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John Feinstein (1956-) Biography - Personal, Addresses, Career, Member, Honors Awards, Writings, Adaptations, Work in Progress, Sidelights

review march basketball life

Surname pronounced "Fine-steen"; born 1956, in New York, NY; Education: Duke University, B.A., 1977 (one source says 1978). Politics: Democrat. Religion: Jewish.

Addresses

Agent—c/o Esther Newburg, ICM, 40 West 57th St., New York, NY 10019.

Career

Washington Post, Washington, DC, sportswriter, beginning 1977; special contributor to Sports Illustrated. Commentator for National Public Radio and ESPN.

Member

U.S. Basketball Writer's Association, U.S. Tennis Writer's Association (vice president), National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, Newspaper Guild.

Honors Awards

Awards from U.S. Basketball Writer's Association, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985; National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association, best sports stories awards, 1982, 1985, 1986, D.C. Writer of the Year award, 1985; best event coverage award, Associated Press Sports Editors, 1985.

Writings

A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1986.

A Season Inside: One Year in College Basketball, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1988.

Forever's Team, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1990.

Hard Courts: Real Life on the Professional Tennis Tours, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1991.

Running Mates (mystery novel), Villard Books (New York, NY), 1992.

Play Ball: The Life and Troubled Times of Major League Baseball, Villard Books (New York, NY), 1993.

A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.

Winter Games (mystery novel), Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1995.

A Civil War, Army vs. Navy: A Year inside College Football's Purest Rivalry, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1996.

(Editor) The Best American Sports Writing 1996, Houghton (Boston, MA), 1997.

A March to Madness: The View from the Floor in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1998, with new afterword, 1999.

The First Coming: Tiger Woods, Master or Martyr?, Ballantine (New York, NY), 1998.

The Majors: In Pursuit of Golf's Holy Grail, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 1999.

The Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory and Honor in Division 1 Basketball's Least-known League, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2000.

The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2002.

Open: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2003.

Caddy for Life: The Bruce Edwards Story, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Red Auerbach) Let Me Tell You a Story: A Lifetime in the Game, Little, Brown (New York, NY), 2004.

Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery (young-adult novel), Knopf (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor to periodicals, including Sporting News, Basketball Times, Outlook, and Eastern Basketball.

Adaptations

A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour was adapted as an audiobook, Time Warner AudioBooks, 1998. A Season on the Brink was filmed as a made-for-TV movie starring Brian Dennehy, ESPN, 2002. Last Shot was adapted as an audiobook, narrated by the author.

Work in Progress

A sequel to Last Shot.

Sidelights

John Feinstein is an award-winning sportswriter who gained national attention with his 1986 best seller, A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers. The book recounts Indiana University's 1985-1986 basketball season, from the first organizational meetings to the team's surprising loss to Cleveland State University in the first round of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (N.C.A.A.) basketball tournament. Feinstein wrote the book after enjoying unusually close access to coach Bobby Knight and his team's practices, meetings, and game-time huddles during an entire season. (Many reporters have tried unsuccessfully to get the kind of intimate coverage Feinstein was allowed.) When A Season on the Brink was published, it quickly sold out of its initial printing of seventeen thousand copies and appeared on the New York Times best-seller list, where it was number one for seventeen weeks. Impressive sales of A Season on the Brink reflect the widespread interest in Indiana's legendary basketball coach. Kim Gagne wrote in the Atlanta Journal and Constitution that "Feinstein offers an insider's perspective that brings the reader to an appreciation of both the genius and the madness of the coach."

Feinstein has written two other books on college basketball. A Season Inside: One Year in College Basketball details the 1987-1988 basketball season, during which Feinstein saw 104 games. He recounts the highs and lows of that season and provides an inside look at such prominent university coaches as Dean Smith of North Carolina, John Thompson of Georgetown, and Larry Brown of Kansas, the school that won the 1988 N.C.A.A. championship. According to Washington Post contributor Robert D. Novak, in the book "Feinstein has attempted a tour de force and pretty well pulled it off. He has managed to convey the excitement, intrigue, confrontation, hysteria and sheer intoxication of college basketball." Feinstein's other college basketball book, Forever's Team, is his most personal: it concerns the 1978-1979 basketball team from Duke University, his alma mater.

