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Dare to Dream

How James Madison University Became Coed and Shocked the Basketball World
Lou Campanelli. With Dave Newhouse
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In 1971, Madison College was a small-town teachers college with around 3,000 students, most of them female. To elevate the college’s visibility and to appeal immediately to males, new president Dr. Ronald E. Carrier sought to build a solid men’s collegiate athletic program. He hired a young, energetic, ambitious, and fast-talking yet untested basketball coach from New Jersey--Lou Campanelli.

Dare to Dream, a collaboration between Campanelli and veteran sports writer Dave Newhouse, tells the amazing Hoosiers-like story of how Campanelli, within ten years, created a basketball program out of almost nothing, building it into a powerhouse. Coach Lou’s teams were known for their innovative flex offense, relentless half-court man-to-man defense, and a never-give-up attitude that led not only to conference, state, and division championships but also to historic and nationally significant upsets in the NCAA tournament against Ohio State, West Virginia, and Georgetown--as well as a down-to-the-wire two-point loss to the University of North Carolina national championship team whose roster included future NBA stars Michael Jordan, Sam Perkins, and James Worthy.

In this fast-paced and compelling book, we share in the passion, integrity, and dedication with which Coach Lou recruited, coached, and mentored his players--most of whom were overlooked or passed over by the traditional basketball powers.

Dare to Dream is the story of how sports transformed not only the lives of student-athletes but also a small, largely female school in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia into a major regional university within just one decade. It is a story of how academics and basketball provided the foundation for JMU’s current legacy as one of Virginia’s most distinguished public institutions of higher learning, just as Dr. Carrier and Coach Lou had dared to dream, more than forty years ago.

Distributed for George F. Thompson Publishing