2023 AWA Sports Winner
On the eve of World War II, Stewart Ferguson, a football coach from a tiny Arkansas agricultural college, decided the sport ought to played for fun. Under a bizarre contract that made no bones about whether they ever won a game, “Fergie” and his team of misfits piled into a rickety bus for a three-year barnstorming odyssey that would see the Wandering Weevils of Arkansas A & M befuddle their opponents with slapstick antics, become media and fan favorites, and earn the moniker “the Marx Brothers of Football.”
Born in Missouri and raised near Mitchell, South Dakota, this son of a stern Methodist minister was a larger-than-life personality with equally outsized opinions. Fergie left an indelible impression on generations of athletes, first in Louisiana, then at Dakota Wesleyan University and Arkansas A & M, and later as head coach at Deadwood High School, where he led the Bears to their first ever football conference championship.
In Football for Fun, authors Bill Bell and Peter Oltchick draw on rich sources, including Ferguson’s unpublished memoirs and interviews with former players and family, to bring this remarkable South Dakotan—and the often cutthroat world of high school and collegiate sports—to life.
|South Dakota Historical Society Press
|6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.10(d)
About the Author
Award-winning author Bill Bell (1931-2007) was born in Buffalo, New York and grew up in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. He began his lifelong career in journalism as sports editor of the Pine Bluff Commercial in 1953. After fourteen years with United Press International, he spend twenty-five years with the New York Daily News, serving as the religion editor and City Beat columnist. He was a longtime member and onetime president of the Dead-line club, the New York City chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists.
Award-winning author Peter Oltchick got his start in writing as sports editor for the oldest college weekly in America, The Colgate Maroon. He has written for the online magazine Suite 101 and is the author of a children's picture book, Clean Clara. He lives in New York City with his wife Amanda and children Zoe and Andrew.
What People are Saying About This
"Fergie, the football coach, is an All- American character. The book is a rollicking fun read."