We Will Rise
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.

We Will Rise Details

TitleWe Will Rise
Author
ReleaseJan 1st, 2020
PublisherLittle A
ISBN-139781503942202
Rating
GenreNonfiction, Sports, Basketball, Biography, History

We Will Rise Review

  • Lance
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent book on a sports tragedyOn December 13,1977 a plane crash near Evansville, Indiana killed all on board, including the players,coaches and managers of the Evansville University basketball team. The grieving by the school and city as well as their recovery from this tragedy is the topic of this excellent book by Evansville native Steve Beaven.He uses his first hand knowledge of the town and the Purple Aces history, along with information from over 150 interviews and many other stories to Excellent book on a sports tragedyOn December 13,1977 a plane crash near Evansville, Indiana killed all on board, including the players,coaches and managers of the Evansville University basketball team. The grieving by the school and city as well as their recovery from this tragedy is the topic of this excellent book by Evansville native Steve Beaven.He uses his first hand knowledge of the town and the Purple Aces history, along with information from over 150 interviews and many other stories to paint an excellent picture of the basketball program. From legendary coach Arad McCutcheon, who won multiple Division II titles in Evansville to the heartbreaking loss in the 1982 NCAA tourney to Marquette, Beavan's account reads like a history lesson of Evansville University basketball. The most interesting part of this information is the six day coaching stint (no games,.practices, or recruiting) by Jerry Sloan, who abruptly resigned after making his alma mater excited about their most famous player coming to coach. Don't feel.sorry for Sloan...he ended up with a long and successful career coaching in the NBA, most notably for the Utah Jazz more than 20 years.Of course, in the middle.of all this basketball history is the terrible night of December 13, 1977. Here, Beavan describes the night of the crash with great detail, especially with the delayed takeoff and resulting errors that led to the fatal.crash and the doctor who heard the crash, ran out of his house and tried to help any survivors. The reader will also know something about !many of the young men on the plane, such as prize recruit Mike Hoff and Kevin Kingston. Even the only player not on the plane, David Furr, couldn't escape tragedy as he and his younger brother were killed in a car crash two weeks after David's teammates perished.But this somber story is not the mood for the book, nor the school or its basketball team. There is great detail in how the Purple Aces, under coach Dock Walters, hired to replace the popular Bobby Watson after the crash, built the team.back to its winning just three years after the crash. While Meagan also is able to write about some of the surviving family members of the players and how they mourned, soles and moved on, their stories are not as.prominent in the book after the crash as the basketball is and that is the only minor flaw, in my opinion, in an otherwise very uplifting book. Fans of the story of the Marshall football team rebuilding after a plane crash, told in the movie "We Are Marshall", will enjoy this similar tale of tragedy and resurrection after a very dark period. Especially recommended for college basketball fans who recall that tragic day.
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  • Richard Propes
    January 1, 1970
    I eagerly anticipated reading Steve Beaven's "We Will Rise: A True Story of Tragedy and Resurrection in the American Heartland," a book that remembers the December 13, 1977 plane crash that took the lives of the entire University of Evansville basketball team along with coaches, boosters, and everyone else on the plane. In fact, the lone player to not be on that plane would actually die a mere two weeks later in a car crash. It was and remains a tragedy that has a permanent place in the Indiana I eagerly anticipated reading Steve Beaven's "We Will Rise: A True Story of Tragedy and Resurrection in the American Heartland," a book that remembers the December 13, 1977 plane crash that took the lives of the entire University of Evansville basketball team along with coaches, boosters, and everyone else on the plane. In fact, the lone player to not be on that plane would actually die a mere two weeks later in a car crash. It was and remains a tragedy that has a permanent place in the Indiana consciousness, especially for those of us, myself included, who had any connection at all to that particular basketball team. While I did not have a direct connection to the tragedy, my indirect connection was strong as I was in the same class as UE basketball player Mark Siegel. Additionally, Siegel's father, Ed Siegel, was a beloved Pike High School teacher and basketball coach. I would graduate from Pike in 1983. As was true for most Pike students, we felt this tragedy in our bones. Beaven's book is a competent, though often quite scattered, account of the tragedy though the book devotes surprisingly little time to the tragedy itself. A good amount of the early part of the book is devoted to the years leading up to the tragedy, while Beaven does serve up quite a bit of information about the Dick Walters years that followed and began, I believe, in late 1978. In terms of the tragedy itself, it seems like Beaven did what most sportsbooks do - he devoted most of the material to the team's stars while offering very little information about the bit players. There's a sliver of a chapter about Mark Siegel, mostly an accurate accounting of the impact on Mark's death on his father. However, it's a surprisingly abrupt chapter lacking anything resembling nuance. I also found Beaven's back-and-forth approach to the stories distracting. "We Will Rise" often lacks a cohesiveness that allows you to emotionally invest in a story that absolutely should lead to your emotional investment. While the direct chapters around the plane crash are involving, most of the closing chapters aren't much more than your usual sports reporting. At times, it actually feels rather disrespectful. I wanted to truly love "We Will Rise," but I simply had trouble engaging with the book and can't help but feel like it's a missed opportunity to create a truly gripping tale of a tremendous tragedy that many people don't even know about or know very little about. Beaven has crafted a competent account, but it's a disappointingly uneven one that never quite connects as much as it should.
