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Though the Odds Be Great or Small

Written By Terry Brennan and William Meiners

Published By Loyola Press

Reviewed By Melissa Minners

I’ve been following Notre Dame football for years…ever since watching the movie Rudy as a matter of fact.  There have been good years and bad years, but I’m a student of the game and understand that there will be ups and downs as players graduate and coaches change.  So, when I saw a book that was about one of their comeback seasons, I decided to check it out.

               Though the Odds Be Great or Small is said to have been written by Terry Brennan and William Meiners, but when you actually get into it, its more a book written by Meiners with some insight from Terry Brennan.  The book starts off with Terry’s prowess on the field as a player while a college student attending Notre Dame.  Then it goes on to discuss Terry’s tenure as the youngest Notre Dame coach.  It gets a little confusing from there. 

               The book is supposed to be about Notre Dame’s 1957 comeback year, but it doesn’t really concentrate on that.  The book does show how Brennan took a team that was destined to fail thanks to Notre Dame’s football recruiting or lack thereof.  It does show how they came back to get a bowl game in 1957.  It also shows how Brennan was fired the following year in hopes that the man to replace him, an NFL coach, could raise the team to greatness.  But in between is a muddle of comparisons between older teams and newer teams, coaches from before Brennan and after compared to his style of coaching and more. 

               All of this extra added comparison takes away from the focus of the book, which should have been how Terry Brennan, the school’s youngest football coach, took that 1957 team to greatness despite the college’s focus on academics over football after his former coach was forced to leave.  I was bored with this book a couple of chapters in and forced myself to finish, which took a lot longer than it should have.  You might want to read this if you are a die-hard Notre Dame football fan, but I doubt it.  Not worth the time and effort.

Check out Though the Odds Be Great or Small: Notre Dame’s 1957 Comeback Season and the Year That Changed College Football at


Published by Melissa Minners

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