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Heisman: The Man Behind the Trophy Hardcover – October 2, 2012

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Editorial Reviews


"Journalist Mark Schlabach and John M. Heisman, great nephew of John W. Heisman, draw on numerous media accounts as the basis for Heisman’s story. The result is a nostalgic look at a bygone era and the evolution of football through the life of one of its early innovators." (Publisher's Weekly)

“I didn’t get the chance to know Coach Heisman, but having an opportunity to win the award has allowed me to learn about him. Probably the first thing you learn about is his integrity and the way he conducted his life. I have been impressed with the men who have won this award and hope that I live up to the name Heisman as they do. It has been an honor to be a part of an award that stands for integrity and excellence!” (―Ty Detmer, Brigham Young University Heisman winner, 1990)

“My greatest honor has been to win the single greatest award in all of amateur sports—the Heisman Trophy. This trophy is named for one of the best college football coaches ever to pace the sidelines, John W. Heisman. As I am one of the few Heisman winners to become a coach, I consider it a huge privilege to represent the coaching profession and the Heisman Trophy.” (―Coach Steve Spurrier, University of Florida Heisman winner, 1966)

“I am honored to be the recipient of the 1969 Heisman Trophy, which is named after a true coaching legend. John Heisman was dedicated to the game of football and the athletes who played it with passion and integrity. He was a man of excellence, principles, and sportsmanship. This book is a tribute to his enduring legacy.” (―Steve Owens, University of Oklahoma Heisman winner, 1969)

“In this book we finally find out the history of John Heisman and why the most prestigious trophy in America is named in his honor.” (―Archie Griffin, Ohio State University Heisman winner, 1974 and 1975)

“Winning the Heisman Trophy was one of the most memorable events of my life. And to this day the December announcement of the winner captures the attention of the entire nation. Since 1935 the Heisman Trophy has been awarded to the most outstanding college football player in the country. Most people easily identify with the name Heisman because of the award but don’t know much about the history of the man it was named after. This book tells the story of the incredible life and accomplishments of the man and the coach John W. Heisman.” (―John Cappelletti, Pennsylvani a State University Heisman winner, 1973)

“When I won the Heisman Trophy in 1959, I didn’t know anything about John Heisman or the Heisman Trophy. I knew Heisman was involved with the Downtown Athletic Club of New York at one point in his career and had been an accomplished and successful college football coach. If it’s not the most important trophy in sports, it has become the most recognized trophy over time. When you’re playing football, you’re playing for the moment. To be recognized as the most outstanding player of an era was a wonderful experience. Looking back fifty years later, it was a wonderful experience to be recognized for your efforts and your team’s efforts. I can’t wait to learn more about John Heisman.” (―Billy Cannon, Louisiana State University Heisman winner, 1959)

“To be a member of the most prestigious fraternity in sports is a supreme honor. As a new name is added to the trophy each year, winning the Heisman becomes more important to each past winner. All of us are grateful to John W. Heisman; this book outlines the remarkable history of the man and the trophy that carries his name.” (―Joe Bellino, United States Naval Academy Heisman winner, 1960)

“I was born in the same year as the first award of the Heisman Memorial Trophy. Within that year, our first athletic director, John W. Heisman, passed away. In my position as athletic director at the Downtown Athletic Club, we annually met with and honored our nation’s best college football players. In 1971, I was fortunate to meet Coach Heisman’s family, William L. Heisman and his son, John, and became keenly aware of the great man’s reputation and some of his influential history. I am glad that Coach Heisman’s life story is now being told and I’m glad for the Heisman family that tells it.” (―Rudy Risk a, Executive Director Emeritus of the Heisman Memorial Trophy and coauthor of 40 Years at the Home of the Heisman)

“Leon never put a monetary value on the Heisman Trophy. He never felt comfortable trying to capitalize on receiving it. To him, that trophy represented the hard work of his teammates and his coaches. He felt there were a dozen guys on his 1949 team who were befitting of the honor. To him, the trophy stood for character,
perseverance, and integrity, and it marked him for the rest of his life. He felt an obligation and a reverence to the tradition of the Heisman. To never disgrace what it stood for. To bring honor to those who came before him and to those who would come after him. He lived his life with that heavy responsibility and he instilled those values in his children and grandchildren.” (―Kevin Hart, on behalf of Leon Hart, University of Notre Dame Heisman winner, 1949)

