For Seth Berger, the second-year boys' basketball coach at the Westtown School in Chester County, his immediate ambitions involve winning games in the Friends Schools League. He'll be trying to beat Academy of the New Church and Friends Select this week.

He used to have another goal: Beat Nike.

"Our first sentence of our business plan said that someday And1 will be the No. 1 basketball [clothing] company in the world," said the former CEO of And1.

A junior varsity player during his undergraduate days at Penn, Berger is living a hoops dream: Start a shoe company, watch it go through the roof, then cash out and go coach a high school team.

"It is absolutely a total, total fantasy," Berger said.

And1 made its mark in a variety of ways, from T-shirts with slogans such as "I Saw Your Game On A Milk Carton" to a Latrell Sprewell endorsement that caused sneaker sales to skyrocket to the And1 Mix Tape Tours - sort of a high-level street ball meets the Harlem Globetrotters that a generation of ballplayers grew up watching in the afternoon on ESPN2. The company Berger began with two friends, one a Wharton School classmate, got as high as No. 2 in U.S. market share.

When Berger finally had to admit after a dozen years that No. 1 was unattainable, that Nike could never be caught and And1, Reebok and Adidas were fighting for scraps, "it was time to go," he said.

By the time the company was sold in 2005, it had lost a third of its value and fallen back to No. 3 in domestic basketball shoe sales, although Berger said almost a quarter of NBA players were wearing And1 shoes.

The sale, to American Sporting Goods, was for undisclosed millions. Berger, 41, can afford to coach full time for free, kicking his salary back, at a Quaker boarding school founded in 1799. The other day, he was wearing khakis and a standard-issue white Westtown golf shirt in front of his bench in a barn of a gym built in the 1950s that features four rows of bleachers.

It's got an old-school feel. The place gets loudest when students bang on radiators just above the stands.

Berger hasn't lost any competitiveness, he said.

"My goal would be when I'm done coaching to look back and say, 'I've been one of the best high school coaches in America,' " said Berger, who lives nearby in Malvern and has three young sons attending Westtown's lower school. "I think I'm a long way away from that. A long way." (Amend that part about "in America," Berger later requested by e-mail, to "in Philly.")

But Berger said later that even that answer bothered him since it wasn't why he was at Westtown, just to feed his ego.

"During the game, I want to win," Berger said. "But I'm not coaching high school basketball to win games."

Westtown, which had a $78 million endowment at the end of the fiscal year in June, has 800 students from pre-K through 12th grade, with 410 students in the high school, virtually all moving on to college.

The once-sleepy Friends Schools League is a hot circuit for basketball these days. Academy of the New Church made the national rankings last season. Friends' Central boasts Hakim Warrick of the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies among its alumni.

Westtown officials take pains to point out that admissions standards aren't being adjusted for basketball, that Westtown isn't going to become some basketball academy, even if the team's talent level continues to rise. A school official said a couple of current starters for local Division I teams had been interested in coming to Westtown but weren't admitted.

"We just cannot take a risk on a kid," said associate admissions director Mark Stucker, who acknowledged that some faculty members aren't looking for Westtown to become a basketball power.

"They couldn't care if we had LeBron James if he wasn't a good student and a good kid," Stucker said. "Seth is so in sync with that philosophy."

As for financial aid at a school where tuition is roughly $40,000 a year, Berger said: "Aid here is totally need-based. If you can play basketball and you can pay, you pay. If you can't pay, you get aid. It's an expensive place, obviously."

Assistant coach Eric Mayer, who heads the religion department at Westtown, said Berger had bought into the culture of the place and understands its emphasis on character development and "understanding this lifelong commitment to our bodies and a respect for the game and what it means to have a worthy adversary. . . . I think he has augmented it and brought this incredible intensity."

Berger sweats the small stuff. When a reporter called him last week shortly after a game, Berger immediately said, "I know I've got to call the box score in."

