Scenes with Teresa Godwin Phelps: The Coach’s Wife

Teresa Godwin Phelps was a noted and respected law professor for several decades, at Notre Dame and American University

But to the public at large, she was better known as the wife of legendary Notre Dame basketball coach Digger Phelps.

She called her 1994 memoir The Coach’s Wife, a rumination on the joys and the frustrations of being in the shadow of such a public figure. And trying to navigate the sometimes-murky waters of college athletics.

Photo by J Rosenfeld

Ironically, it was 50 years ago today, January 19, 1974 that Digger Phelps’s Notre Dame team recorded perhaps its greatest victory. That was the day that the Fighting Irish upset John Wooden’s UCLA, ending the Bruins’ 88-game winning streak.

So here now, from 1994 Teresa Godwin Phelps.

In 2019 Professor Phelps retired from Washington College of Law and is currently Professor Emerita.

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Bobby Knight.

Mike Krzyzewski

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Bobby Knight’s Story of Success and Controversy

The march toward March Madness begins today. The NCAA men’s basketball season is getting underway.

For many seasons, one of the nations most dominant basketball programs could be found at Indiana University, the team coached by the legendary Bobby knight.

Eleven times his teams won the big 10 championship. Three of his teams won the national championship, and one captured the NIT.

After he was fired by Indiana in 2000, Knight took over as head coach at Texas Tech in 2001, taking his team to the postseason in each of his first Four years there.

But night was also a volatile personality. And a 1986 bestselling book by writer John Feinstein helped cement Knight’s reputation as something of a hot head.

I met Bobby Knight in the spring of 2002, as his first year at Texas Tech was drawing to a close. We talked about his autobiography, a book called Knight: My Story.

So here now from 2002, Bobby Knight.

Bobby Knight died last week. He was 83.

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Red Auerbach Reveals Secrets of Building a Celtics Dynasty

Photo by Steve Lipofsky Basketballphoto.com}

Perhaps no one in modern North American sports history was as successful at building a dynasty as the legendary Red Auerbach.

First as head coach, then as president and general manager of the Boston Celtics, Auerbach racked up16 championships over a 29-year span.

A brilliant strategist on the court, Auerbach was just as brilliant in the front office as he built a franchise that not only attracted and kept the top talent in the league, but also attracted and kept millions of fans all over the world.

In 1991 Auerbach wrote a book called MBA: Management by Auerbach. And that’s when I had a few minutes with the man. So here now from 1991 Red Auerbach.

Red Auerbach died in 2006, at age 89.

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Wilt Chamberlain

Walt Frazier

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Jim Valvano

Photo by The Chronicle

As UConn and San Diego State battle it out tonight for the NCAA men’s basketball title, today we are revisiting an interview I did a few years ago with the coach of a team that won one of the most thrilling NCAA victories ever.

Jim valvano was coach at North Carolina State when the team won the 1983 title in a thrilling game.

But by the end of the 1980s, valvano was out as NC State coach.

I met him in early 1991, when he wrote a book about his coaching experience.

So here now, from 1991, Jim valvano.

Jim valvano was diagnosed with cancer a little over a year after our interview, and he died in April of 1993, at the age of 47.

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Don Shula

Last week the National Football League and its fans lost a truly iconic figure, Don Shula, the all-time winningest NFL coach, died at the age of 90.

I met Don Shula in 1995, just a few months before the start of what would be his final season coaching in the NFL. He had written a book on coaching and leadership, along with Ken Blanchard, the prolific author who [s best known for his book “The One Minute Manager.”

Here now, from 1995, Don Shula and Ken Blanchard:

To this day, the 1972 Miami Dolphins team that Don Shula coached is still the only team that’s ever put together a perfect, undefeated season.

Mike Krzyzewski

The men’s NCAA college basketball season opens tomorrow. And it will be the final season for one of the game’s winningest and most successful coaches ever.

Mike Krzyzewski, also known as Coach K, has been head coach at Duke University since 1980. He announced last June that he would be retiring after this season.

Under his leadership, the Blue Devils have made it to the Final Four 12 times, and have won five national championships, second only to John Wooden’s ten.

I met Coach K 21 years ago, when he wrote a book on leadership called Leading with the Heart.

So here now, from 2000, Mike Krzyzewski

Mike Krzyzewski is 74 now, and we’ll leave the game as one of its all-time greatest

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Tom Landry

Photo: Jim Bowen

The NFL regular season kicks off tomorrow night, September 9th, at the Dallas Cowboys take on the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Now, for 29 Seasons, those cowboys were coached by one of the most successful coaches in NFL history: Tom Landry. He was, in fact, the first head coach of the expansion Dallas franchise, in 1960.

He racked up 20 consecutive winning seasons with the Cowboys. Under whose leadership the Cowboys won two Super Bowls, five NFC championships, and 13 divisional titles.

But a string of losing seasons in the late 1980s made of done him in. One day after the new team owner, Jerry Jones, took over, Landry was unceremoniously fired.

The following year, he wrote his autobiography. And that’s when I met him.

So here now, from 1990, Tom Landry.

Tom Landry died in 2000. He was 75.

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Dick Vitale

Photo: Dave Hogg

You would probably be hard-pressed to find a person with more natural energy and enthusiasm than Dick Vitale — former high school, college, and NBA basketball coach turn sports broadcaster.

Indeed, it’s kind of hard to think of college basketball these days without Dick Vitale coming to mind.

And when I met him, more than 32 years ago now, he seemed as perplexed as anyone by how successful he had actually become.

So here now, from 1988, Dick Vitale:

Dick Vitale wil be 82 in June. And still going strong.

Dean Smith

If not for the coronavirus, this would have been Final Four weekend.

So, for you basketball-starved fans, let me share with you an intrerview I did some 20 years ago with the coach who took his team to the Final Four eleven times during his 36 seasons with the University of North Carolina.

Dean Smith was one of the winningest coaches in college basketball history, including:
.. 22 seasons with at least 25 wins
.. 35 consecutive seasons with a 50% or better record.[3]
.. and two national championships.

Smith was also Michael Jordan’s college coach.

Here now, from 1999, my interview with Dean Smith:

Dean Smith died in 2015, just days before his 84th birthday.