Unbeatable: Notre Dame's 1988 Championship and the Last Great College Football Season [NOOK Book]

Overview


Perhaps the best undefeated team in the history of college football—the dramatic true story of the 1988 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and their incredible unbeaten season

Unbeatable is the first book to tell the complete story of the incredible 1988 season that brought the fledgling Fighting Irish back to the top of college sports in what many consider to be the greatest unbeaten season of ...

See more details below
Unbeatable: Notre Dame's 1988 Championship and the Last Great College Football Season

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$12.99
BN.com price

Overview


Perhaps the best undefeated team in the history of college football—the dramatic true story of the 1988 Notre Dame Fighting Irish and their incredible unbeaten season

Unbeatable is the first book to tell the complete story of the incredible 1988 season that brought the fledgling Fighting Irish back to the top of college sports in what many consider to be the greatest unbeaten season of college football ever played. With a completely unlikely but forever memorable cast of characters—including the slight, lisping coach Lou Holtz; the star quarterback, Tony Rice; five foot nothing Asian kicker, Reggie Ho; NFL-bound Ricky Watters; and a crazed and ferocious defensive line, among others—Notre Dame whipped millions of fans into a frenzy. This roller coaster season of football includes the infamous Catholics vs. Convicts game (Notre Dame vs. Jimmy Johnson's #1 ranked Miami Hurricanes). The two teams were undefeated when they met at Notre Dame Stadium, with the Irish winning in the final seconds by a final score of 31-30.

With original reporting and interviews with everyone from the players to the coaches, detailed research, and access to the Notre Dame archives, Jerry Barca tells a gripping story of an unbelievable season and the players who would become legends. More than a Notre Dame book, Unbeatable is a compelling narrative of one of the most incredible sports stories of the last century—the unlikely tale of an underdog team coming together and making history.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Notre Dame has as rich a history as any team in college football as well as a nationwide following of both fans and detractors. The last Fighting Irish national championship team was filled with great players and characters, including Ricky Watters, Tony Rice, and Chris Zorich, and was coached by the personable and quotable Lou Holtz. In that 1988 season, Notre Dame beat four top-ranked teams: Michigan, USC, West Virginia, and, in the famous belligerent "Catholics vs. Convicts" showdown, the University of Miami. The story of that season and those personalities is recounted here by journalist and Notre Dame alum Barca in a professionally executed narrative based on extensive interviews and research. VERDICT College football fans will enjoy the breadth and pace of this fully told tale.
Publishers Weekly
Barca begins his vibrant look into Notre Dame’s 1988 season with Lou Holtz, who took over after the Fighting Irish after suffering four inglorious years under Gerry Faust. Everyone was hungering for a return to glory, including Holtz, a winner who preached repetition and toughness: “I’m here to win football games for the University of Notre Dame,” Holtz told his players at one point. “Not some of our games and not most of our games; I’m here to win all of our games.” In season three, everything came together—a process that veteran sports journalist Barca (a 1999 Notre Dame graduate) covers with gusto. In talking to the key figures of that championship team—including Holtz, defensive coordinator Barry Alvarez, and many players—Barca reveals the players’ emotional mind-set and the lure of Notre Dame (the latter sometimes gets lost in the football program’s powerhouse trappings). In short, Barca celebrates the fun of college, while stripping Notre Dame football of its rah-rah mysticism. 16-page color photograph insert. Agent: Scott Gould, RLR Literary. (Aug.)
From the Publisher
"I spent time with Jerry Barca, talking in-depth about that terrific 1988 season and my time as a coach at Notre Dame. He captures all the hard work and excitement of that thrilling championship season in Unbeatable. This book also does a terrific job detailing the characters and the occasions that made our run to a national championship possible."

—Coach Lou Holtz

"In 1988, Notre Dame had one of the greatest seasons in college football history and Unbeatable captures all of it. Jerry Barca has crafted a story that takes you from a downtrodden Fighting Irish program to its rebirth and crowning achievement. You can't help but come away inspired by the masterful coaching and motivational style of Lou Holtz and entertained by the insider details of how a disparate group of characters came together to win a championship."

