Commentary

McCallie reveals life lessons in book

Updated: April 17, 2012, 10:35 AM ET
By Joanne C. Gerstner

Joanne P. McCallie has worn many hats in her life: former college basketball player, wife, mother to Maddie and Jack and now women's basketball coach at Duke. She has more than 450 career wins.

She recently wrote her first book, "Choice Not Chance", as a way of shedding light on her personal and professional life. She chronicles her coaching journey from her time as an assistant at Auburn to her head coaching jobs at Maine, Michigan State and Duke, describing the choices she made to further her career. She also discusses the pain of miscarriage, her joys in her marriage and her struggle to balance being a hands-on mom with a stressful, consuming job.

[+] EnlargeJoanne P. McCallie
AP Photo/Chuck BurtonJoanne P. McCallie has more than 450 career coaching wins at Maine, Michigan State and Duke.

McCallie writes a letter to her 17-year-old daughter Maddie, who will be heading to Miami University next fall to play basketball, in the book's introduction. She hopes her daughter will pursue happiness, with integrity, and wants the book to serve as a class on life lessons learned through McCallie's eyes.

Here is an excerpt from the Chapter 14, section entitled, "Coach K Gives Me the Message I Need When I Need It"

    "...I was questioning my decision to come to Duke, and I was a physical and emotional wreck. I couldn't even do what came the most naturally to me: prepare for the next game. I was at my lowest point and completely isolated.

    Suddenly, there was a loud knock on my door. I didn't want to see anyone and didn't know who could be knocking like that; usually, one of my assistants let me know if somebody wanted to see me. I didn't even look up. I kept staring at my desk and said under my breath, "Come in."

    Coach K walked in and shut the door. I looked at him and our eyes clinched. No words were spoken -- but everything was said. He knew everything that was troubling me, and I knew he knew it."

Joanne C. Gerstner

Contributor, espnW.com
Joanne C. Gerstner is a staff writer with espnW. She is an award-winning sports writer, having covered the Olympics, NBA and college sports. Her work has regularly appeared in the New York Times, USA Today and Detroit News. You can follow her on Twitter @joannecgerstner.