The Book: ‘Playing Up’: One Man’s Rise From Public Housing to Public Service Through Mentorship
The Website: http://www.vaughnmckoy.com
I had the pleasure of meeting Vaughn L. McKoy while researching a feature I was writing about Mr. McKoy’s high school football coach, Chris Olsen.
McKoy had played for Olsen while a student at Paterson Eastside High in 1984 and 1985 and credits the eventual legendary Wayne Hills coach for ‘saving his life’ by providing a level of discipline and accountability with the football program.
Vaughn and I spoke a lot about Olsen, who would coach at Eastside for just a few years before finding incredible success for 26 seasons at Wayne Hills. It was during our initial conversation that he mentioned the advent of his book and how Olsen not only helped him, but assisted other Paterson football players, some of whom Olsen never coached, to attend college.
McKoy took advantage of his opportunities at Eastside, where he was graduated in 1986, to become not only a good athlete, but a standout student who earned a scholarship to Rutgers. There, he excelled on the gridiron and earned an undergraduate degree. When he wanted to attend law school, he received guidance from Rutgers graduate and business mogul Arthur Goldberg.
It was through Mr. Goldberg’s mentorship and guidance that McKoy’s adult life would take shape.
He is today a successful executive with PSE&G as one of its senior counsels. Previously he was an Assistant United States Attorney for the District of New Jersey.
When Mr. McKoy opted to write this book, he wanted the chance to reach youngsters who grew up with the same challenges he faced a generation earlier.
“It’s about having kids realize the opportunities that are available to them, but also understanding the work needed to reach those goals,” McKoy told me during a recent interview. “Mentorship provides an adult the chance to work with a youngster and provide the tools for that child to eventually attain success. There were many who helped me. I just want to give back.”
McKoy had his first book signing on June 8 at Eastside High, a well-planned event which drew a large and enthusiastic audience. (You can read my review of the event here: http://www.northjersey.com/sports/211413201_Football__Former_Eastside_standout_credits_former_Wayne_coach_for_his_success_in_new_book.html
“Eastside is where it all started for me,” McKoy said at the time. “It was the right place to launch the book.”
McKoy’s book is not only entertaining, but down right direct. He speaks of the relationship with his mother, Nettie, the special bond he shares with his eldest daughter, Sabrina, as well as daughters Jordan and Aubri, and his wonderful wife and soul mate, Marnie.
In ‘Playing Up”, you will learn about growing up in ‘P-Town’ and the rigors of inner city life, the influence provided by former Eastside principal Joseph Clark, at a time when McKoy needed that guidance, as well as Olsen’s tutelage and Goldberg’s eventual direction to McKoy’s success today.
It is a book which will keep you riveted and wanting to learn more.
And if McKoy’s vision of the book providing a link to mentorship for youngsters is as clear as the message, there’s no doubt ‘Playing Up’ will be a huge success.
(Check out Mr. McKoy’s website, http://www.vaughnmckoy.com for more information on this man’s accomplishments and hope for the future).