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Books about our program
  Here are some of the books that discuss our history. I have no idea, actually if there are others out there or how to get these.

The Ahearn Tradition
David Smale
SportMemories Publishing, 1988

152 pages; hardback; slick paper; numerous black and white photos

This is divided into sections for the building, the games, the fans, the coaches, the players, the statistics and closes with a page of some autographs.

You can't not love this book as it brings back so many memories for those of us who went to games in Ahearn. But, it isn't that well done, it's an amateur work. So there is quote after quote after quote from people about how great the atmosphere was, how great the fans were, how great everything was. And that isn't the same thing as telling you what happened.

The best section, for my money, is the one describing some key games played in the building over the years.

It's Time to Play! Jack Gardner, Basketball and Kansas State University
Steven Michael Farney
Leathers Publishing, 2007

140 pages; hardback; slick paper; numerous black and white photos

This tells the story of Jack Garner, the forgotten great coach who really started the tradition of winning basketball at KSU. It goes through his time year by year from 1940-42 and 1947-54, with little summaries of the various key games.

This book is also willing to dish a little dirt about some of the not-so-nice back and forth between KSU and KU about allegations of recruiting shenanigans. Phog Allen doesn't come off too well here. Fun stuff.

This recounts our first final four appearances and the national championship run in 1950-51.

Information you don't generally find elsewhere.

Coach Tex Winter: Triangle Basketball
Ann Parr
NDX Press, 2006

158 pages; soft cover; slick paper; numerous black and white and color photos

Ann Parr is the wife of Jack Parr, standout KSU player.

In some ways this is the most interesting and well-produced of the bunch, while showing signs of being a 'home' production. She conducted interviews with a number of family members players and coaches who worked with Tex including Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant among others.

She tells the story of Tex's life, and not just his basketball life, going back to his growing up years, time in the military, his relationship with his brother and the various stages of Tex's basketball career. Plenty of pity quotes from Tex of the kind coaches put on locker room walls and quotes and stories about Tex from others. Nothing very critical here, but a fun, informative read.

Trial by Basketball: The LIfe and Times of Tex Winter
Mark Bender
Addax Publishing, 2000

280 pages; hard cover, 16 pages of color photos

A life of Tex, that is really in two parts. The first is the normal biography format covering his early life and time in the military as a naval aviator (his brother nearly became a POW, but escaped). Tex was a track and field man, soaring to 14'4 in the pole vault in the era of bamboo poles.

The second part covers his coaching career and while there is some good details of his time at K-State as an assistant to Gardner and then as coach, once we reach the NBA years it becomes more of a history of the Bulls and the Lakers going over game by game their playoff runs with only occasional appearances by Tex.

You get Tex's character: his detailed, organized practices, his desire for excellence from everyone - even critiquing Michael Jordan's game when necessary and his enjoyment of life on the road. No matter how high he went or how wealthy he got he still behaved humbly and lived frugally.

A great man who deserves all the praise he gets- and more.

The Triple-Post Offense
Fred "Tex" Winter
Prentice-Hall 1962

This first edition now qualifies as a rare book sold by high-toned book sellers. Too bad I didn't buy one when I saw it on sale new in Manhattan in the 60s for probably a couple of dollars. You can find a spiral-bound re-edition on Amazon for $35.

We know now that Tex didn't invent the Triangle offense, (another name for Triple-Post) but he popularized it, using it at Kansas State and at the Chicago Bulls. Is it "too complicated" for today's players? On the other hand, some high schools claim to run it. Wish we'd give it another try.

The Last Season: A Team in Search of its Soul
Phil Jackson
Penguin Press, 2004

Of course, this book isn't really about K-State at all, but there are some Tex Winter stories in it and they are fun to read: Tex relentlessly getting after Shaquille O'Neal to play up to his amazing potential to where Shaq insulted him in a meeting-but then apologized and hugged Tex. Tex saying he was going to retire after the season and Jackson just not believing he'd ever retire. Jackson clearly loved and respected Tex.

Last modified 12/29/21, posted 3/12/11; original content. 2021, 2011 John P. Nordin