In Hard Courts: Real Life on the Professional Tennis Tours Feinstein demystifies the glamour surrounding the world of professional tennis. He spent a year on the pro tennis circuit, getting to know the famous and notso-famous players, their families, and their agents. More The moving story of the man who dedicated his career to caddying top golfer Tom Watson until he became stricken with Lou Gehrig's disease is the focus of this 2004 book. than one hundred interviews form the text, which presents professional tennis in a distinctly unflattering light. As Julie Cart wrote in the New York Times, Feinstein shows he has "rare insight into the professional tennis tour. Hard Courts peels back layer after layer of surface gloss and undeniable glamour to expose the machinations of players' agents, the power of television and the wheeling and dealing of unscrupulous promoters. The picture is not pretty." Feinstein takes a similar approach in A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour, spending a year on the PGA tour to learn what life is like for golf insiders. He found golf a stark contrast to many other professional sports; golfers generally really do play by the rules, live quiet lives, and go to bed early. Michael Bamberger state in the New York Times Book Review that Feinstein "has proved himself to be a dependable, thorough and honest reporter." The author revisited the golf world several years later with The Majors: In Pursuit of Golf's Holy Grail.

According to a Kirkus Reviews contributor, Feinstein "revisits an important National Basketball Association incident and ably dramatizes how it changed the participants and the league forever" in The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight that Changed Basketball Forever. Retelling the story of Los Angeles Lakers forward Kermit Washington, who punched and broke the jaw of Houston Rocket All-Star Rudy Tomjanovich during a fight on the basketball court, Feinstein explains how the incident, which left Washington suspended and struggling to regain his reputation and brought Tomjanovich close to death, played out in both players' careers. Neither was able to recapture the promising status of his pre-fight career.

In a completely different sports story, Feinstein retells the life of Bruce Edwards, professional caddy for legendary golfer Tom Watson, in Caddy for Life: The Bruce Edwards Story. Edwards served as a caddy for Watson for over forty years, and his life story reveals aspects of the golf industry known only to insiders. Edwards was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease in 2003, and Feinstein covers the caddy's struggle with the disease. "This book will thoroughly entertain golf fans," promised a critic for Publishers Weekly. Larry R. Little, writing in School Library Journal, commented that readers will appreciate the "unique insight into a caddy's dedicated life on the P. G. A. tour."

In addition to his nonfiction work, Feinstein has also penned two mysteries. Running Mates is a political thriller involving the assassination of Maryland's governor. An investigative reporter looking into the case discovers a surprising alliance between a rightwing extremist and a radical feminist who may have had the governor killed so that his female lieutenant-governor can rise to power. A Publishers Weekly reviewer voiced praise for Running Mates, stating: "A strong, surprising resolution caps this thriller that delivers on its promise despite its protagonist's occasionally larger-than-life heroism and incredible luck."

In Winter Games, Feinstein's second mystery, a burned-out reporter returns to his hometown seeking peace and quiet, but discovers that the place is in an uproar because of a superstar on the high-school basketball team. The recruiting frenzy surrounding the young sports figure leads to the death of an assistant coach. Winter Games is, in the opinion of a Publishers Weekly commentator, a "dark portrayal of murder and rampant corruption on the college courts."

Feinstein combines his love of mystery novels and his expertise in sportswriting in his first novel for teens, Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery. Teen writers Steven Thomas and Susan Carol Anderson, both aspiring journalists, have won an award in a sportswriting competition, and are being allowed to cover the NCAA Final Four game alongside professional journalists. The two begin as rivals, but when they uncover a blackmail plot against one of the players, the pair become a team, working to uncover the mystery and get the scoop, "ultimately weaseling themselves into the bad guys' lair in classic Hardy Boys' fashion," as Bill Ott pointed out in Booklist. "This story … breaks new ground for teens, focusing primarily on the influential role of media in promoting college basketball," noted Gerry Larson, reviewing the book for School Library Journal. According to a Kirkus Reviews critic, "Feinstein uses simple prose, lively dialogue, and authentic details" to bring the Final Four game to life for his readers. A Publishers Weekly critic praised the mystery aspect, noting that "the author's plotting entails some fancy footwork that will keep readers on their toes." With experience as a commentator for National Public Radio, Feinstein performed the audiobook version of Last Shot himself.

On the Random House Canada Web site, an interviewer asked Feinstein why he decided to write teen fiction. "Mostly I was inspired to write this by having a ten-year-old son who is a huge basketball fan," the sportswriter/novelist explained. "It is tough for him to read my 'grown-up' stuff on basketball—though he tried—so I wanted to write something he could read that would give him a sense of the sport and, I hoped, entertain him at the same time."

