- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: KCI Sports Publishing (August 26, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1940056314
- ISBN-13: 978-1940056319
- Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 71 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #399,682 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Animal Keepers - The Story of an Unlikely Hero and an Unforgettable Season Hardcover – August 26, 2015
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"Few books have captured the spirit of cross country running; fewer still have the capacity to move you long after the story has finished its run. Donn Behnke's The Animal Keepers makes good on both counts, and is as timely as it is timeless. It's destined for a good long run." --Chris Lear, author of Running With The Buffaloes
"If you want to learn the real meaning of the word 'team,' buy this book. You'll see what running can teach about life." --Coach Roy Benson, Director Emeritus of NIKE Smoky Mt. and Green Mt. Running Camps
The Animal Keepers is a triumph ... Behnke's prose is straightforward and the book is full of quality details, a testament to Behnke's memory and ability to weave those descriptions in seamlessly. When you find (a story) told as beautifully as this one, you hold on to it. --Jonathan Gault, LetsRun.com
About the Author
Donn Behnke has been the head coach cross country at Stevens Point Area Senior High for 38 seasons. His teams have earned state titles in 1980, 1981, 1983, 1985, 1994, 1997, 1998, 2003, 2008, and 2013 with runner-up finishes in 1982, 1984, 1990, 2001, 2006, 2007, and 2014. This record ties the program for the most state titles in the modern era of Wisconsin High School Cross Country. Donn has also coached 6 individual state champions, two of them, Keith Hanson and Chris Solinsky, went on to become NCAA Division I national champions. Donn has been named Wisconsin cross country coach of the year on 9 occasions and in 2001 the National High School Coaches Association awarded him National Coach of the Year honors.
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The story is very well told and moves along at a good pace. Told from the eyes of the coach, it outlines the journey of a high school cross country team with limited expectations, but lots of heart. The focus of the story is on one special needs student who not only becomes part of the team, but becomes an inspirational role model for all involved. This book will keep you wanting more and tug at your heartstrings all the way through.
The end provides a great re-cap of where and what all of the characters have been doing since that 1985 season. It is not only touching, but proof of the impact a coach can have on kids. While you might expect this group to be life-time runners (and they appear to be), you also see how many of them coach or teach today--a true testament to what being an inspirational coach and educator can do.
This book is being sent to a number of my coaching friends for Christmas!!