Book Reviews

I wanted to let you know how much I appreciated your book and it's discussion about these:

1) Trust and Love is extraordinarily important for coaches and leaders of all types. We all lead -- it's just a matter of being effective or not. To be an effective leader it starts with trust and love.

2) Not being afraid to fail. There is tremendous pressure on kids and adults to...win, win, win. Of course you would not have been able to win if you didn't set out to win. However, you made it very clear that "failing" is all about your mind-set (how you let it effect you) and can always be a stepping stone to greater progress. It seems it was an important part of your journey.

3) Preparation. Mind...body...and opponent. All help to win in any endeavor.

4) Finally, leave it all on the mat. The results will take care of themselves. It goes for the classroom, workplace and home. We can't learn this too early in life.

Dale, thanks for putting it all down on paper. I believe your words can be insightful and inspirational to young wrestlers and old dudes like us.

- Tom Atkins

I read your book in a day. As an ex 60's wrestler and fan, I truly loved your book. I loved the fact that you gave credit to the guys who never made to the champion's podium. Doing that is so amazing and rare. I liken it to winning the congressional medal of honor. The fact is, I have deep respect for any one who competed in a NCAA tournament and finished last. I'm sure they moved on in life and faced challenges with courage and success.

I wrestled in the state of Virginia in the 60s. The great ones I knew who went on to college were never heard of again. It was shocking how tough it was to flourish in college. We did however, hear about successful guys moving on to college; Radman, Lowrence, Powell, and Boyd. They were from southern Virginia and they were usually from Granby. Because of your book I now see how important and amazing Billy Martin was. He could take average wrestlers and make them great by teaching and encouragement. I may have been a good workout partner, but there's just something about guys like you; when you open up, you're next to impossible to beat.

After I left high school I was immediately snatched up by the army, went to Vietnam as rifleman, and then came home to face real life. The physical challenges in the army were easy, because I wrestled; because of the sacrifice and discipline. The worst part was the mental anguish of that bloody war. Yet I feel minus the death and carnage, you experienced a tour of Vietnam and then some when you first arrived at Michigan State. I just shook my head at your account deprivation, hunger and some despair.

Anyone who wrestled holds you in high esteem. One thing about us ex wrestlers; we face the real world pretty good. I am honored to be able to write to you and want you to know that there more guys than you know, who love your book.

Yours in Christ,

- John Muglia

If ever there was a person qualified to write a book about one of the seminal events in Michigan State University sports lore. It's Dale Anderson. A Spartan Journey, Michigan State's Miracle on the Mat recounts the 1966-1967 wrestling season when the Michigan State Spartans became the first Big Ten team to win the national wrestling championship, which, according to some, began the modern era of college wrestling.

Dale Anderson won his first of two national championships that season. A leader on and off the mat, he went on to obtain a law degree from the University of Virginia and has authored several books and articles on constitutional law.

A Spartan Journey captures the atmosphere of a time when political unrest, generations divided and Viet Nam were daily topics of discussion. On top of that, this was an era often characterized as a time of "sex, drugs and rock and roll."

Dale tells the story of a team that included special athletes and coaches, including two wrestlers, who had, just months before played key roles in winning a national football championship, and a coach who was named outstanding wrestler in the Rome Olympics in 1960.

The book is a collection of unique accounts about Dale's quest to be the best.

Most of all, it is the story of a magical miracle season during a magical Spartan decade.

- Mike Green

“I read Dale Anderson’s stirring account of that magical 1967 season with tremendous interest and highly recommend the book to anyone who has even a passing interest in the history of wrestling in America.”

- Mike Chapman author of 27 books, founder of WIN and the Dan Hodge Trophy.

Dale Anderson’s new book A SPARTAN JOURNEY takes the reader behind the scenes fifty years ago into the work out room and on the championship mat as Michigan State became the first Big Ten school in history to win an NCAA Wrestling team title in 1967. Since Michigan State’s victory Big Ten schools have won the team title 32 times in the last 49 years. It’s a rags to riches story of a MSU wrestling program that finished last in the Big Ten in 1964 that turned it around by 1966 to win the Big Ten and start a string of seven straight conference championships the first of several wrestling dynasties in the Big Ten.

It’s a story of two coaches Grady Peninger and Doug Blubaugh, both later hall of famers, who took a group of walk-ons, college transfers and a handful of top national recruits and molded them into a championship squad. Three of the wrestlers on the varsity squad played on the 1966 national championship football team.

Dale Anderson, a high school teammate of Dan Gable at Waterloo West, coached by the legendary Bob Siddens tells in this wrestling autobiography how his obsession with wrestling won him two Iowa state titles. With unusual candor, he relates his struggles both on and off the mat after transferring to Michigan State his freshman year. Anderson would go on to became a three-time Big Ten Champion, a three-time All American and two-time National Champion at 137 pounds.

The book is a masterpiece, if you love collegiate wrestling history this book belongs in your bookshelf. It has so many anecdotes of all the wrestling legends of the 1960’s coaches involved in the recruitment process like Bill Koll, Ken Kraft, Myron Roderick, and Harold Nichols. Wrestlers around and below Dale’s weight class like Rick Sanders, Gene Davis, Don Behm, Masaru Yatabe, Yojiro Uetake, and of course Dan Gable.

- Bob LaBrant

“Dale Anderson helped my thinking about how to wrestle and how to win. I hope he will help everyone who reads this book to better understand wrestling in the 1960s, how Michigan State won the NCAA wrestling championship in 1967, and how to be a better wrestler or coach, or person!”

- Dan Gable 1972 Olympic champion, coach of 15 NCAA championship teams.