—Verne Lundquist, CBS Sports

"An enduring team deserves a timeless story, and that's what's delivered in UNBEATABLE. Jerry Barca takes you inside the locker room, the dorm room, and the mind of Lou Holtz for a rich portrayal of one of college football's most memorable champions.”

—Peter Thamel, Sports Illustrated

"For all of us on the team that season, 1988 was a special year. Jerry Barca does a terrific job recreating the excitement and emotions that were a part of that experience. The run to the national championship—and all the work we put into it—is truly brought to life in this book."

—Tony Rice, Notre Dame quarterback

"This book will appeal to any Notre Dame fan, not just the die-hards because it provides so much detail into how such a tradition-rich program was rebuilt."

—Bruce Feldman, bestselling author, CBS Sports

[Barca] captures the unusual drive and holistic approach of Holtz; the intense recruitment of players; and the on-the-field performances of such players as star quarterback Tony Rice, running back Ricky Watters, and "Three Amigos" linebackers Wes Pritchett, Michael Stonebreaker and Frank Stams."

Kirkus

 

"The year was 1988. George H.W. Bush won the presidential election. PanAm flight 103 was blown up over Lockerbie, Scotland. And Notre Dame was the king of college football. That Notre Dame family is brought to life beautifully in Unbeatable." 

New York Post

"College football fans will enjoy the breadth and pace of this fully told tale." 

Library Journal

"Lush, loving detail . . . An old-fashioned underdog story." 

Montclair Times

Kirkus Reviews
The inside account of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish's 1988 championship team, which would "give birth to legends [and] restore the school's stature in the game." Freelance journalist (and Notre Dame graduate) Barca tells the story of one of the best undefeated teams in the history of college football. Led by 5-foot-8-inch taskmaster coach Lou Holtz ("Have you challenged yourself today?...Are you the person you want to be?"), who demanded discipline, intensive workouts and teamwork--he had the names removed from the backs of the players' jerseys to downplay individuals--the team restored the glory days of Notre Dame football in the tradition of Knute Rockne, the Four Horsemen and others who garnered multiple national championships in the preceding decades. Holtz so captivated quarterback Rice's grandmother during a recruiting visit to her apartment in a public housing project that she later remarked, "You're going to follow that little man." He "taught us how to win football games," said one player, who felt renewed confidence under the coach. Drawing on interviews and research, the author serviceably captures the unusual drive and holistic approach of Holtz; the intense recruitment of players; and the on-the-field performances of such players as star quarterback Tony Rice, running back Ricky Watters, and "Three Amigos" linebackers Wes Pritchett, Michael Stonebreaker and Frank Stams. He recounts several well-remembered games, notably the landmark 31-30 upset of top-ranked rival Miami, ending their 36-game winning streak. Barca attributes the team's successes to Holtz, who preached his faith in the university's spirit, and to the outstanding play of the quarterback and defensive line. A mostly pedestrian sports book that will appeal to Notre Dame's legions of fans.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250024848
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/13/2013
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 170,835
  • File size: 9 MB

Meet the Author


JERRY BARCA graduated from Notre Dame in 1999. While on campus he worked in the athletic department. He's currently a journalist whose writing has appeared on SI.com and in the Star-Ledger, Asbury Park Press, Home News Tribune, Syracuse Post-Standard, Herald News, the Courier-Post, and numerous Notre Dame game programs. He can be heard talking sports on Sirius/XM’s Ron and Fez Show. He lives in New Jersey.