Biographical and Critical Sources

PERIODICALS

Booklist, March 15, 1992, Mary Carroll, review of Running Mates, p. 1340; April 1, 1993, Wes Lukowsky, review of Play Ball: The Life and Troubled Times of Major League Baseball, p. 1386; May 15, 1995, Bill Ott, review of A Good Walk Spoiled: Days and Nights on the PGA Tour, p. 1626; November 1, 1995, Wes Lukowsky, review of Winter Games, p. 457; October 1, 1996, Bill Ott, review of The Best American Sports Writing, 1996, p. 316; November 15, 1996, Wes Lukowsky, review of A Civil War, Army vs. Navy: A Year inside College Football's Purest Rivalry, p. 565; November 15, 1997, Wes Lukowsky, review of A March to Madness: The View from the Floor in the Atlantic Coast Conference, p. 522; September 1, 1998, Bill Ott, review of A March to Madness, p. 55; March 1, 1999, Bill Ott, review of The Majors: In Pursuit of Golf's Holy Grail, p. 1100; September 15, 2000, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Last Amateurs: Playing for Glory and Honor in Division I, Basketball's Least-known League, p. 186; July, 2002, Wes Lukowsky, review of The Punch: One Night, Two Lives, and the Fight That Changed Basketball Forever, p. 1794; May 1, 2003, Bill Ott, review of Open: Inside the Ropes at Bethpage Black, p. 1506; April 15, 2004, Gilbert Taylor, review of Caddy for Life: The Bruce Edwards Story, p. 1402; February 1, 2005, Bill Ott, review of Last Shot: A Final Four Mystery, p. 954.

Book Week, January 18, 1998, review of A March to Madness, p. 6.

Business Week, April 5, 1993, David Greising, review of Play Ball: The Life and Troubled Times of Major League Baseball, p. 8.

Chicago Tribune, November 16, 1986.

Christian Science Monitor, August 23, 1991, Gregory M. Lamb, review of Hard Courts: Real Life on the Professional Tennis Tours, p. 12; April 23, 1993, Charles Fountain, review of Play Ball, p. 11; October 4, 1995, Keith Henderson, review of A Good Walk Spoiled, p. 15; December 6, 1996, Ross Atkin, review of A Civil War, Army vs. Navy, p. 13.

Commentary, September, 1993, Jay P. Lefkowitz, review of Play Ball, p. 61.

Economist, February 15, 1997, review of The Best American Sports Writing 1996, p. 15.

Globe & Mail (Toronto, Ontario, Canada), April 10, 1999, review of The Majors, p. D11.

Horn Book,.

Journal and Constitution, (Atlanta, GA), March 1, 1987.

Kirkus Reviews, November 15, 1997, review of A March to Madness, p. 1683; March 15, 1999, review of The Majors, p. 426; September 15, 2002, review of The Punch, p. 1363; January 1, 2005, review of Last Shot, p. 51.

Kliatt, September, 1997, review of A Good Walk Spoiled, p. 7.

Knight-Ridder/Tribune News Service, August 2, 1999, Ed Sherman, review of The Majors, p. K6030; December 10, 2000, Ed Sherman, "Sports Books by Cramer, Feinstein Tell Intriguing Stories," p. K2566.

Library Journal, May 1, 1993, Albert Spencer, review of Play Ball, p. 92; May 15, 1995, Terry Madden, review of A Good Walk Spoiled, p. 76; November 1, 1995, Rex E. Klett, review of Winter Games, p. 109; October 1, 1996, review of A Civil War, Army vs. Navy, p. 87; January, 1998, William O. Scheeren, review of A March to Madness, p. 109; April 15, 1999, Peter Ward, review of The Majors, p. 105; June 15, 2000, Ray Vignovich, review of The Majors (audio version), p. 138; December 10, 2000, Ed Sherman, review of The Last Amateurs, p. K2566; November 1, 2002, Jim Burns, review of The Punch, p. 97; April 15, 2004, Larry R. Little, review of Caddy for Life, p. 93.

Library Media Connection, April-May, 2005, Ruth Cox Clark, review of Last Shot, p. 77.

New York Times, August 25, 1991, Julie Cart, review of Hard Courts; December 22, 1991, Michael Kornfeld, review of Hard Courts ; February 11, 1996, Charley Rosen, review of Winter Games ; December 24, 1997, Richard Bernstein, review of A March to Madness ; December 12, 2000, Michiko Kakutani, review of The Last Amateurs, p. B7.

New York Times Book Review, January 22, 1989; January 7, 1990; May 10, 1992, Marilyn Stasio, review of Running Mates, p. 23; April 4, 1993, Roger Noll, review of Play Ball, p. 24; June 11, 1995, Michael Bamberger, review of A Good Walk Spoiled; February 11, 1996, Charley Rosen, review of Winter Games, p. 22; November 3, 1996, Michael Lichtenstein, review of A Civil War, Army vs. Navy, p. 18; March 22, 1998, David Davis, review of A March to Madness, p. 16; February 28, 1999, review of A March to Madness, p. 24; May 2, 1999, Dave Anderson, review of The Majors, p. 16.

