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Another Season: A Coach's Story of Raising an Exceptional Son Paperback – October 7, 2009

4.7 out of 5 stars 43 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Stallings made the University of Alabama football team one of the nation's best, but far more significant is the love and support he has given his son Johnny, born in 1962 with Down syndrome and now a thriving member of the Stallings family.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Kirkus Reviews

Famed football coach Stallings, aided by journalist Cook, combines a short history of his tough professional career with the affectionate story of his son, Johnny, who is burdened with Down's syndrome. In a simply told tale, Stallings, who carries the honorific ``Coach'' proudly, chronicles his accomplishments on the gridiron with great modesty. He has, clearly, more pride in the attainments of Johnny, who, now in his 30s, has come to his own kind of manhood with the innocence and sweetness that seem characteristic badges of Down's syndrome. More a homespun family memoir than a jock's saga, this volume neglects neither homage to Coach's hero and mentor, the fabled ``Bear'' Bryant, nor details of his own hirings and firings, from Texas A&M to the Cowboys and, finally, as heir to the ``Bear'' at the University of Alabama. Inevitably, the scoreboards told Coach Stallings's fortune. Known as ``Bebes'' to intimates, he yearned for a son, stalwart, smart, and strapping, maybe an all- star linebacker. ``A football coach needs a son who will play football,'' he would hear his wife say. Instead, they had three girls and Johnny, disabled and frail. Withal, Bebes and his wife came to terms with their melancholy and fears. The family and those close to them took Johnny to their hearts. With his winning personality, he became a favorite of his father's players and staff and, eventually, the fans. And Coach Bebes, seeking gridiron glory and often finding it, seems to have found something better through his exceptional son. It's an artless story, told quite prosaically. But while clearly deeply felt, it never quite catches fire. A nice book by a nice man, nothing more; but nothing less, either, and that should not be easily dismissed. (8 pages b&w photos, not seen) (TV and radio satellite tours) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Back Bay Books; Reprint edition (October 7, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316056529
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316056526
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #819,515 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Gene Stallings is a man's man. A father's father. He was, and still is, a great coach, husband, and teacher. Yet he has a tender compassion not always seen in men of his calling. He owes much of that part of him to his son and he knows it. He has taken the sorrow and pain his family bore and turned it into an story of amazing hard work, courage, and love. This book should be one of the first things read by a couple faced with the reality of a Down Syndrome baby. Coach Stallings shows us there is life after DS, and it can be very good, indeed,it can be wonderful.
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Format: Hardcover
As a parent of a young boy with Down Syndrome I very much enjoyed this book and recomend it to any new parent. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it opened my eyes to see how far the world has come with accepting people with disabilities. And just to know that there are parents before me who struggled with their child just as I struggle with mine and they too learned to live in a whole new world. And celebrated every little accomplishment just as we do with our son.
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Format: Paperback
I received this book unexpectedly after making a donation to my alma mater, from which Coach Stallings' daughters also graduated. Until then, I didn't even know the story had been written. The book fascinated me from many angles -- as a teacher, as the sister of someone born with a congenital handicap (whose parents were likewise advised to put him in an institution), as a reader of this genre of literature, and most of all, as someone who as a kid knew and adored John Mark Stallings.
Many have commented on the way the author plainly tells his early disappointments, fears, and frustrations at having his only son be born with such apparent limitations. I, too, initially felt uncomfortable. However, I came to admire Mr. Stallings' willingness to expose to scorn the ideas that he had back in the 1960s and 70s, ideas that over the course of the book he does slowly show to have been mistaken. By the end of the book it is clear he realizes that people born with Down syndrome are far more capable and have a more meaningful life than was dreamed of at the time John Mark was born. The narrative also puts into perspective the origins of those ideas.
The end result is an honest portrait by an unfailingly honest man, and the book shows the strong and loving relationship between Johnny and his father today.
-- Andrea
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Format: Hardcover
I read this book with great interest. It is an indelible portrait of a man from another time whose struggles are very relevant to our own day. Gene Stallings is an admirable person dealing with a special needs child at a time when there was much less information to guide him. Not particularly self-reflective, he is nonetheless highly sympathetic. Sally Cook does an excellent job of telling his story. As a long-time college football fan, I found it interesting to see the deep roots of the sport in the South and the passionate emotions it elicited--long before it became the behemoth industry it is today. Another interesting point is the support Stalling and his family got from conservative, religious people in their community whom I daresay I would disagree with on many issues--a useful reminder that liberals don't have a monopoly on compassion and tolerance. Strongly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This is simply a must read for any fan of college sports. This book helps remind us that there are a few coaches that care about there players lives and futures. This was a touching story that shares how a scrawny, hard-working kid became a good football player for a great coach (Bear Bryant). He then shares how Bear helped mold his life as a coach and person and how it helped him raise a son with Down Syndrome and coach Alabama to a national title.
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Format: Paperback
When I was a student at the University of Alabama in 1991-1992 I attended a church that had an adopt-a-student program for individuals like me whose parents didn't live in Tuscaloosa. I signed up for the program and was fortunate enough to be paired up with Coach Stallings and Mrs. Ruth Ann. They would take me to their home on Sundays, feed me and let me hang out before driving me back to my dorm. During these visits I got to know them and Johnny. It made for great memories but at the time didn't realize the impact it would have on me one day.

Years later in 2005, my unborn son was diagnosed in utero missing the back of his brain; a condition called Dandy-Walker Syndrome. We could find no information on the prognosis though the medical professionals told us to expect a grim outcome if he survived to birth.

One of the first calls I received was from Coach Stalling who had somehow heard about the news through church connections. He was retired from football living in Texas and I was living in Maryland. His words from a parent raising a son with special needs to me as a father-to-be about to raise a son with special needs were encouraging, reassuring and just what I needed to hear to get over my own self-absorbed fears and focus on my wife's and son's needs.

There needs to be more books about raising children with disabilities like Dandy-Walker Syndrome and would love to be in touch with others who might be interested in working with you on such a book.

eric.cole@dandy-walker.org
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