Tenacious–A Book Review

Product Details

Tenacious; How God Used a Terminal Diagnosis to Turn a Family and a Football Team into Champions by Jeremy and Jennifer Williams with Rob Suggs (Thomas Nelson, 2013) 270 pages.

Tenacious tells the true story of a family that faced the challenges of having a son with Spinal Bifida and the father with ALS 9Lou Gehrig’s Disease).

Jeremy was small for a football player but he played with a driving passion and earned a scholarship at Memphis State. He filled for an injured player in his first game and started for the remainder of his four-year career.

Jeremy and Jennifer Bolles began dating their senior year in high school. They waited for marriage until just before his senior year in college (1993).

After graduation, he worked as an assistant football coach for a few years. Then he became head coach at Greenville, Georgia, about sixty miles from Atlanta. He inherited a lackadaisical and undisciplined football team and a school with little school spirit. By motivation, weight training, and discipline he led the team with a 1-9 first-year record to 10-0 season record in his final year (2010). Jeremy was named National High School Football Coach of the year.

Jeremy did not push his faith on anybody, but he lived it consistently. His life influenced others for Christ. Christian faith sustained the Williams in their highs and lows while dealing with a handicapped son and Jeremy’s debilitating condition with his ALS.

The Extreme Home Makeover blessed the family with a beautiful handicapped-accessible home. The community helped the family in many ways.

Tenacious is a football story, a love story, and a story of tenacious faith in the face of incredible adversity.


Rise and Walk by Dennis Byrd–A Review

Rise and Walk: the Dennis Byrd Story

Rise and Walk: The Trial & Triumph of Dennis Byrd by Dennis Byrd with Michael D’Orso (HarperCollins/Zondervan, 1993), 258 pages.

On November 29, 1992, Byrd, a 6’5”, 270-pound defensive lineman for the New York Jets, in an attempt to sack the Kansas City quarterback collided with his 280-pound teammate. The collision shattered Byrd’s neck and paralyzed him from the neck down. The book describes in graphic detail the physical and emotional devastation he experienced and the excruciating route to his goal of walking again. After his seven-hour surgery, he was told that he may never walk again. In a few months, he defied all predictions and reasonable hopes and began walking again.

Through this experience, he kept his faith in God, as he did throughout his life. He credits the role played by his wife, family, friends, doctors, therapists, the general public, his Jets teammates, the help and encouragement of Leon Hess the Jets owner. He gives credit to God’s love and miracles and human faith and love.

Byrd recounts his upbringing in poverty in Oklahoma and his love of football, his experience of playing for Tulsa University and the New York Jets.

His determination and discipline motivated and inspired me. For months, I experienced chronic pain and inability to walk due to issues with my lumbar spine and resulting sciatica pain. I experienced nothing so severe as Byrd, but after surgery, rehab and home health I am getting closer to my goal of walking.

Learning About Life and Leadership from Christian Coaches

John Wooden

Wooden, John with Steve Jamison. My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2004.

Wooden, John with Steve Jamison. Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court. Chicago: Contemporary Books, 1997.

Wooden, John and Steve Jamison. Wooden on Leadership. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2005.

Tom Landry

Landry, Tom with Gregg Lewis. Tom Landry: An Autobiography. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990.

Tom Osborne

Tom Osborne and John E. Roberts. More Than Winning: The Story of Tom Osborne. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2009.

Osborne, Tom. Faith in the Game: Lessons on Football, Work, and Life. Colorado Springs: WaterBrook Press, 1999.

Osborne, Tom. Beyond the Final Score: There’s More to Life than the Game. Ventura, CA: Regal/Gospel Light, 2009.

Joe Gibbs

Joe Gibbs with Jerry Jenkins. Game Plan for Life: Your Personal Playbook for Success. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2009.

Joe Gibbs with Ken Abraham. Racing to Win: Establish Your Game Plan for Success. Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2002.

Lou Holtz

Holtz, Lou. Winning Every Day: The Game Plan for Success. New York: HarperBusiness, 1998.

Holtz, Lou. Wins, Losses, and Lessons: An Autobiography. New York: William Morrow/Harper Collins, 2006.

Tony Dungy

Dungy, Tony with Nathan Whitaker. Quiet Strength: The Principles, Practices, & Priorities of a Winning Life. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2007.

Dungy, Tony with Nathan Whitaker. Uncommon: Finding Your Path to Significance. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2009.

Dungy, Tony with Nathan Whitaker. The Mentor Leader: Secrets to Building People and Teams that Win Consistently. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House, 2010.

Bobby Bowden

Bowden, Bobby with Mark Schabach. Called to Coach: Reflections on Life, Faith, and Football. New York: Howard Books, 2010.