Read More Show Less

Read an Excerpt


CHAPTER 1
Unflinching

 
There is an appointed time for everything,
and a time for every affair under the heavens …
A time to love, and a time to hate;
A time of war, and a time of peace.
—Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8
Shrieks and frenzied screams ricocheted off the locker room walls in a cacophony of rage and excitement. Tears rolled down some of the young men’s faces, an uncontrolled emotional response after launching into battle.
The days of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish playing the role of the nice weakling had ended.
Leaving the field after pregame warm-ups, the Miami Hurricanes chose to go through a line of Notre Dame players, rather than go around them. Miami met an unflinching Irish squad.
The Hurricanes, the No. 1 team in the country and the best program of the era, had been the chief tormentor of the Irish in recent years. In the schools’ previous two meetings Miami humbled Notre Dame by a total score of 82–7. Flashy on-field celebrations deepened the embarrassment doled out by the ’Canes.
Now Miami had traveled to Notre Dame Stadium, and the showy, bullying antics would not be tolerated. When the ’Canes breached the Notre Dame warm-up line, a fight exploded on the ground separating the end zone and the stadium’s lone tunnel.
“It was a melee. It wasn’t like guys fighting in a bar where they want someone to break it up. We did not care if someone broke it up. We wanted to take them there,” Notre Dame starting strong safety George Streeter said years later. “Quite frankly, for me, I wasn’t paying attention to the score. I wanted to win the fight.”
Stadium security and law enforcement officers stepped in to end it.
Both teams withdrew to their locker rooms.
Fifth-year senior Wes Pritchett, the middle linebacker who called the plays in the Irish defensive huddle, threw his helmet across the room.
Spit flew from Frank Stams’s mouth as the outside linebacker pumped up the defense that had gathered around him.
Blood rushed to the hands of quarterback Tony Rice, who had just been throwing punches in the clash.
Joe Moore, Notre Dame’s grizzled offensive line coach, who had graduated summa cum laude from football’s old school, cracked a green slate chalkboard with a kick.
“The whole thing put me in a fighting mood,” said Andy Heck, a quiet team captain and the starting offensive tackle.
The room grew quiet when head coach Lou Holtz addressed the team. The words that came out of his mouth were unexpected, a character departure, and they recharged the enraged atmosphere that had been subdued by his presence.
The skirmish with Miami made the statement that Notre Dame would no longer be pushed around. At the time, the Fighting Irish had not even reached the midpoint of the season.
By the end of the 1988 campaign, this Notre Dame squad would leave a path of battered All-American quarterbacks in its wake, give birth to legends, restore the school’s stature in the game, win a national title, and accomplish something no other team in the history of college football has done.

 
Copyright © 2013 by Jerry Barca

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Chapter 1: Unflinching
Chapter 2: The Ashes
Chapter 3: In Lou We Trust
Chapter 4: Waking Up the Roster
Chapter 5: The Quarterback
Chapter 6: Readying for the Rise
Chapter 7: Demanding Perfection
Chapter 8: New School Athlete, Old School Football and the Asian Kicker
Chapter 9: Freaks
Chapter 10: Throwing Darts
Chapter 11: The Triple Fumble
Chapter 12: Prelude to a Brawl
Chapter 13: Catholic vs. Convicts
Chapter 14: Weekday Wars & Visualization
Chapter 15: Backers & Zorro
Chapter 16: TV Revolution & The Renegade Bowl
Chapter 17: Suspensions & Hollywood Underdogs
Chapter 18: Carrying Them Off
Epilogue
Author’s Note
Acknowledgments
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 8 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(7)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. At first, I exp

    I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. At first, I expected something filled with the over-the-top stuff of Notre Dame "legend," but I heard the author on a radio interview on ESPN and decided to pick it up. When I finished it, I was left with a clear picture of late 1980s college football. It is a nostalgic read, but it is also one that sets the table for today's squabbles and issues about TV money, the questionable approaches of the NCAA and the shifting tides of major college football programs. Of course, all that history is in the background of a book about a season, a coach rebuilding an organization, a season, and the captivating characters on a team that won it all. The behind-the-scenes football strategy is great and at the same time doesn't overpower the enjoyable takes on players and coaches. The other positive is the lessons in leadership you can take away from this. But overall, I was happy the book leaves you with performance and action being the reason Notre Dame won as opposed to some mythical-magical divine right. A great read for organization-minded team leaders, general college football fans willing to read about Notre Dame and every fan of the Fighting Irish.  

