War As They Knew It: Woody Hayes, Bo Schembechler, and America in a Time of Unrest

Michael Rosenberg, Author . Grand Central $26.99 (374p) ISBN 978-0-446-58013-7

The yearly battle between Ohio State and the University of Michigan is one of the most intensely fought rivalries in college football, and one of its greatest eras began in 1969, when Bo Schembechler arrived in Michigan as the team’s new head coach. Schembechler had been a former protégé of Woody Hayes, the legendary coach of Ohio State—who was so intimidating that one player used to be terrified that Hayes would kick him in the testicles during practice, despite never having seen him do it to another player. Rosenberg, a sportswriter for the Detroit Free Press , tracks how the two coaches pushed their players to greatness over the next nine years (until Hayes was fired after punching an opposing player in the middle of a game) while trying to adjust to the social upheavals of the 1970s. His attempts to bring the radical student underground into the story are an intermittent distraction—the most powerful drama is out on the football field and in the locker room when every year Schembechler and Hayes went head-to-head. The story has its strong moments, including one of history’s most notorious missed field goals, but it’s the dual portrait of the old-school coaching legends that’s the real attraction. (Sept. 10)

Reviewed on: 06/23/2008
Release date: 09/01/2008
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