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.
On September 29 at 2 p.m. at Ireland Elementary School, IU Press will sponsor a book launch event for Mike Roos's One Small Town, One Crazy Coach: The Ireland Spuds and the 1963 Indiana High School Basketball Season, the account of this improbable 1962-63 season of the Ireland Spuds. Former NBA Coach of the Year, Del Harris, will be a special guest speaker and Evansville TV personality Mike Blake will serve as emcee.
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.
Roos, a Professor of English at University of Cincinnati, will read from One Small Town, One Crazy Coach and sign copies. He is the son of Jim Roos, who was principal of Ireland High School at the time of the feat. In addition, Harris will sign copies of his compelling book on leadership and team building, On Point: Four Steps to Better Life Teams.
Relying on narrative strategies of creative nonfiction rather than strict historical rendering, 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.
“One Small Town, One Crazy Coach is an outstanding book that reflects the true passion of high school basketball in Indiana and its impact on a community,” said Michael Lewis, Assistant Coach at Butler University. “This story is a clear expression of a coach and his team's unwavering belief in accomplishing something special. You’ll thoroughly enjoy following the 1963 Ireland Spuds as they chase their piece of Indiana Basketball History.”