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  • Wendy
    January 1, 1970
    To be honest I did not read this entire book. I relegated it to my "will-not-be-finishing-this-one" bookshelf. Way too many details on every coach, player, anyone involved with a coach or player (family & friends) for me to stay interested. Sports nuts interested in decades old high school basketball in a small town will love this!
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  • William Gary Narron
    January 1, 1970
    Boring and meaningless It reads like an infinite number of old newspaper stories. No human interest, no story line, no emotion, no passion. The author seems not to care why should I.
  • Steve Eubanks
    January 1, 1970
    As exceptional story of a college and community overcoming devastation and rebuilding a basketball program that was the heart of the town. Beaven lets the story unfold in all its heartache and triumph without any unnecessary theatrics.
  • Jill
    January 1, 1970
    On December 13, 1977, the entire University of Evansville basketball team, their coaching staff, and radio announcer were killed in a plane crash while en route to a game. This novel introduces the players and coaches and explains how they each ended up at UE and how their families, and the town, rebuilt the basketball program after their tragic deaths.The story is a little scattered, with narratives bouncing between various families, geographies and points of view....but as a lover of NCAA On December 13, 1977, the entire University of Evansville basketball team, their coaching staff, and radio announcer were killed in a plane crash while en route to a game. This novel introduces the players and coaches and explains how they each ended up at UE and how their families, and the town, rebuilt the basketball program after their tragic deaths.The story is a little scattered, with narratives bouncing between various families, geographies and points of view....but as a lover of NCAA basketball, I enjoyed learning about the college and university (now Division I and II) competitions, the start of ESPN and March Madness, and references to Jerry Sloan, Bob Knight, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and others. Interesting and tragic story.Favorite quote (describing the UE student section):They are kids, eighteen, nineteen, twenty years old, full of unreasonable expectations, most born and raised within an hour or two of campus. They’ve been sheltered. They’re too young for cynicism. They’ve never been laid off or divorced. They don’t yet understand the disappointments of middle age, and that’s a blessing for them, because they can lose themselves in this night, they can stand and bellow at the screen until the final buzzer sounds and their throats are red and raw.
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  • Trevor W.
    January 1, 1970
    Well-Written and Compelling Story (Finished a Few Months Too Soon)No doubt the author wishes he could end the book with hometown son / new coach Walter McCarty taking the Aces into hallowed Rupp Arena against then-number-one-ranked Kentucky and winning in late 2019. I'm a basketball guy, and learned to hate Evansville in the early 90s when they were the conference hegemon who perennially seemed to end my Butler Bulldogs' season and steal the conference's NCAA bid. Damn you, Parrish Casebier! But Well-Written and Compelling Story (Finished a Few Months Too Soon)No doubt the author wishes he could end the book with hometown son / new coach Walter McCarty taking the Aces into hallowed Rupp Arena against then-number-one-ranked Kentucky and winning in late 2019. I'm a basketball guy, and learned to hate Evansville in the early 90s when they were the conference hegemon who perennially seemed to end my Butler Bulldogs' season and steal the conference's NCAA bid. Damn you, Parrish Casebier! But I knew nothing about the Evansville program's longer history and found the narrative compelling and generally well-told -- if a little choppy in a couple of places, most notably the token nod to race issues, where the background explication didn't completely meld with the book's broader resurrection theme. Some interesting threads, including the understandable bad-blood and disenchantment on the part of certain surviving family members, also seemed like dead ends disconnected from the broader storylines. But those are nit picks. This was a quick, engaging, and rewarding read.
