Before the Linsanity, Peter Diepenbrock was leading a rather tranquil and domestic life, teaching four P.E. classes at
Palo Alto (Calif.)
High School and devoting the rest of his days to wife Janet and 6-year-old son John.
"Peaceful," was how he summed things up.
These days, the 48-year-old is frantically juggling national media spots, jet-setting across country and hobnobbing with Spike Lee.
"Out of control," is how he described his life Wednesday. "One thing after another. Completely turned upside down."
What do you expect when you're a confidant, friend and former high school basketball coach of the world's most talked-about athlete, Jeremy Lin
Oh, Diepenbrock expected the interview requests when the undrafted and twice-cut Lin began his head-spinning transformation of the New York Knicks and NBA.
But front-row seats at Madison Square Garden – the proclaimed World's Most Famous Arena?
Sitting next to New York's biggest fan Lee?
Both cheering on Diepenbrock's prized pupil?
"No, that's definitely not something I ever envisioned in my lifetime," Diepenbrock said.
But it's going to happen.
On Saturday, Diepenbrock is scheduled to fly to New York City and sit courtside for Sunday's nationally-televised game with Dallas.
Lin's Palo Alto high school teammates – Kheaton Scott
, Kevin Trimble
and Brian Baskauskas – will also make the cross-country trip but can't afford the $7,000 price tag for a front-row seat.
"We're not sitting nose-bleed either," Scott said. "We're coming too far for that."DONE DEAL
Diepenbrock said it wasn't Lin who set him up with the seats, but rather "a friend of a friend of a friend."
He's already made connections with Lee, however, through Michael Kay's ESPN radio show out of New York. It was one of more than a dozen interviews Diepenbrock gave Wednesday.
"I told (Kay) I had only one goal going back to New York and that was to see Spike Lee wear Jeremy Lin's high school jersey," Diepenbrock said. "Five minutes after I finished the segment, (ESPN producers) called me back and said it's a done deal."
Lee evidently called the show and set it up. He'll wear it Friday night when the Knicks host New Orleans, meaning Diepenbrock will have to courier the jersey before he gets there.
"I'm just worried it's going to leave the country and someone will sell it on eBay for $100,000," Diepenbrock joked.
Diepenbrock has been one of Lin's closest friends and staunchest supporters since the two led Palo Alto to a 2006 state championship. The two spoke almost daily, Diepenbrock said, before Lin burst into the national scene on Feb. 4.
As of the last week, however, as Lin's star reached Zenith proportions, the two communicate by text daily.
Though worried the media onslaught will take its toll, Diepenbrock said Lin is in very good hands – those of Lin's mother Shirley.
"She makes sure he's getting his rest, eating right," Diepenbrock said.
Nutrition and sleep are helping for sure. But nothing can explain Lin's unfathomable run of scoring and clutch play, capped Tuesday with a 3-pointer to beat Toronto.
"I honest don't think I've ever screamed louder for a made shot," said Diepenbrock, known for his impassioned sideline antics as a coach. "Obviously those who know Jeremy best knew he always had a lot of guts. He showed in every tough game we were ever in.
"But we're finding out now he has more guts than we ever imagined."
Lee articulated it just about right during halftime of the Knicks' 100-85 win over Sacramento, New York's sixth straight win. Lin only took six shots and scored but 10 points, but handed off a career-high 13 assists.
"This is some unworldly stuff we're witnessing," Lee said. "If you took this script to Hollywood they'd say, 'Get out of here.' ... Taiwanese American. Harvard grad. Undrafted. Cut by the Golden State Warriors. Cut by the Houston Rockets. And now he's the toast of the world? This is bigger than sports."BIG NEW IDEAS
And Lin's story is inspirational beyond ethnic lines, said his Palo Alto teammate Scott, an elementary school teacher in Menlo. Lin helped lead a basketball clinic at Scott's Peninsula School during the lockout.
Needless to say, the kids are thrilled and amazed with Lin's sudden fame.
"They're like 'wow, we played basketball with Jeremy Lin,' " said Scott, a Howard University graduate.
"The thing is with Jeremy he's such a positive role model not only for Asian Americans but all kids across the board. He's a great, great underdog story. It opens up kids' minds not only to basketball but to all big new ideas."
It also gives hope to long suffering Knicks' fans, said
, the starting center on Palo Alto's 2006 state championship team.
A consultant in Northern California, Miller was on a business trip last week and ran into a New York fan who hadn't attended a game in years because of how poorly the Knicks have done and the cost of tickets.
But after Lin's first three games, he bought $90 nosebleed tickets he told Cooper.
"He said this guy (Lin) makes it easy to root for the Knicks again," Cooper said.
Because of work obligations, Cooper won't be able to join his pals in New York this weekend. A number of them play for Diepenbrock's Wednesday night Menlo Park Recreation Department squad called the Gym Rats. During the lockout, in fact, Lin joined the squad and got some PT.
"That probably wasn't real fair," Scott said.
Deadpanned Cooper: "He's upped his game a little since high school."
Diepenbrock said Lin probably had a tougher time with the rec league guys than how he's carved up the NBA cats the last two weeks. He said it with a wide proud smile.
Cooper said watching Lin play the last couple weeks have invigorated all the former Palo Alto players, who piled up a combined 63-3 record in 2004-05
, including 32-1 when the Vikings
"They say you can't relieve your glory days," Cooper said. "But this kind of brings it all back."