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 9, 2013

    Just finished the book this weekend (autographed by Tony Rice, C

    Just finished the book this weekend (autographed by Tony Rice, Chris Zorich, Mark Green, Tim Ryan, and Pat Terrell). A great read that captures the leadership of Lou Holtz, the sacrifices of  the college players, and stories I've never heard before. Barca does a great job.  A MUST for any college football fan and ND fan.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2013

    Jerry Barca is a clever and witty enough sportswriter to compete

    Jerry Barca is a clever and witty enough sportswriter to competently spin a yarn for those college football fans with XM radio and enough time to kill. However, the "Rah Rah, Go Irish" hagiography and ESPN-esque manure piling might grow a tiresome read for those who haven't braved the bitter sub-zero, lake-swept South Bend cold to sit in the cheap seats and cheer on their beloved Irish. The Notre Dame football program fielded in 1988 was indeed a storied and memorable one for the ages without Barca's liberal embellishments. However, the controversy enveloping their 'Catholic v. Convicts' win over an obviously superior University of Miami football program renders theirs' a paper victory and discredits the central thesis of this book; that of the '88 Irish being the greatest undefeated college team ever. Reasonable and knowledgeable college football fans will point out that the 1956 Oklahoma Sooners were more dominant and the 1972 USC Trojans were more talented. The 1995 Nebraska Cornhuskers and the 2001 University of Miami Hurricanes also come to mind as greater unbeaten teams. Nevertheless, if you bleed blue and gold, this book is a must-have. However, for the remaining 99% of the country: it's a fine read fit for a trans-continental flight.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 14, 2013

    Awesome Book!! regardless if you're a Notre Dame fan or not,...

    Awesome Book!! regardless if you're a Notre Dame fan or not,... i'm proud to say i am... a must read!!  i remember the 1988 season very well, Jerry Barca !!  well done

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 23, 2014

    I lived this book. I was a 3rd year law student in the fall of 1

    I lived this book. I was a 3rd year law student in the fall of 1988. I'm what's called a Double Domer. I got my undergraduate degree in 1986. I was there throught the Gerry Faust years, which weren't all that great. Then Lou Holtz came in, and turned everything around. That's what this book documents. I was familiar with the story, but it was nice to hear the retelling. The book describes the down years, and then the comeback. I always wonder, if overtime had been around in 1988, would Miami have just tried for the extra point and taken their chances in overtime? Who knows? And yes, I was there for the Miami game when Pat Terrell batted down the 2 point try at the end of the Miami game, which helped propel Notre Dame to the national championship in 1988. This book goes through all the games, and describes some of them in detail, including Michigan, Miami, and USC. Sadly, this was Notre Dame's last national championship. We came close in 2012, but we can be back soon. Great book for any Irish fan, as well as anyone who wants to know about the last great college football season. Go Irish!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2013

    a must read for any notre dame football fan

    I bought this as a gift and the person absolutely loved it. They read it the same night they received as a gift ... All in one sitting. They couldn't put it down. In fact they are purchasing the books for several friends.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 27, 2013

    First rate

    I am not a Notre Dame football fan, just a fan of college football history. Unbeatable is a very well documented walk down Nostalgic Lane on the 25th anniversary of this program's last National Championship. Barca's background stories on each of the primary participants in the story are well above average, insightful, engaging and factually correct. This is an easy read and this is not your usual biased "homer" historical account. Its always nice to turn the clock back to an entirely different era of college football. Lou Holtz and Barry Alvarez were excellently portrayed, although I wish we could have gotten even more from them and ND recruiter extraordinaire, Vinny Cerrato.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)