Photos © Mike James.
Paddy on the Hardwood
Why would a successful college basketball coach walk away from a lucrative job in America’s most glamorous sport? The burned-out Rus Bradburd, enamored of Ireland and its music, took a job coaching in the lowly Irish Super League, but was unprepared for what he found.
Perplexed by the small town Tralee’s Frosties Tigers—a cast of misfits and underachievers more concerned with their day jobs, Gaelic Football, and Guinness—he turned to traditional Irish music for wisdom and solace. Paddy on the Hardwood is partly Rus Bradburd’s story of his struggle to transform Tralee’s Tigers. But it is also the tale of a man making peace with his own life and career.
"Paddy on the Hardwood is a refreshing and disarming memoir that, like its narrator, defies easy classification. By turns exotic, suspenseful, heartwrenching, and surprising, this journey features a hero who is both leader and initiate, coaching a distinctly likable underdog team, meanwhile humbly apprenticing himself to an Irish fiddle master. A hugely appealing adventure is told in these pages, and there's nobody this book isn't meant for."
- Antonya Nelson, author of Some Fun
“A gem of a book. I defy anyone to read this book and not get caught up in the rhythms of the games and the personalities of his players. This is the book I’ve been waiting for, the book that’s arrived to remind us, even for a moment, that it is still just a game. And a beautiful blarney one, at that.”
- David Zirin, The Nation columnist, writing for SLAM magazine
“Absolutely fantastic – colorful characters, warm humor, great scenes, real drama, and a rich personal touch. This book is a treat.”
- Dan Wetzel, author of Glory Road
"Paddy on the Hardwood was the best book I read in 2006."
- Dan McGrath, Chicago Tribune
"Paddy on the Hardwood is hilarious, heartbreaking, and touching. I'm an avid reader and this is the best sports book I've read in a good long while."
- Jerry West, NBA Legend
"No reader will come away from this irresistible, honest and deeply human account without a profound appreciation for Ireland and the beguiling power of its people and culture. Paddy on the Hardwood is a basketball book, to be sure--but also one about questing and, ultimately, finding. And it's all the richer for how it engages things that seem distant from sports, but in the end aren't so unrelated at all."
- Alexander Wolff, Sports Illustrated, senior writer and author of Big Game, Small World