“Like many young boys, I dreamed of winning a Heisman Trophy. But I never once considered the impact it could have on one’s life. Now I can almost imagine one of us winning something like the Nobel Peace Prize and still getting introduced as a former Heisman Trophy winner. It’s an honor and a title that sticks, and it opens many doors in life. I pray I am a good steward of the platform I’ve received from winning this prestigious award. I can’t wait to learn more about John Heisman, the man behind the trophy.” (―Danny Wuerffel, University of Florida Heisman winner, 1996)

“The Heisman is arguably the most iconic trophy in all of sports, and certainly one of my life’s proudest achievements. As recognizable as the statue is, many do not know the storied history of the man it was named after, Coach John Heisman. This book explores the life of a legend.” (―Desmond Howard, University of Michigan Heisman winner, 1991)

“The Heisman Trophy and its winners are forever a part of the history and lure of college football. This book provides readers with an excellent examination of the life of John Heisman, the trophy’s namesake. After reading Heisman: The Man Behind the Trophy, you will know a lot more about the history of college football and learn why the Heisman Memorial Trophy is simply the greatest honor in all of American sports.” (―Gino Torretta, University of Miami Heisman winner, 1992)

“Winning the Heisman Trophy made me appreciate the importance of coaching and teamwork. You don’t win Heismans by yourself and you don’t win national championships by yourself; it’s always in conjunction with others that you make your greatest accomplishments and teamwork makes your dreams work! John W. Heisman taught us that success in athletics is more about finding a world-class coach and studying him like a scientist. It’s not about being brilliant or bright, it’s about surrounding yourself with the right people. It worked for me.” (―Johnny “The Jet” Rodgers, University of Nebr ask a Heisman winner, 1972)

About the Author

John M. Heisman is founder of Heisman Group, Ltd., a family-owned business established to preserve the legacy and memory of John W. Heisman and the development of American football. He lives in Toledo, Ohio, with his wife.

Mark Schlabach is the coauthor of the New York Times bestselling books, Happy, Happy, Happy, Si-cology 1, and The Duck Commander Family. He is one of the most respected and popular college football columnists in the country. He and his wife live in Madison, Georgia, with their three children.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Howard Books (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1451682913
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451682915
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #183,613 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R Rice on October 11, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I was reading this book at the time I heard the sentence being delivered to Jerry Sandusky. What a stark contrast to the character of another football coach just a hundred years earlier. One may be pleasantly surprised to learn of Coach Heisman's desire to encourage the whole of a man for his entire life, not just a player for a season. I am not even a big football fan, but I am a fan of John Heisman, both of them.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on October 17, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The book, Heisman: The Man Behind the Trophy, tells a compelling tale of the life and times of the legendary coach John Heisman. In detail only available through the painstaking research of the coach's grand-nephew (co-author John M. Heisman) we know aspects of Coach Heisman's life and ethos previously unknown outside the Heisman family. The richness of of Heisman's life in and out of football show why the Downtown Athletic Club chose the only name for their award that would epitomize both on-field success along with class and academic merit off the field. A fast read that has enough surprises and historical perspective to keep even those not addicted to college football reading on. A worthy addition to the historical record of early college football invention and innovation along with a snapshot of American culture in the early 20th century. Especially rich in detail of life in the Jim Crow South in those years. Coach Heisman's courage in facing down the racial animus of those times is a story that had to be told.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
So little has been told about one of the great innovative men in the history of sports, the legendary coach John W. Heisman. This book changes all that. It is packed with little-known inside stories about `the father of modern college football.'

Now we have a better idea of why those were the good old days-- as important as the sweeping changes he brought to the playing field were the moral virtues Coach Heisman instilled in his players.

An eye-opening must-read.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I love this book and would totally recommend it to any sports or college football fan. I was actually amazed how big of an impact Mr. Heisman had on the game. he was such a revolutionary coach he did things way before anyone else in the sport though of them. if your a fan of the game get this book you won't regret it. believe me. R.I.P. Mr. Heisman your impact will never be forgotten.
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John Heisman, his great nephew had a huge amount of Heisman's personal document, so this book contains information that you won't find else where. It is coauthor with Mark Schlabach a professional sport writer.
If Heisman had not gone to school in Titusville not being a true football fan I doubt if I would have read this book. I'm glad I did. He was a remarkable man.
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