“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
“Vibrant look into Notre Dame's 1988 season . . . Everything came togethera process that veteran sports journalist Barca covers with gusto.” Publishers Weekly
“[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
“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 championshipand all the work we put into itis 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
“Lush, loving detail . . . An old-fashioned underdog story.” Montclair Times
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.)
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.
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.