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Book Review

Bernie Saggau & the Iowa Boys

by Chuck Offenburger

Iowa High School Athletic Association, 2005

Reviewed by Marty Payne, May 11, 2007

Are you the person who could live with only one channel on your television as long as it was ESPN? Or, when you want to learn what is happening in the world, do you immediately turn to the sports page in the morning paper? If so, I have the book for you.

This is a book that tells two stories. The first deals with the life and times of Bernie Saggau. He had a typical small town (Denison, Iowa) boyhood, hunting with his dad, playing sports successfully in high school, average student in grades. He then went on to become the leader of the Iowa High School Athletic Association. This association affects everyone who has ever suited up to participate in boy's high school sports. Some of their rulings have been controversial, and Bernie's involvement in the Hy-Vee Iowa Hall of Pride was an eye opener to me.

Even if you have no interest in Bernie Saggau, this book is still worth picking up to read the second part. If you turn to page 325 and begin, I think you would not want to put it down. There is a list and information on the 25 greatest high school athletes, and why they were chosen. See if you and your friends agree with them.

It also relates some interesting stories. One such story is the undefeated football team in 2003 that was playing in the UNI dome was trailing 35 to 23 with 5:50 left to play. Yet, in the next 3 minutes, they turn 2 touchdown passes and won 38 to 35. If you know the answer to this, I bet you could stump your friends. What about the high school in central Iowa that Casey Blake, who plays for the Cleveland Indians, attended. I think a guy could make a small fortune riding home on a bus after participating in a high school game with all the facts from this book.

Overall, I think this book is a good read and is fun and interesting. This should be a must read for anyone interested in Iowa sports.

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