To find the inspirations for his first novel, Knox athletic director Walter Townes went back to what he knew. He came home, if you will.
"It's semi-autobiographical," Townes said of his book, "Comin' Home," which was released in January and is now being offered on Amazon and the Barnes & Noble online site. "It has different pieces about me and some things that I've seen with my eyes, put into words."
The novel, co-written by author Barry Cohen, follows Willie Joe Cunningham, a stalled professional basketball player who makes it as a college coach to essentially leave his rough Newark upbringing behind. Eventually, the past comes knocking, "and he's asked to come back and save the boys club that saved him," Townes said.
Townes, a former assistant coach at St. John's and head basketball coach at Drew and Clarkson University, left a promising college coaching career in August 2009 to take the job at the Knox School in January 2010. Knox, a private school in St. James, offers scholarships and financial assistance for eligible candidates who can't pay tuition.
"I'm looking to help kids make their situation the best situation possible," he said. "We have inner-city kids who come here to develop themselves and it opens the doors for other kids."
Two dollars of every sale goes to the Boys and Girls Club and the Boys Club of New York, he said.
"I came back to my roots," he said. "And I'm hoping when people read this, players, kids who come from poor backgrounds, can of coming back to help others."