Maurice and Vijay are thrilled to be the only grade nine students to make the junior football team. But it soon becomes clear that their coach, Bob Jones, who has just been elected mayor, has his own reasons for giving his two new players preferential treatment.
Massive media coverage of the outspoken Coach Jones starts turning up allegations of illegal behaviour, including use of crack cocaine. And the ego-driven competitiveness that won Jones the mayor's office fuels his abusive coaching style.
But Jones has many dedicated supporters, including Vijay's father, who say Jones cares about the little people and credits him with saving his football players from a life of drugs and gangs.
Maurice and Vijay finally decide that they've had enough. But can they get the rest of the team, especially the older players who resent them as "minor niners," to help them take control from the man the whole world knows as the Crack Coach?
While based on a situation taken directly from the headlines, Steven Sandor offers a compelling and entirely fictional story that explores what happens when young players strive to take action that addresses an unexpected and destructive issue rather than waiting for adults to face up to the problem.
"This topical read will not disappoint the reluctant reader. Steven Sandor weaves sports, football, racism, media awareness, substance abuse, and bullying into this young adult novel."
- Keep Calm and Novel On, Educator and NetGalley Reviewer
"While more politics than sports, this is fast and unafraid of issues."
- Kirkus Reviews
"An energy rush from practice to game day, Crack Coach is perfect for reluctant readers. Sandor's fast moving narrative uses newspaper articles to break up long block of text and these quick summaries aid reader comprehension. High octane action, relatable characters, and a nod to recent events in Toronto make Crack Coach an ideal choice for middle grade readers."
- National Reading Campaign
"Fast packed action that will please any sports fan, this book has an interesting twist — a coach spiraling out of control. Crack Coach should be popular with middle and high school readers. I can see it used as a literature circle book. It would spark interesting discussions."
- Judy Gottschalk, Educator
STEVEN SANDOR is an award-winning magazine editor, author, and sports broadcaster. He provides colour commentary for FC Edmonton broadcasts and edits Avenue Edmonton and the Canadian soccer tablet magazine, Plastic Pitch. Steve grew up in Brampton, ON, where he was on the St. Thomas Aquinas swim team. He has written two other sports novel, Replay and Playing for Keeps, both published in the Lorimer Sports Stories series. He lives and writes in Edmonton, Alberta.