May 17, 2013
Adam Hiatt credits Westminster's culture for his ability to excel at writing and coaching
SALT LAKE CITY - Westminster College's head basketball coach Adam Hiatt wrote his first novel, Stone of Truth
, while juggling a hectic basketball season.
It was the middle of February and the Westminster men's basketball team found themselves in the midst of yet another great season. They were embarking on the first of four consecutive road games when head coach Adam Hiatt's life became much more exciting. The coach was on the verge of achieving a very prominent goal. His first book was being published.
"My editor sent me my manuscript with revisions for me to review," Hiatt explained. "We were on the road a lot during February in the middle of a conference championship race. It was an exciting time."
In Stone of Truth
, Reddic Smith lives a double life. Most know him as an accomplished athlete, but he's much more. He is employed by the government's most covert agency. An urgent assignment sends him to Cornell
University, where his brother, Jaxon, is finishing his PhD in history. But when they find Jaxon's mentoring professor shot and left for dead in his office they suddenly find themselves thrust into a perilous hunt for the most priceless object ever chronicled, known simply as the Stone of Truth.
Excelling as both a coach and a writer is not difficult to explain. Hiatt attributes it to the culture of Westminster. His teams maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.7 while being one of the top small college basketball programs in the country. They regularly lead the country with the number of scholar athletes just as they do with offensive and defensive efficiency numbers. In short, the coach writing a novel is simply leading by example.
Few coaches embark on writing a book to begin with, let alone a suspense-thriller novel, as Hiatt did. His passion for writing began years ago in a creative writing class he took at Bonners Ferry High School. "That may have been the only class I enjoyed in high school," Hiatt quipped. He went on to play basketball collegiately, but never lost that desire to write.
He earned a history degree from Westminster College and a Master's degree from Brigham Young University. Upon graduating from BYU he got his first coaching job at the University of Idaho in 2006. It wasn't long before Hiatt realized that something was missing in his life.
"I had become accustomed to researching and writing," Hiatt said. "My whole history program at Westminster was writing essays and research papers. The same thing in my Master's program. Add to that my hundred and fifty page thesis. I didn't think writing a novel would be that far of a stretch."
The first road trip of the 2006-07 season was both an introspective and significant moment for Hiatt. It was their only game of the week as the team traveled to South Dakota. "It was my scout that week," Hiatt recalls. "I thought we were very prepared. I remember sitting in the hotel the day of the game thinking there was nothing else I could do. We had some time before we were to leave for the arena. It was then that I pulled out my laptop and started writing."
At the time writing a novel was not the plan. Hiatt simply wanted to write short chapters to stimulate his mind and stay productive during the rare down time on road trips. Soon, writing on buses, in airports, on airplanes, and in hotels became a habit. Those short chapters became key elements to a plot that evolved into an entertaining and thrilling novel called Stone of Truth.
As the head basketball coach at Westminster College, Hiatt continues his writing in the same manner. "Our travel schedule is difficult," he said. "We spend a lot of time in airports and on buses. These are precious moments for me. Once I feel our team is prepared I pull out my yellow pad or laptop and start drafting chapters for another book. More than anything, it's a way for me to achieve some balance in my life. I'm about halfway through my second book."
Westminster is coming off a 22-8 season, including seven wins over ranked teams. For more information on Coach Hiatt's novel, Stone of Truth
, visit the publisher's website
. The book is available on Kindle, Nook, and ebook formats, as well as in print version.