Football Gazette's Small College Football Blog

Don Hansen's Football Gazette Blog of information, comments, notes, and tidebits on Small College Football. NCAA 1-AA & Mid Major, Division II & Mid Major, Division III, NAIA, and NCCAA

Friday, June 17, 2005

The Sweet Season (Must read book)

Editorial Review
The Sweet Season is an aptly titled, vibrantly entertaining book. After a decade of fall travel covering games, longtime Sports Illustrated football reporter Austin Murphy forgoes the roadie lifestyle to move with his family and cover one of the best football programs in the nation, at Minnesota's St. John's University. With all the self-deprecating and witty style of Bill Bryson, Murphy depicts the coaches, players, monks (it is, after all, a Catholic school), his family, and himself as fallible humans and unsung heroes.

Above all, Murphy has fun here, in his silly depictions of small-town, college life, the simple delights his family brings, and the refreshment of football without superhuman egos. John Gagliardi, the 70-plus coach of St. John's, has won more games than any five active NFL coaches combined, despite a non-traditional coaching style devoid of full-contact scrimmages or hours of (useless) calisthenics. One Johnny exercise is the Beautiful Day Drill, where players flop down and stare at the sky, commenting on the loveliness overhead.

Murphy's football anecdotes are insightful, his humor relentless, and his game savvy tested. At the first St. John's game, Murphy "[watches] the kickoff transfixed, half-expecting Eau Claire's returner to go all the way. I mean, I've been with the Johnnies damned near a month and haven't seen them make a tackle. Who's to say they can do it?" As we find out, and opposing teams can attest, they hit hard, every season. Highly recommended. --Michael Ferch--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

After fifteen years as a Sports Illustrated writer, pleading for interviews with large men in possession of larger egos, Austin Murphy decides to bail out. The time has come, he concludes, to fly beneath the radar of big-league sports, to while away a season with the Johnnies. So, he moves his family to the middle of Minnesota to chronicle a season at St. John's, a Division III program that has reached unparalleled success under the unorthodox guidance of John "Gags" Gagliardi.

The Sweet Season is an account of what happens when a family pulls up stakes and spends months in a strange and wonderful place. It is also, not incidentally, the story of the most incredible football program in the country, run by a smiling sage who has forgotten more about the game than most of his peers will ever know.
This book is a must read for all those that love their football and family and the way the game of football and life are meant to be played. In 2003 John Gagliardi led his St. John's team to another NCAA Division III Championship, defeating favorite Mount Union College in Salem, Virginia, 24-6. That 2003 team finished 14-0. To view Honors that the St. John's program has received click here.

Don Hansen


  • At 12:53 PM, Blogger Sports Junky said…

    I agree,

    I love Football. and recently I have bought stock in it. Not like real stock on Wall street, but a stock market that is strictly for sports.

    You have seen it? Its pretty cool. You buy issues for your favorite teams and you make real money. Not like a fake stock simulator. I cash out Dividends each time the team wins. Also I can sell my team stock when the price goes up.

    check it out if something like this interests you.
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    They just released IPO'S for Football this week, so there are alot of good deals there.

    Keep up the good work on your blog!

  • At 7:28 PM, Blogger Nosey said…

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