One Small Town, One Crazy Coach: The Ireland Spuds and the 1963 Indiana High School Basketball Season

One Small Town, One Crazy Coach: The Ireland Spuds and the 1963 Indiana High School Basketball Season

One Small Town, One Crazy Coach: The Ireland Spuds and the 1963 Indiana High School Basketball Season

One Small Town, One Crazy Coach: The Ireland Spuds and the 1963 Indiana High School Basketball Season

Synopsis

In the summer of 1962, the peripatetic and irrepressible Pete Gill was hired on a whim to coach basketball at tiny Ireland High School. There he would accomplish, against enormous odds, one of the great small-town feats in Indiana basketball history. With no starters taller than 5'10", few wins were predicted for the Spuds. Yet, after inflicting brutal preseason conditioning, employing a variety of unconventional motivational tactics, and overcoming fierce opposition, Gill molded the Spuds into a winning team that brought home the town's first and only sectional and regional titles. Relying on narrative strategies of creative nonfiction rather than strict historical rendering, Mike Roos brings to life a colorful and varied cast of characters and provides a compelling account of their struggles, wide-ranging emotions, and triumphs throughout the season.

Excerpt

This book has been a ten-year a labor of love—or fifty years, if you care to go back to the beginning. My father was in his second year as principal of Ireland High School, and I an eleven-year-old fifth grader, when the Ireland Spuds made the Sweet Sixteen of Indiana High School basketball in 1963. I was present for most of the games involved and regarded these people as my heroes and source of inspiration, a flame that has never died. in 2003, I attended the fortieth anniversary celebration of the Spuds’ accomplishment and recognized that this was a story someone needed to preserve and share with the world. My only regret is that it took me so long to hear the calling.

However, the book is neither a memoir of my own experiences (which would not be very interesting) nor a straight historical account of a magical season. in setting this story down for posterity, I wanted as much as possible to recreate as vividly as possible those long-lost times, which will never return, and the extraordinary people involved, and so I decided to employ some of the techniques of fiction in bringing the story to life. While all the significant events in this book are factual and true, at times I have reimagined moments and conversations in order for the characters to breathe more freely and appear to live on the page. in all of these recreations, I have made every effort to stay true to the spirit of the events and the personalities involved. I hope my methods not only make for a more . . .

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