Latest Books Now Out and a New Quiz

9781538101582_fcAbove: The cover of my latest book which can now be purchased in the usual places such as on line at Barnes and Noble, Amazon, or through the publisher, Rowman & Littlefield.

The book covers nine of the greatest coaches who spent at least some time during the 1950s and/or 1960s coaching an NFL team. Those legends are: Tom Landry, Don Shula, Vince Lombardi (pictured), George “Papa Bear” Halas, George Allen, Paul Brown, Hank Stram, Bud Grant, and Weeb Ewbank.

The book also focuses on four great games from that era: the 1959 title game between the Colts and Giants (Unitas, Berry, Gifford, and tons of other Hall of Famers); the infamous Heidi Game; the Ice Bowl between the Cowboys and Packers; and the stunning upset of the Colts by Joe Namath’s Jets in Super Bowl III.

Almost all of the anecdotes and quotes in the book comes from exclusive interviews I did with many stars and superstars of the game such as Mel Renfro, Raymond Berry, Tom Matte, Gino Marchetti, Mike Ditka, Rick Volk, Don Maynard, Fred Cox, Floyd Little, Dave Robinson, Paul Warfield, and many more. Several of these men (such as Berry, Matte, Ditka, and Maynard) endorsed the book by providing blurbs for the cover.

The book is a follow-up, a sort of companion book to Remembering the Stars of the Glory Years of the NFL which focused on the roughest, toughest players of the time period (including Dick Butkus–he’s featured on the books cover in a great picture of him towering over a player he had just leveled), the superstars of the era, others who, though not superstars, were very, very good players, the humor of the game in the 1950s and 1960s, and the contrast between football then and now.

BELOW: A reminder that my America’s Cradle of Quarterbacks is also out now– and it includes an introduction by Western Pennsylvanian Mike Ditka.


Bonus Quiz: Of the men listed above in the descripton of the Glory Years book, which of them– #1 was a running back at Syracuse   #2 was once called the greatest defensive end ever   #3 was a wide receiver who once (in the 1960s) broke a tremendous record held by another man on the list  #4 grew up on the same street as Joe Montana  #5 was mainly a running back in the NFL, but was a quarterback in college for OSU and Woody Hayes


Answers: 1 Little  2 Marchetti  3 Maynard broke some Berry records  4 Cox  5 Matte

4 thoughts on “Latest Books Now Out and a New Quiz”

    1. Tom, I don’t check in on comments often so I need you to refresh my memory. Did I send you anything on Bill? Sorry if I didn’t do so. Actually, to play it safe, here is the story I did on him:

      Bill Urbanik embodies the concept of being a “football lifer,” a man who has been around the game in one capacity or another for more than five decades. He began playing at the age of nine and continued playing, coaching, scouting, or broadcasting seemingly forever.
      At Donora High School (Class of 1965) he played offensive and defensive tackle on both at about 6’ 3” and he weighed in at 235 pounds. He said, “Sports was a kind of religion. When you were a kid you hung on the fence around the football field and you watched and figured out how long it would be before you’d be out there.
      “I’ll never forget watching Donora playing at Charleroi in, I think, 1960, and I said to myself, ‘Well, the next time Donora plays here, I’ll be playing.’ That was a kind of a realization that the finality was coming to it—I was finally going to go to high school and play.”
      Urbanik, who grew up near the house where Stan Musial was raised, said he was the first sophomore in the history of his conference, covering about 50 years, to be named to the Big Six second string. He moved up to first team the next year and was “the only junior on the WPIAL 33, an All-Western Pennsylvania team.”
      The next season, 1964, he not only made the Big 33 team which went against Texas coached by the legendary Bobby Layne, he was also a Parade All-American, one of only 22 athletes in the country to do so, he believes.
      A few highlights of his Dragon days included a tie against a rugged Clairton team and a victory against Charleroi. “Charleroi was magnificent. They beat Donora 13 years straight until we beat them my senior year after all those years of futility.” He also recalled a loss to Monongahela that he traced to the loss of superb running back Larry Crawford due to a bad knee. Losing him meant “we had no offense because the offense was him.”
      Not limited to one sport, the durable Urbanik (who hardly missed playing a single down in football) also played basketball and threw the shot put and disc. “In the spring of ’64, I remember throwing in the Mon Valley meet. I was a junior and I got off my best shot put throw of the year, 54’ 2” [to lead everyone]. After I threw, big Doug Crusan stepped in, and he let it go 60’ even, which broke my brother Tom’s Big Six Conference record. My happiness didn’t last long.” Urbanik did, however, come in second.
      Urbanik was told at one point that he was the only man from Donora to play for a Big 10 school. He was the Ohio State defensive tackle, starting every game as a sophomore and senior. He played on Buckeye teams which featured future NFL players such as two time All-American defensive back Jack Tatum, another All-American in fullback Jim Otis, and quarterback Rex Kern.
      The 1968 season ended with Ohio State as national champions earned with a glowing 10-0 record under Woody Hayes and a 27-16 win over the University of Southern California in the Rose Bowl. Urbanik, a junior, helped a defense which surrendered just 15 points per game, fewer than half as many points as OSU put on the board weekly.
      “I think we started 14 or 16 sophomores in the Rose Bowl. Only four seniors started. We had a couple of close calls, but won.”
      Urbanik had the brains to go with his brawn (his college weight ranged between 218 and 244 pounds). He achieved Academic All-American honors in 1969. In doing so, he joined other Ohio State football stars including John Frank who would later be on the receiving end of passes from Ringgold alum Joe Montana; Pete Johnson, a Pro Bowl Cincinnati running back; another Pro Bowl player, Dave Foley; and Brian Baschnagel of the Chicago Bears.
      Football in his blood, Urbanik went on to coach and scout in the NFL as well as providing radio color commentary for Wake Forest, where he had previously coached, for six years. His resume almost endless, he even coached at Marshall “right after the plane crash, and I was the head coach at a high school in Kentucky, and in 1975, I was at Northern Illinois.”
      He worked for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1984-1988, with the Los Angeles Raiders the following two seasons, and spent 1997 and 1998 with the Oakland Raiders. He was also a scout for the Arizona Cardinals in 1999 and 2000. Furthermore, he was the defensive coordinator for a year for the New York Hitmen in the XFL.
      “My last eight years of employment, I went back to high school, running in-school suspension, and it was a lot of fun. You could help kids. I retired in 2010.” He now lives in Kernersville, North Carolina near Greensboro and Winston-Salem.


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