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  • Tracy
    January 1, 1970
    Well written; details the impact of a tragedy on a communityI was a 15 year old southern Indiana teen when the crash happened. I remember crying when I heard the news. This is a factual account of the meaning of basketball on small town Indiana. The story of a communitys grief and the struggles to move forward. If you're expecting a happily ever after due to a single hero, this isn't it. Mr Beaven does a nice job of telling the history of the town so the reader understands how something like Well written; details the impact of a tragedy on a communityI was a 15 year old southern Indiana teen when the crash happened. I remember crying when I heard the news. This is a factual account of the meaning of basketball on small town Indiana. The story of a communitys grief and the struggles to move forward. If you're expecting a happily ever after due to a single hero, this isn't it. Mr Beaven does a nice job of telling the history of the town so the reader understands how something like basketball can have an impact. He also tells enough about the players and staff of the '77 team so that we remember these were people and not characters in a play. One is able to understand some of the difficulties there must have been in trying to rebuild a basketball program without being disrespectful to the memory of those lost. I probably cried more reading his account of the crash than I did 42 years ago.
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  • Rusty Mason
    January 1, 1970
    Well done Steve Beaven. As a 9-year old boy on December 13, 1977, I remember that night vividly. My mother and I ran out our front door after hearing sirens blaring some 4+ miles in the distance, wondering what was going on. We went back inside and my mom turned on the tv to see a tearful David James choking out the horrific news. Having attended Aces games with my parents prior to that fateful night, I was overcome with sadness.This book brought back so many memories of those magical and Well done Steve Beaven. As a 9-year old boy on December 13, 1977, I remember that night vividly. My mother and I ran out our front door after hearing sirens blaring some 4+ miles in the distance, wondering what was going on. We went back inside and my mom turned on the tv to see a tearful David James choking out the horrific news. Having attended Aces games with my parents prior to that fateful night, I was overcome with sadness.This book brought back so many memories of those magical and emotional years following the crash, especially when the team made their run to the NCAA Tournament.This book couldn’t have been easy to write, but I’m grateful it was. I recommend it to anyone who has spent anytime in Evansville...whether a sports fan or not.
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  • Joanne
    January 1, 1970
    This book is about a small midwest college town with a big basketball tradition that lost its entire team and coaches in an airplane crash in 1977. Yes, a very "We Are Marshall" situation. Normally I enjoy this type of nonfiction book, but this one is extremely basketball minutia heavy, with a seeming cast of thousands. One reads about the details of both players' and coaches' high school sports careers, about coaches and players prior to and after the doomed Purple Aces, and even a few local This book is about a small midwest college town with a big basketball tradition that lost its entire team and coaches in an airplane crash in 1977. Yes, a very "We Are Marshall" situation. Normally I enjoy this type of nonfiction book, but this one is extremely basketball minutia heavy, with a seeming cast of thousands. One reads about the details of both players' and coaches' high school sports careers, about coaches and players prior to and after the doomed Purple Aces, and even a few local radio announcers associated with the team. And when you expect a dramatic comeback win, they don't. It's an OK read but probably more meaningful for the fans and local residents of Evansville, and the author is both. The title is epic though.
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  • Karie
    January 1, 1970
    This book was very informative and interesting, but hard to follow. There was so much detail on all those involved that it made the book hard to follow at times. All the going back and forth between different family’s and years was hard to follow but I did feel it was worth the read and I enjoyed learning about the town, the team, and the school, and I don’t even like basketball!
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  • Larry
    January 1, 1970
    So much more than a sports book or basketball story -- though Mr. Beaven writes very well about basketball. Not a cliche - a true tragedy and triumph story rich in detail about the city, the university and the surrounding (mainly rural) area of southern Indiana and Illinois.You will be happy you read this book.
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  • Kirk
    January 1, 1970
    How did i not know about this story? Can’t wait for the movie! This story should be highlighted. A near-fairy tale ending, but a story worth telling for sure. We need to be reminded that getting back to great is amazing after tragedy, even if that means you don’t “win the whole thing”. It’s the rising that matters.
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  • Harry Trumfio
    January 1, 1970
    A fine retelling of the history of Evansville basketball. The author provides an understanding of the significant role a college plays in a small town and the crash that killed the entire basketball team and the coach. The reader feels the spirit and hard work it took to rebuild the program. The author also provides insight into the mental and physical stamina it takes to be a good basketball player. There is also a look into the responsibilities of coaching beyond the court.
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  • Carolina
    January 1, 1970
    Wow!! This is based on a true story! I hope they make this book into a movie. I'm from the Midwest and wasn't familiar with this story. Wow! Wow! I highly recommend this book to anyone that enjoyed the movie "We Are Marshall" and others based on true sports tragedies.
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  • Karen
    January 1, 1970
    well written, thoughtful book. I vividly remember this tragedy. I appreciate how the author honors the players and coaches and celebrates the strength of the families, the University and the town of Evensville.
