It's more than just a book - it's a testimonal of life. It's a chance for you to look into the life of a someone who invested a great portion of their life to helping others. Webster defines coach as a person who teaches and trains the members of a sports team and makes decisions about how the team plays during games. 

After reading Art of the Upset you will reconsider that definition and appreciate author Bruce Reynolds' trials and tribulations that he shares. Beliefnet sat down with the inspirational coach.

What inspired me to write the book?

I wanted to stay involved in some form when I retired from active coaching. I contacted Nike "Coach Of The Year Clinics" and asked how I could become involved in their program as a clinician. They suggested that I write articles and possibly a book that would bring some exposure to my experiences as a long time coach. I decided that a book followed up by technical and motivational magazine articles would be the best way to pursue my goal. I also wanted to share my experiences and knowledge with young coaches who could benefit from a life-time of "on-the-job" learned lessons.

Was there a time that clarified your retirement ? A time when you knew that it was time to retire?

I don't think that there was any one thing that told me that it was time to retire. But, in anyones life there comes a time when circumstance and a multitude of factors add up to a decision to step down. For me some of the most significant factors were my work as a State Representative and Chairman of the House Education Committee in Delaware, and the opportunity to work in an Administrative position with my school district. I also wanted to leave when our program was strong. I never thought it was right to leave when things looked bleak for the next season. I wanted to leave the program in good shape and ready for the next coach to step in and continue our great tradition.

Any advice for coaches that read this book and what do you want for those who read the book to get out of it?

I would like coaches and anyone reading this book to understand and do the following:

1. Don't measure winning by number of games won. Measure winning by "Effort." When you give your all you are a winner regardless of final score.

2. Know that developing a winning program is a process with no short-cuts.

3. Establish a program based on loyalty, hard work, a never quit mind-set, great sportsmanship, and a passion for what you do.

4. Create your own internal reality. External reality ( they're too big, too strong, too quick, undefeated etc.) will only affirm in your team's mind that they should lose the game. But when you develop your own vision of what can be if you give your all, never quit, play as a team and do it with great passion, you can create a climate of success that will enable you to pull off the upset.

5. This book is not just for coaches. The principles espoused in the book can be applied to any walk of life.

Here's a preview of Art of the Upset:

I would like to state clearly from the start that this book is a result of a lifetime of interaction with thousands of people. I have benefited from books, lectures, conferences, sermons, and a host of personal experiences and observations. When I speak of success, I have tried to be careful; it is all too easy to fall into the “I” syndrome, but it is clear to me that any success that I have ever had has not been done alone. I have benefited from nurturing and supportive parents, family, friends, teachers, colleagues, coaches, and players. Art of the Upset is a compilation of these influences. Where I have written a reference to myself and used the “I” word, please mentally substitute the word “we.”

I also want to make clear for the record that I have had the good fortune to lose big games as well as win them. I say “good fortune” because it was in the losses that I gained the most knowledge on how to win. This book, however, is not just about how to win the big games. It is more about how to develop a program and a philosophy that make the upsets possible. The mark of a successful program is consistency, but consistency cannot be maintained if you can’t win the games you’re supposed to win, and win some of those program-defining games that all coaches dream of pulling off – the upset.

I was a head football coach for 27 years; therefore, I have derived most of my illustrations from my chosen sport. However, the philosophy of the book applies to all sports and, I believe, to any chosen profession. I have also applied the methods and philosophy described in this book to my 31-year career as a social studies teacher; my 4-year career as the Coordinator of Community Relations for the Colonial School District; my 17 years as an Assistant Athletic Director; my 18-year career as a State of Delaware Representative and chairman of the House Education Committee, and my 35-plus-year career as a banquet emcee and motivational speaker. The lessons learned in all of these endeavors are reflected in this book. My goal is to share with you the core philosophy that will enable you to pull off the big upset and to offer something in this book that will be of help to you and your career. If you are a coach, try some of the things that my staff and I have learned through trial and error. Who knows? One idea learned here just might be the catalyst for that long-desired and dreamed-of upset of your archrival.


The quarterback scrambles from the fierce rush, time running out. He gathers himself and heaves a desperation pass toward the streaking end. The defenders close in and simultaneously leap high in the air with the receiver. Hands stretch out and grab for the ball. The gun sounds to end the game as the players fall to the ground. Who caught the ball? Did we win…?

As painful as it is sometimes, nothing compares to the emotional highs and lows of sports. Life at times meanders along with very little that truly excites us, but there are those times in sports when our emotions are jolted into high gear. Nothing moves the player, coach or fan more than the upset. It is that indescribable thrill that engulfs you when no one thinks you can do something and you do it. It becomes that one time when sacrifice, hard work, and belief in self and team collide into an explosion of high emotion. It is a phenomenon when time itself seems to momentarily stand still and one feels most alive. For the coach, player, or die-hard fan, it is a time when you put your passion, your talent, your whole being on the line for all to witness. When that long pass with seconds to go is sailing through the air and your heart is in your throat, nothing else exists. It’s a moment of truth that will end in great exultation or bitter disappointment. Some can’t stand living on the edge like that. But there is something in all of us that lives for that one-in-a-million time when the ball is caught with no time on the clock and your team wins! How I loved and lived for those moments! But what I enjoyed even more was the process that made that upset possible.

How does a coach instill in his players that “come from behind” approach to competition? You might think that calling that last-minute play was a stroke of genius on the part of the coach. Maybe it was! But really, the process of winning that game had begun months before, even seasons before the game was played. The victory was the result of a coaching mind-set I like to call the “art of the upset.”

For more information on Bruce Reynolds and his book The Art of the Upset click here.

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