I'll be honest here. When Mid-Majority founder Kyle Whelliston told me he was going to write a book about Tony Ingle, I had to do a quick google search to find out who the heck he was talking about. I learned that he's the head coach of relatively new DI entrant the Kennesaw State Owls. Coach Ingle won a DII national championship with the Owls a few years back, and was once the interim head coach of the BYU Cougars.
That's the straight biography, but it doesn't tell you one thing about the man or why you should want to read a book about him. I'm here to handle the latter part.
Reasons to read this book:
1. It's a story of triumph over adversity.
I hear you, out there, groaning "Ohhh, no. Not triumph over adversity! I already have the Lifetime Network!" I am as resistent to being uplifted through emotional manipulation as the next guy, maybe more so. But nothing like that happens here. Tony Ingle relates his dirt-poor upbringing in Georgia with unflinching detail. He's brutally honest about the physical and emotional scars caused by a childhood facial deformity that kept him from the symmetrical ideal. Unlike just about anyone else who has ever related his own story, he's honest about throwing himself pity-parties, mistakes he made, and selfish thoughts he had to battle. The triumph takes a long-ass time to arrive. It's unadulterated reality.
2. It's damn funny.
If the previous paragraph made you want to slit your wrists, hold up there, sonny! All of the ups and downs of Tony Ingle's life are told in his own voice, with an inimitable self-deprecating style that makes the chapters fly by. I turned down page corners every time I laughed out loud at an Ingleism, then went back and copied out some of my favorites for you:
Referencing his high school successes in Georgia: "It was just like the movie Hoosiers, but with thicker accents."
"The morning after we lost by one point to Brewton Parker in the regional championship game, I was as low as the dry part of a whale turd."
Ref: "OK, Coach, what's your question?" Tony: "Sir, are you using a flathead or a Phillips?"
On landing Shawn Bradley: "(W)e were all jumping up and down, laughing and hugging. We celebrated in the great Mormon tradition - by ordering a round of milkshakes."
Then there's this joke, told to Ingle in the midst of a horrible winless streak as interim head coach at BYU:
Israel Ingle: Hey, daddy, knock-knock!
Tony Ingle: Who's there?
Tony: Owen who?
Israel: You're Owen 19!
3. It may actually make you try to be a better person.
Again, I say, I'm allergic to sap. But there was a part in this book where Tony Ingle talked about coming home exhausted after a day of coaching, only to have one or more of his five children beg him for attention. So he'd take them to shoot baskets without fail, operating on the basic assumption that a father should always be there for his kids, and tiredness was no excuse.
I have one kid, and I can't even live by this stricture. But now I hear that line in my head every time I'm tempted to beg off, and it shames me into trying a bit harder. That's a positive impact.
Basically, it's a good read. You'll never feel like it's being rushed nor dragged out. You'll enjoy it, and you'll be glad you took the time to get to know Tony Ingle.
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