Jim Dent, author of the New York Times bestselling The Junction Boys returns with the remarkable and inspiring story of one of the biggest comebacks in college football history.
Back in the 1960s, Notre Dame’s football program was in shambles. For five straight years, from 1958 through 1963, the home of Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy could not produce one winning season. Plagued by a series of bad coaching choices, inept management, and a loss of institutional support, no one could be sure if the Fighting Irish would ever return to glory. When “Touchdown Jesus” was erected in 1964, it presided over a team so hopeless that the entire football program was on the brink of collapse.
Little did anyone know, help was on its way in the form of Ara Parseghian, a controversial choice for head coach---the first one outside of the Notre Dame “family”---who had only set foot on Notre Dame soil when his football teams played (and won) there. It was now his responsibility to rebuild the once-proud program and teach the Fighting Irish how to win again. This was no small task.
The men of Notre Dame football were a bunch of unlikelies and oddballs, but Parseghian transformed them into a team: a senior quarterback who would win the Heisman Trophy two weeks before he picked up his first letter jacket; a five-foot-eight walk-on who would go on to make first team All-American; and an exceptionally rare black player, who would overcome much more than his quiet demeanor to rise to All-American, All-Pro, NFL Hall of Famer, and to justice of the Minnesota Supreme Court.
Parseghian would change everything, from the uniforms and pads to the offensive strategy. He switched players from position to position like pieces on a chessboard, and just before the season opener, he hung a motto over the locker-room door:
What tho the odds
Be great or small
Notre Dame men
Will win over all
It would be a huge gamble against great obstacles, but Ara Parseghian had that look in his eye. . . .
New York Times bestselling author Jim Dent chronicles one of the greatest comeback seasons in the history of college football---the first season in what is known as the “Era of Ara.” Once again confirming his position as one of the top sportswriters in the country, Dent writes with passion, humor, and incredible insight, bringing the legends of Notre Dame football to life in an unforgettable story of second chances, determination, and unwavering spirit.