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The inspiring true story of the tragic loss and triumphant resurrection of a basketball team and its coach at the heart of a small Indiana town.
By 1977 the University of Evansville’s Purple Aces basketball team had won five small-college national championships. With a charismatic young coach and a freshman phenom, this small Indiana city hoped to see its team shine in the national spotlight. Then, on a foggy night, after just four games, the plane carrying the team and its coach crashed after takeoff, killing everyone on board.
The tragedy seemed insurmountable, a devastating blow to the identity of a fading factory town. But, with the support of a city in mourning, ambitious new coach Dick Walters promised to rebuild the cherished institution. Assembling a team of castoffs, walk-ons, and overachievers, Walters restored the legacy of the team and its fans. Against all odds, his young men made history.
A tribute to those who were lost, and to those who carried on, We Will Rise is the rich and powerful story of an underdog team and its fans and the spirit of a resilient community.
A Note From the Publisher
“This story exemplifies the resilience of the American heartland, where God-fearing people bear unspeakable pain and tragedy with grace and depth most of us cannot comprehend. The heart of Evansville beats like a basketball on hardwood with every word. You can almost hear the squeaking of high-top sneakers on the floor, the ear-splitting chirp of whistles and the quiet, gut-wrenching sobs of those who grieve. We Will Rise joins the pantheon of great sports books for one simple reason: it has very little to do with sports.” —Steve Eubanks, New York Times bestselling author of All American: Two Young Men, the 2001 Army-Navy Game and the War They Fought in Iraq
“Riveting and very personal…Steven Beaven has written the last word on the tragic crash of the University of Evansville basketball team. More, though, he celebrates the rebirth rise of the program after the devastating events of that winter day in 1977. A must read.” —Bob Kravitz, senior staff writer for The Athletic and former columnist for The Indianapolis Star
“We Will Rise is an ode to spirit, to hope, to somehow carrying on after the greatest of heartbreaks. Steve Beaven’s masterful work is a true must read.” —Jeff Pearlman, New York Times bestselling author and former senior writer for Sports Illustrated
“Growing up in Indiana, I heard the stories about the crash that destroyed the young team at the heart of We Will Rise. But I learned so much more reading this book. Steve Beaven honors the players and coaches who lost their lives and tells the stories of their families trying to move forward in the face of unthinkable grief. Here is the best of what sports can mean to a community.” —Brad Stevens, head coach of the Boston Celtics