  • Doris Raines
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVE THIS BOOK YES WE WILL RISE I LOVE THIS BOOK YES WE WILL RISE😎🍿✅
  • Damas Nyenza
    January 1, 1970
    Reading
  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    The writing is strong and details vivid. I enjoyed the book despite not being a huge sports fan.
  • Becky Porter
    January 1, 1970
    I didn’t love the author’s writing style and sports nonfiction isn’t a typical genre for me, but it was interesting to learn more about my new town.
  • Alana Tomlin Denton
    January 1, 1970
    Wonderful, emotional basketball read for those that love sports historyAn emotional read that is from what I can tell, extremely accurate. If you love sports, especially basketball, you love history, you love a come back then this book is for you! It will have you cheering in your living room, counting down the days until March Madness! I am afraid I drove everyone around me crazy talking about this book incessantly while reading. It is that good! Covers six decades, plus. Includes history of Wonderful, emotional basketball read for those that love sports historyAn emotional read that is from what I can tell, extremely accurate. If you love sports, especially basketball, you love history, you love a come back then this book is for you! It will have you cheering in your living room, counting down the days until March Madness! I am afraid I drove everyone around me crazy talking about this book incessantly while reading. It is that good! Covers six decades, plus. Includes history of March Madness, automatic bids to NCAA, John Wooden, decades old match ups, historical under dogs, how many current NBA coaches got their start and much more... all with the back drop of a "We are Marshall" style story. This is a must read!
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  • Linda Barlow
    January 1, 1970
    Being an avid basketball fan this book taught me about all that happened before and after that tragic night. Indiana born and raised. Boilermaker educated. Basketball nerd for 50+ years and still going.
  • Jessica
    January 1, 1970
    Heartbreaking but Riveting! This true story will capture your heart. A chronicle of the rise, fall, and rebuilding of the basketball program at the University of Evansville, Indiana, after a tragic airplane crash in 1977. Thoroughly investigated by a "hometown" alumnus, it is meticulous in its detail, and will be fascinating to anyone who ever played the game! Or, old ladies like me, who never played but love, and enjoy following college basketball, March Madness, and most especially, the Heartbreaking but Riveting! This true story will capture your heart. A chronicle of the rise, fall, and rebuilding of the basketball program at the University of Evansville, Indiana, after a tragic airplane crash in 1977. Thoroughly investigated by a "hometown" alumnus, it is meticulous in its detail, and will be fascinating to anyone who ever played the game! Or, old ladies like me, who never played but love, and enjoy following college basketball, March Madness, and most especially, the "Cinderella" teams like the Purple Aces! Kudos to Steve Beaven for his wonderful, captivating documentation of the relationship between a town and their team!
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  • Lyn
    January 1, 1970
    Calling all basketball lovers I’m not a basketball fan but the book is well written and a testament to Evansville and the purple Aces. If you love basketball, then this tragedy and those who helped the town heal is for you.
  • Lena H.
    January 1, 1970
    Not a lot of detail about the team who lost their lives. Ironically after reading this book and Googling the crash I’ve never seen a complete list of the victims. Sad. But interesting read overall, though it would definitely appeal more to someone who was really into sports.
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  • Jeff Schmitt
    January 1, 1970
    I was not quite 14 on December 13, 1977, watching (most likely) WTVW, Channel 7, out of Evansville, when they interrupted their regular programming to break the news of a possible plane crash, that might involve the basketball team from UE. I was curious, but really too young to realize the solemnity of the event. Time and personal tragedies of my own have, over the years, clarified the loss felt not just in Evansville, but small towns across the midwest as a result of that crash. This is the I was not quite 14 on December 13, 1977, watching (most likely) WTVW, Channel 7, out of Evansville, when they interrupted their regular programming to break the news of a possible plane crash, that might involve the basketball team from UE. I was curious, but really too young to realize the solemnity of the event. Time and personal tragedies of my own have, over the years, clarified the loss felt not just in Evansville, but small towns across the midwest as a result of that crash. This is the first detailed retelling of that time, other than newspaper accounts on milestone anniversaries, that I’ve read. I liked the book...but very much dislike the topic. Hope all involved have found some sort of peace
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  • Jack Ferguson
    January 1, 1970
    well done if you love basketball
  • Donna
    January 1, 1970
    It was a very thoroughly researched book and an interesting and at times exciting read.
  • Chuck
    January 1, 1970
    A decent telling of a tragedy on the campus of Evansville Indiana and its effect on the city. As the book states, it is a true story of Tragedy and Resurrection of this college community.
  • ML Couch
    January 1, 1970
    Interesting ReadVery interesting read. This story was one that I remember but getting the background brought it to life. Enjoyed the story of the rebuilding.
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