From Publishers Weekly
Northwestern's football team did not have a winning season between 1971 and 1995. This prolonged losing streak and its accompanying sense of inevitable failure were the greatest obstacles Barnett encountered when he became head coach in 1992, for many players on the squad had no hopes of victory. Barnett, who had made his mark in high school and college ball in Colorado, turned the program around through astute recruiting and inspired motivating. And in 1995, his Wildcats became champions of the Big Ten and played in the Rose Bowl. Assisted by St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Gregorian, Barnett reviews his years in Evanston with emphasis on the varied techniques he used to inspire his athletes, providing an upbeat tale of Cinderella come to the gridiron. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
The Northwestern University football team won only 46 games in 253 tries between 1971 and the start of the 1995 season. Yet last year, that same hapless Northwestern went 10^-1 before losing to USC in the Rose Bowl. In this very entertaining account, head coach Gary Barnett takes us inside the program he resurrected in just four years. Struggling against an apathetic student body, a less-than-understanding administration, unrelenting academic standards, and players who had come to expect losing, he set in place a foundation of physical skill bolstered by confidence. Meanwhile, he vigorously recruited players who would have otherwise gone to Duke or Stanford. That process is described here in fascinating detail, along with some perceptive thoughts on the nature of leadership. Barnett's teams won't all win the Big Ten championship, but he's accomplished the near impossible by making them competitive. This is an excellent case study of how a savvy leader can reverse an organization's negative view of itself. Wes Lukowsky