Jack Danilewicz’s byline is likely familiar to you if you read the sports pages of the Honolulu Star-Bulletin in the 1990s and early 2000s. In recent years, his stories about high school sports have also appeared on Midweek’s web site.
I was spurred to give him a call by his mother and stepfather, Lynn and Len Scaduto. They approached me with great news after a recent University of Hawaii basketball game: Danilewicz had finally found a publisher for a book he’s been working on for decades.
The subject is a very worthy one and sure to sell quite a few copies here in Hawaii; it’s Chaminade’s monumental victory over Virginia in 1982, still considered by many the greatest upset in the history of college basketball … some even say in all of sports.
You can’t blame Danilewicz if he thought “The Greatest Upset Never Seen” might have been the book never seen. He estimates that the University of Nebraska Press which signed him to write the 308-page hardcover was his 15th pitch since he started researching the topic nearly 25 years ago.
“I had floated the proposal out there off-and-on for quite a few years,” said Danilewicz, 50, who is now a part-time Hawaii resident and in addition to writing, worked with special needs children in Aiea.
“I did a lot of the research between 1995 and 2001,” the first-time book author said. “The book was written over a seven-month period. I finished last May.”
Ralph Sampson and Virginia’s coach at the time, Terry Holland, are among the 35 people Danilewicz interviewed. But the book is also about more than just the Chaminade-Virginia game; it covers the entire 1982-83 Chaminade season, and its legacy.
Chaminade’s then-athletic director Mike Vasconcellos and assistant coaches Pete Smith and Will Pounds have since died. But the book includes their perspectives, since Danilewicz interviewed them in the 1990s. The same is true for Star-Bulletin sportswriter Jim Easterwood, who was one of the few reporters to cover the upset, and ESPN’s Tom Mees, who was first to report the outcome of the game nationally.
“The Greatest Upset Never Seen” is in final editing phases and will be published this fall, Danilewicz said.