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The Coach Gaither Story: Strong Faith and Tough Love in the Star City

The Coach Gaither Story: Strong Faith and Tough Love in the Star City

By Ted Edlich and Barry Brown, authors. Dave Russo, consulting editor and publisherPublisher: Young Hawks PressISBN: 979-8986584201Genre: Biography Price: $11.99
Available from: Amazon

Coach Joe Gaither is a youth basketball coach who led his teams to regional and national championships for over forty years—but this story is about so much more than basketball.

Joe’s story grew from his African roots, his mother’s struggles in the Jim Crow South, his start as a Black boy abandoned by his father, and his journey from player to coach, from young man to husband and father. Along the way, Coach Gaither became an inspiring mentor to hundreds of inner-city kids, enabling them to travel to distant cities for the first time in their lives, compete and win on the national level, and find a way to a college education that would otherwise be out of reach. Coach Joe built a network of coaches, volunteers, donors, and non-profit organizations to improve the lives of his players long after their days on the court.

You’ll be inspired by this story about reaching across racial and economic divides for the good of a community. In The Coach Gaither Story, youth basketball was simply the foundation for his ministry, a way of living out his faith in the service of a much larger and powerful story.

Ted Edlich is the lead author of The Coach Gaither Story. He has been Joe Gaither’s friend and collaborator in Roanoke youth sports for over forty years. He took inspiration from Barry Brown’s ideas and drafts and developed the story into what it is today. 

Barry Brown is a first-time contributing author of The Coach Gaither Story. A sports nut by nature, Barry presented the idea of a book to Joe after hearing so many wonderful tales about Joe’s years of coaching youth basketball and the young men he mentored along the way.

Dave Russo is the consulting editor and publisher of The Coach Gaither Story.


Joe Gaither could make you believe that outstanding achievement, that being the best, is as likely as taking your next breath.

Russell Turner, head men’s basketball coach, University of California, Irvine

Coach Gaither had a tough-love approach that was stern but compassionate. I always knew he wanted the best for me and my family. He was the kind of coach you just didn’t want to let down because you knew he cared about you and genuinely wanted what was best for you in life. He called his players “son” because he treated them as such.

Tarik Turner, college basketball studio and game analyst for FOX Sports

This book is absolutely stunning—way beyond an excellent biography. It captures the strength and passion of Coach Gaither, brings to life on every page his intelligence, talent, vision, leadership, and faith, and most of all, his deep, caring soul.

Anna Lawson, Ph.D., former Chair of Board of Trustees, Hollins University