One Small Town, One Crazy Coach

One Small Town, One Crazy Coach

The Ireland Spuds and the 1963 Indiana High School Basketball Season
Mike Roos
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 09/17/2013
ISBN: 978-0-253-01035-3
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2014 AAUP Public and Secondary School Library Selection

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.

Author Bio

Mike Roos is Professor of English at University of Cincinnati Blue Ash College. His website is


“This book shoots deep inside a colorful cast of characters providing a compelling account of a 1962 high school basketball team's inner struggles and wide-ranging emotions throughout the season.”

“Fifty years ago the term ‘Hoosier Hysteria’ had a truly special meaning and a band of ‘Spuds’ solidified it. In short, Mike Roos’s work about this unique team and special time is a must read! Any true ‘Hoosier’ will be taken to a better place!”
 — Jerry Reynolds, Director of Player Personnel and Broadcaster for NBA Sacramento Kings

“For anyone who grew up in this 'basketball crazy state' . . . One Small Town, One Crazy Coach is a must read. Mike Roos takes us on a wonderful trip back to when Hoosier Basketball was the ONLY game in town . . . not just a story about High School Hoops . . . but an inside look at that glorious era when Indiana Boys basketball meant everything to an entire community.”
 — Mike Blake, NBC Sports Commentator

“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. 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.”
 — Michael Lewis, Assistant Coach, Butler University

“Mike Roos cleverly articulates the trials and tribulations faced by all small town Indiana basketball coaches during an era of Hoosier Hysteria when against all odds, little known high schools became legendary in defeating those larger schools that routinely dominated the game. Relive one such unpredictable quest orchestrated by Pete Gill's motivational style and executed by the 1963 Ireland Spud players who believed in their coach.”
 — Jack Butcher, Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

“Many of the schools Ireland High School played in 1962-1963 disappeared in the consolidation rush of the 1970s. Mike Roos . . . grew up in this world ('the golden age of Indiana high school basketball'), his father was the principal of Ireland High School during its trip to the promised land, and he knows basketball inside and out. I can't imagine anyone more qualified than Mr. Roos to bring Indiana high school basketball history to life—especially in this the 50th anniversary year. His is indeed an original—and valuable—work.”
 — Don Daiker, Emeritus Professor of English, Miami University, Oxford

“Mike Roos's One Small Town, One Crazy Coach is a wonderful addition to the literature of the only game that matters in the Hoosier state. Fans of Hoosiers and John Feinstein's A Season on the Brink will discover not simply a tale of Davids taking on Goliaths but a tribute to the villages and hamlets of the Midwest, many of whose home high schools disappeared thanks to public-school consolidation in the 1970s. The minute Ireland's gentle giant principal, Jim Roos—the author's father—hires the raw, impassioned Pete Gill to lead the Spuds, readers also know they're meeting one of the all-time characters in coaching—a man with a peculiar mixture of discipline and impulse, and one given to spectacle. The iconic moment Gill tosses his trousers into the stands captures the sheer exhilaration of victory—a rightful reminder that winning is as much about giddy absurdity as sentimental triumph.”
 — Kirk Curnutt, author of Breathing Out the Ghost, winner of the 2008 Best Books of Indiana Award for Best Novel

“A great tribute to Coach Pete Gill and the 1963 Ireland Spuds. It is a message of faith as a 'crazy' coach leads an underdog team to high achievements against all odds. This book is a true picture of what small town basketball was like in southern Indiana in 1963, and the power of small town spirit.”
 — Don Buse, Former ABA and NBA All Star, Indiana Pacers

“For everyone that loved Hoosiers, here is the next volume. But unlike Hoosiers, which was only based on a true event but was embellished with an anthology of events that occurred in dozens of small post-war Indiana towns, this one is took place in a town half the size of "Hickory". You will laugh and cry as you fall in love with the characters and the compelling story of the Ireland Spuds circa 1963.”
 — Del Harris, former coach of the Los Angeles Lakers

“Memories of 50 years ago....After reading the book, Pete [Gill] was crazier than I imagined.”
 — Jim Jones, Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame Coach

“Mike Roos has captured for basketball fans and general readers alike the essence of what Indiana basketball and small town life was all about in the 1960s. Along the way, there's lots of 'string music' that will send readers right back to a bygone golden era of Hoosier Hysteria.”
 — Joe Dean, Color commentator for SEC basketball

“One Small Town, One Crazy Coach is a piece of Indiana basketball history that reawakens memories of the glory days of high school teams in Southern Indiana.”
 — Chris May, Executive Director, Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

“For One Small Town, One Crazy Coach’s 302 lively pages, Mike Roos keeps an era and his childhood alive.”
 — Indiana Magazine of History

“You don’t need to know a lot about basketball to fall in love with this book. It’s more than a book about basketball. It’s about the people of Ireland, the way they thought, the things they hoped, and their lives. ”
 — Little Indiana

“[Roos's] gift for descriptive detail, his deep knowledge of both the game of basketball and the culture of southern Indiana hamlets, and his from-the-heart dedication to the narratvie materials at hand make One Small Town, One Crazy Coach a compelling read.”
 — Bloom Magazine

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