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The Junction Boys

How 10 Days in Hell with Bear Bryant Forged a Champion Team

Jim Dent; Foreword by Gene Stallings

St. Martin's Griffin

The legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant is recognized nationwide as one of the greatest coaches ever. So why did he always cite his 1-9 A&M team of 1954 as his favorite? This is the story of a remarkable team—and the beginning of the legend.

In August of '54, the town of Junction was a flyspeck on the map of Texas. On a day late in the month, two Greyhound buses weaved through a twisting and narrow two-lane highway. The Texas A&M football team aboard, 115 men strong, would soon arrive in a tiny town with no stoplights, one service station, and precious little else; just outside town, they would find an unforgiving patch of land littered with spartan Quonset huts, rocks, sandspurs, cactus, yellow dust, and gnarled mesquite tress.

As Texas suffered from the devastating drought, so too did Texas A&M football suffer from a drought of heart and talent. To the rescue came Bear Bryant, already a legend in the making, who was in no mood for a picnic. It was in Junction that he would make his stand, and it was there that he would drive home an extreme brand of blood-and-thunder discipline. In a calculated move that many consider the salvation of Texas A&M football, Bryant put his players through the most grueling workouts ever imagined. Beneath a broiling Texas sun, practicing on a drought-scorched field, only a handful would survive the ten-day Aggie Death Camp. The ones who braved the torchlike heat and the burning passion of their coach helped turn a floundering team into one of the nation's best.

The Junction Boys is more than just a story of tough practices without water breaks. An extraordinary fellowship was forged from the mind-numbing pain. The 35 survivors bonded together like no other team in America (among the Junction survivors who would greatly influence the game of football were Gene Stallings and Jack Pardee). They profited from the Junction experience; the knowledge they took back with them to College Station, about themselves and what they were capable of, would be used for the rest of their lives.

REVIEWS

Praise for The Junction Boys

“It’s the best sports book I’ve ever read.”
- Pat Summerall, Fox Sports

"I heard the story of the Junction Boys from gene Stallings when he was on my staff with the Cowboys. Those guys were some of the toughest to ever play the game. Jim Dent has really brough the story to life in a book any football fan would like to read."
- Tom Landry, former coach of the Dallas Cowboys

"...the best book on a sports topic I've read in years."
- Furman Bisher, The Atlanta Journal Constitution

"Engaging."
- Sports Illustrated

"You'll want to laugh, you might even want to cry, but you'll know what legends are made of by the time you finish this book. They'll be talking about this book for a long time."
- Texas Aggie Magazine

"...highly readable...Dent manages to celebrate the myth and recreate the mystique of the Bear while not glossing over the consequences of the coach's uncompromising drive to win."
- The Birmingham News

Reviews from Goodreads

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  • Jim Dent; Foreword by Gene Stallings

  • Jim Dent is the author of The Undefeated, King of the Cowboys, and You're out and You're Ugly, Too (with Durwood Merrill). He is an award-winning journalist who covered the Dallas Cowboys for eleven years and worked in the sports media for more than two decades. He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University.
  • Jim Dent
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Available Formats and Book Details

The Junction Boys

How 10 Days in Hell with Bear Bryant Forged a Champion Team

Jim Dent; Foreword by Gene Stallings

BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

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FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Griffin

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