DON’T CALL ME COACH -- A Lesson Plan for Life

BY PHIL MARTELLI
with Harold Gullan, Ph.D.


At last, those of us not lucky enough to hear Phil Martelli in person can now draw inspiration from his book. Don’t Call Me Coach presents him at his compelling and captivating best, as he finally puts into print the mantra of his memorable speeches. In fact one of America’s most colorful, outspoken, and successful coaches, Martelli compresses his three decades of experience into a ten-point “lesson plan for life” that will benefit anyone, no matter what the challenges may be.

“We are all coaches,” he insists, and each of us represents a book of unique experiences others can learn from. We are defined not by what we do, but by who we are. Yet we should not take ourselves seriously, but, rather, what we do. And so, even though he was named college basketball’s Coach of the Year in 2004, this quintessentially regular Philly guy prefers not to be addressed as Coach Martelli. “If you will, just call me Phil. . . . This book is my conversation with you.”

This unpretentious tone pervades Don’t Call Me Coach––as distinctively different from most life-lessons books as Phil Martelli’s spontaneous HawkTalk is from other coaches’ tightly scripted TV shows. Martelli’s experiences within his own extended family—often funny, sometimes poignant, and always instructive—form a warmly personal background to everything he spells out in his book. Having turned down far more lucrative offers to coach at mega-universities, Martelli enters another new season at the helm of the storied men’s basketball program at Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s University. As he puts it, “You have to know where your heart is.”

These expressions of his heart and mind will resonate in yours, no matter where you went to school, and whether you’re an avid sports fan or not. As Phil concludes, “The Hawk will never die!” is more than the slogan of one specific university. It represents the will to excel, to never give in—an approach to life we can all share.

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Phil Martelli, a graduate of St. Joseph’s Prep and Widener University, has been head men’s basketball coach at Philadelphia’s Saint Joseph’s University since 1995. Acclaimed as Division I consensus coach of the year after his team’s 2003-04 season, Martelli is one of the nation’s most visible, colorful, and outspoken sports figures and is the recipient of two honorary doctorates. He lives with his wife, Judy, in Media, Pennsylvania. They have three children: Phil Jr. and Jimmy, both of whom are college basketball coaches, and Elizabeth, now in her junior year at Saint Joseph’s.

Harold Gullan, Ph.D., a noted historian and sports fan, is also the author of The Upset That Wasn’t, Faith of Our Mothers, First Fathers, and Jumping Through Hoops. Gullan lives with his wife, Elizabeth, in Philadelphia.
 

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