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Friday, March 31, 2006

The title of this book, in full:

Innocence in the Red Zone

The Adversity and Opportunity of Bobby Williams: the Story of an African-American Coach in Big Time College Football
The cover quote:
"After coaching 47 years and being the real life white coach depicted in 'Remember the Titans,' I can see parallels in the struggles of my high school mentor and Bobby Williams. This book pulls o punches but entertains and informs with wit -- a real reality book."

Bill Yoast, former football coach at T.C. Williams High School, Alexandria, Virginia, about whom the movie "Remember the Titans" was written in conjuction with the African American head coach that replacd him.
The author is a visiting professor at Lewis & Clark University and, yes, a graduate of Michigan State. He also "has attributes of a Renaissance Man," according to his book-blog -- as I'm reading The Baroque Cycle this makes me think he likes big poofy wigs, smallpox, and piracy.

Where to even begin? This can only be a book that attempts to convince the reader that Bobby Williams' tumultuous career as Michigan State's head coach was ended prematurely by insidious racism instead of
  • losing your starting quarterback to cocaine or alcohol or weed or all of the above, depending on who you talk to,
  • having your captain drag a cop down the street during what was, until then, a routine traffic stop,
  • having two other contributors quit the team,
  • taking a team thought to be a Big Ten contender and turning in a 3-8 record
  • losing to your main rival 49-3,
  • responding to the question "have you lost control of this team?" with a thrilling rhetorical gambit: "I don't know*," aaaaand
  • looking likely to burst into tears at any moment.
No doubt there's a case to be made that black coaches are systematically discriminated against, but using Bobby Williams as your battleground? Half a league, half a league, half a league onward.

(via SpartanTailgate.)

*(Much like "Are you a God?" the question "Have you lost control of this team?" has only one answer, Ray.)