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. In One Small Town, One Crazy Coach, author Mike Roos tells the compelling story of this improbable season of the Ireland Spuds.
This month, Roos will sign copies of his book at the IU men's home basketball games on December 10, December 20, December 22, January 4, February 2, and March 2. The signings will begin 90 minutes prior to game time.
With no starters taller than 5’10”, few wins were predicted for the Spuds in the ’62-63 season. Yet, after a preseason of outlandishly brutal conditioning and a variety of unconventional motivational tactics, “crazy coach” Pete Gill surmounted fierce opposition from the players and townsfolk and molded the Spuds into a winning team that brought home the town’s first and only sectional and regional titles.
“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.”
Rather than a strict historical rendering of the story, Roos spins the narrative in the form of a true life novel, going deep inside characters’ thoughts and feelings and recreating dialogue that stays true to the spirit of the events. The result is a colorful and compelling account of an underdog team’s struggles, wide-ranging emotions, and triumphs throughout the season.