John Foley is a high school teacher in the Seattle area. He previously worked as a newspaper reporter in the Chicago suburbs and Alaska, covering sports, cops, features and any other beat that didn't require him to attend sanitary sewer meetings. Following a career change to teaching, he worked in Alaskan villages for several years, which led to his memoir Tundra Teacher. Hoops of Steel is based in part on his experiences as a basketball player. Foley was second string on the junior varsity at a Division III school, but prefers to simply say that he "played college ball."