People, June 19, 1995, Tony Chiu, review of A Good Walk Spoiled, p. 36; March 16, 1998, Alex Tresniowski, review of A March to Madness, p. 34.

Publishers Weekly, March 2, 1992, review of Running Mates, p. 52; April 24, 1995, review of A Good Walk Spoiled, p. 52; September 25, 1995, review of Winter Games, p. 46; September 16, 1996, review of A Civil War, Army vs. Navy, p. 61; October 14, 1996, review of The Best American Sports Writing 1996, p. 78; December 1, 1997, review of A March to Madness, p. 38; March 22, 1998, David Davis, review of A March to Madness, p. 16; March 29, 1999, review of The Majors, p. 76; October 23, 2000, review of The Last Amateurs, p. 71; April 28, 2003, review of Open, p. 60; April 5, 2004, review of Caddy for Life, p. 58; April 19, 2004, Daisy Maryles, "Remembering the Caddy," p. 18; January 24, 2005, review of Last Shot, p. 244; March 14, 2005, review of Last Shot (audio book), p. 26.

School Library Journal, January, 1992, Dino Vretos, review of Hard Courts, p. 145; August, 1993, Judy Sokoll, review of Play Ball, p. 206; January, 2005, Gerry Larson, review of Last Shot, p. 128.

Sporting News, February 16, 1987; July 3, 1995, Steve Gietschier, review of A Good Walk Spoiled, p. 7; November 18, 1996, Steve Gietschier, review of A Civil War, Army vs. Navy, p. 8.

Sports Illustrated, November 19, 1986; October 14, 1991, Ron Fimrite, review of Hard Courts, p. 8; February 23, 1998, Charles Hirshberg, review of A March to Madness, p. 27A; March 22, 1999, Walter Bingham, review of The Majors, p. R26; November 13, 2000, Charles Hirshberg, review of The Last Amateur, p. R16..

Time, September 2, 1991, John Skow, Hard Courts, p. 69.

Voice of Youth Advocates, April, 1998, review of Winter Games, p. 41.

Wall Street Journal, April 23, 1993, Frederick C. Klein, review of Play Ball, p. A12; July 26, 1995, Frederick C. Klein, A Good Walk Spoiled, p. A10; April 9, 1999, review of The Majors, p. W10; November 10, 2000, Larry Platt, review of The Last Amateurs, p. W8.

Washington Monthly, December, 2000, David Plotz, review of The Last Amateurs, p. 52.

Washington Post, November 28, 1988; January 26, 1990.

Washington Post Book World, November 23, 1986.

ONLINE

Golf California Web site, http://www.golfcalifornia.com/(December 29, 2000), Mike Dalecki, review of The Majors.

Random House Canada Web site, http://www.randomhouse.ca/(July 29, 2005) interview with Feinstein.*

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over 2 years ago

Where did he go to high school?

-Mark

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almost 6 years ago

How can I send an email to Feinstein

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about 5 years ago

John, I listen to your CD on season on the brink. It's a good story obviously however a couple corrections after listening to CD #1. Steve Reid was at the Free Throw line when BK threw the chair not Steve Ross. It is pronounced Dan Dakich as in jock itch not jake itch.

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about 5 years ago

can i have your whole life story plz im doing a project on you and how awsome you are

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about 6 years ago

iuyhgihoiuhljkhkjhkj

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over 6 years ago

Call me re: R.I. Rental



910-949-6513 or email at aboove address



g.

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over 2 years ago

Dear John Feinstein,
I came across your articles about Navy's 2007 triple overtime win over Notre Dame in my computer and I was so moved re-reading them after all these years. I am so sorry it has taken so long, but I thought you might appreciate what I most remember of this game. I was watching it, riveted, and the phone rang while Navy was singing Blue and Gold. It was our son Thomas, USNA Class of ’06. Calling—for the first time since deploying—from Iraq! I was stunned, speechless, could hardly tell him how much it meant that he was calling. No matter, he only wanted to talk to his brother, Stephen, Notre Dame, Class of 2004—to taunt him about Navy’s great victory.
You captured so beautifully the special, sometimes fearful, pride of our service academies. And, of course, it extends to all who serve. Thomas did two infantry tours in Iraq. He is now a “former” Marine—we are told there are no ex-Marines. Stephen, inspired in part by his brother, is in the Army and is deploying to Afghanistan next month. Maybe the first call we’ll get will be confirming a Notre Dame win over Navy. I don’t think his brother will mind.
Thanks again for your writing.
God bless our troops.

