Thursday, May 2, 2019

Review of "Pro Coach," by Joe Archibald

Review of

Pro Coach, by Joe Archibald

Four out of five stars

 The opening premise of this book shows that some aspects of sports have stayed constant for many decades. Walt Harper is a football coach and when the story opens, he is coaching college football powerhouse Southern Tech. His teams have been very successful over the years and Harper is often criticized that his success causes the best players to come to Southern Tech, the standard argument of success breeding success. Furthermore, some of his players openly admit that they are at Southern Tech to play football, classwork is generally secondary. Finally, there is a scandal where it is revealed that some of the players were given illegal assistance by wealthy alumni. All of this is familiar to modern followers of college football.

 Even though Harper is absolved of any blame in the scandal, he leaves his position as coach of Southern Tech. He then accepts the head coach position of the Boston Pilgrims professional football team in the AFL. The performance of the team has been dismal of late, so it is Harper’s chance to prove that he can mold a team from players not of the highest caliber.

 The story progresses in a predictable manner, after several initial problems, the team starts to solidify, and the Pilgrims begin winning. Their season ends when the book does, but there is genuine confidence when the members of the Pilgrim organization state the old sports refrain, “What till next year!”

 In typical Archibald style, the story is a solid one. However, there is no scene that one would be tempted to read several times in order to re-experience the tenseness and excitement of the moment. There is also no underlying theme of a deep moral to the story.

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