On Westtown's varsity, which is 12-4, there is a forward from Turkey, a guard from Puerto Rico, and three players from Nigeria, the Yiljep twins and a talented 6-foot-9 freshman, Daniel Ochefu, who spent the first 10 years of his life in Baltimore, he said, before moving to Lagos. He attended a 76ers camp, Ochefu said, and the camp director there called Berger about him.

Ochefu looks like a big-time prospect, although Berger said he calls him "Recess" because Ochefu is basically just out there having fun.

Berger, who was an assistant coach for two years before taking over, does not have Westtown playing anything resembling street ball. He's not shy about contacting connections to teach him how to teach the game. He said he uses Temple coach Fran Dunphy's baseline defense and principles from Lafayette coach Fran O'Hanlon's offense, and he has borrowed his practice structure from Villanova coach Jay Wright.

"I knew a lot about basketball, having played it for many years and watched it for many years," Berger said. "But there's a real difference when you're actually teaching it. You've got to know exactly what you're teaching."

He is a coach after being in charge of a company that never would have used a coach for an endorsement, a company that happily signed Sprewell weeks after he choked his own coach, P.J. Carlesimo. "Our interpretation was: This is two grown men who got into a fight and one man won and one man didn't and that happens," Berger said.

And1, based in Paoli when Berger was in charge, also was a company that made heroes of players making moves that aren't always legal in games.

"I grew up in the era when And1 was coming up," said Chris Beesley, a 24-year-old assistant coach and a Westtown graduate. "It's a flashy street ball 'Look at me' kind of product. I don't think Westtown is the kind of place that embraces that mind-set."

He wasn't raising his eyebrows, just enjoying the dichotomy.

"Westtown values the community," Beesley said.

But Berger said And1's true spirit was valuing the basketball community. Its logo from the start was "the raceless faceless player" that became iconic within the hoops world, with more than a few players sporting it on tattoos. Larry Hughes, a former 76ers guard, got an endorsement deal since he already had the logo on his arm.

"My perspective is the kids who have the talent to do the stuff in the Mix Tapes. If you don't have the baseline fundamentals, you can't do those moves," Berger said. "So actually those kids, if they didn't spend hours to do the dribbling drills and shoot the jump shots, they couldn't play."

But there is a difference in cultures. Westtown players say Berger would never allow them to go full-out And1.

"Not at all," said junior forward Dockery Walker, who said he owns the first And1 Mix Tape. "I was a little thrown off by that. He plays somewhat composed. He lets us do one move and go by the guy."

Westtown guard Matthew Lee said And1 Mix Tape Tour star Hot Sauce was his favorite player when he was growing up in Bloomfield, N.J.

"I idolized those guys," Lee said. "They were on the same level as NBA players in my mind."

He also said he wouldn't try to pull out any moves for Westtown.

"Seth lives and breathes for easy shots," Lee said.

When And1 first begin to build, Berger said, the company would include pickup basketball as part of the job interview. He actually met one of his two partners as they played in a daily pickup game during graduate school. And1 evolved from a study project of Berger's at Wharton. The first year, Berger said, he made $1,812.

And1 grew to more than $210 million in revenue in 2001, with licensees selling an additional $65 million. The connections Berger made obviously won't hurt Westtown. He said he'd limit the NBA interaction for his players but did say, "I think that it really helps that I'm one call away - at most two calls away - from anybody in the basketball world I need to get."

Asked for an example, he said, "I consider [NBA] Commissioner [David] Stern a friend."

He also said agent David Falk is a good friend and at "the appropriate time" he would ask if his client Elton Brand would talk to Ochefu, his talented freshman, about the work it takes to get to the NBA.

Berger said one of his players ribbed him when they played another team wearing And1 uniforms: "We had to beat those guys. They're wearing some no-name brand of clothes."

"I gave him no response," Berger said.

But the biggest sign that Berger himself has moved on? His team wears Nikes. Any guilt?

"No way," Berger said. "Now I'm just a sneaker head like anybody else. Today, I'll wear Adidas at practice."