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over 2 years ago

Dear John Feinstein,
I came across your articles about Navy's 2007 triple overtime win over Notre Dame in my computer and I was so moved re-reading them after all these years. I am so sorry it has taken so long, but I thought you might appreciate what I most remember of this game. I was watching it, riveted, and the phone rang while Navy was singing Blue and Gold. It was our son Thomas, USNA Class of ’06. Calling—for the first time since deploying—from Iraq! I was stunned, speechless, could hardly tell him how much it meant that he was calling. No matter, he only wanted to talk to his brother, Stephen, Notre Dame, Class of 2004—to taunt him about Navy’s great victory.
You captured so beautifully the special, sometimes fearful, pride of our service academies. And, of course, it extends to all who serve. Thomas did two infantry tours in Iraq. He is now a “former” Marine—we are told there are no ex-Marines. Stephen, inspired in part by his brother, is in the Army and is deploying to Afghanistan next month. Maybe the first call we’ll get will be confirming a Notre Dame win over Navy. I don’t think his brother will mind.
Thanks again for your writing.
God bless our troops.

Vote down Vote up

over 2 years ago

Dear John Feinstein,
I came across your articles about Navy's 2007 triple overtime win over Notre Dame in my computer and I was so moved re-reading them after all these years. I am so sorry it has taken so long, but I thought you might appreciate what I most remember of this game. I was watching it, riveted, and the phone rang while Navy was singing Blue and Gold. It was our son Thomas, USNA Class of ’06. Calling—for the first time since deploying—from Iraq! I was stunned, speechless, could hardly tell him how much it meant that he was calling. No matter, he only wanted to talk to his brother, Stephen, Notre Dame, Class of 2004—to taunt him about Navy’s great victory.
You captured so beautifully the special, sometimes fearful, pride of our service academies. And, of course, it extends to all who serve. Thomas did two infantry tours in Iraq. He is now a “former” Marine—we are told there are no ex-Marines. Stephen, inspired in part by his brother, is in the Army and is deploying to Afghanistan next month. Maybe the first call we’ll get will be confirming a Notre Dame win over Navy. I don’t think his brother will mind.
Thanks again for your writing.
God bless our troops.

Vote down Vote up

over 2 years ago

Dear John Feinstein,
I came across your articles about Navy's 2007 triple overtime win over Notre Dame in my computer and I was so moved re-reading them after all these years. I am so sorry it has taken so long, but I thought you might appreciate what I most remember of this game. I was watching it, riveted, and the phone rang while Navy was singing Blue and Gold. It was our son Thomas, USNA Class of ’06. Calling—for the first time since deploying—from Iraq! I was stunned, speechless, could hardly tell him how much it meant that he was calling. No matter, he only wanted to talk to his brother, Stephen, Notre Dame, Class of 2004—to taunt him about Navy’s great victory.
You captured so beautifully the special, sometimes fearful, pride of our service academies. And, of course, it extends to all who serve. Thomas did two infantry tours in Iraq. He is now a “former” Marine—we are told there are no ex-Marines. Stephen, inspired in part by his brother, is in the Army and is deploying to Afghanistan next month. Maybe the first call we’ll get will be confirming a Notre Dame win over Navy. I don’t think his brother will mind.
Thanks again for your writing.
God bless our troops.

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over 4 years ago

I miss listening to you talking with Mr. Tony. What radio station can I listen to you? Best of the best to you,Steve.

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over 1 year ago

hihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihihiihihihihihihihi vtr

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over 1 year ago

I have a very interesting family golf event that is going into their 30th year of play. I think the family/friends invitational is a must read for any golf enthusiast. It combines individual and team play in a 5 round 18 hole event with sliding handicap changes during the event. The 6th round is a very competitive 4 man scramble. This is the most
competitive,grueling and longest running family amateur golf tournament I believe in the country. Please get back to me to discuss this event as an article in one of your golf syndicated publications. A great feel good story. JR redoct49@yahoo.com

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over 1 year ago

hey babes

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almost 2 years ago

John,
Just reading your beautiful, moving story about Bruce Edwards, A Caddy for Life,this book should come with a health warning MTR (Many Tissues Required), and I have still got a third of the book to go. As a life long fan of Tom Watson having seen him playing at close quarters in Scotland in the early 1980s have always held him in high regard, you have clearly captured his relationship with Bruce totally, Bruce was obviously totally committed to Tom on the course and as Tom proved when Bruce took ill Tom was equally committed to Bruce. Thank you for writing and sharing their story with us.