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Potomac Books


Cinderella Ball, Cinderella Ball, 0803213921, 0-8032-1392-1, 978-0-8032-1392-0, 9780803213920, Bob Kuska , , Cinderella Ball, 080322043X, 0-8032-2043-X, 978-0-8032-2043-0, 9780803220430, Bob Kuska

Cinderella Ball
A Look Inside Small-College Basketball in West Virginia
Bob Kuska

2008. 328 pp.
21 images
$19.95 t

For most of the twentieth century, West Virginia was a college basketball hotbed. Its major programs were a success, but perhaps even more successful was the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, composed of fifteen schools that rarely earned headlines but set many records and became an identifiable part of small town culture and a source of state pride. This ethos exists today in small town Kentucky and Indiana but struggles to survive in West Virginia. Part of the reason is the state's population decline since the 1950s. That, author Bob Kuska argues, along with the rise of cable and satellite TV and the major college basketball empire, stole the thunder--and the crowds--from these small town communities.
And yet, these teams play on in obscurity and still find success. Against the backdrop of West Virginia's great small college history, Kuska chronicles the day-to-day struggles and triumphs of one modern school, Alderson-Broaddus College in Philippi, West Virginia. What happened to that team during a rags-to-riches yearlong stretch would've been remarkable at any level, let alone at a school with very low athletic department budgets and low visibility that makes recruiting talented players almost impossible.
As he alternates between coaches and players, past and present, Kuska contrasts the fan enthusiasm of the conference's early years with the apathy that plagues the teams of the twenty-first century. If sports fans can get past the media and the madness that has made college basketball increasingly similar to professional basketball in its self-indulgence and sensationalism, they are left with leagues like the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference--scrappy, intelligent, and spirited--and still finding ways to succeed and thrive.

Bob Kuska is a career science writer and the author of Hot Potato: How Washington and New York Gave Birth to Black Basketball and Changed America’s Game Forever. He lives in Shepherdstown, West Virginia.

“Bob Kuska’s book about small-college sports is monumental. We read so much about big time sports that we lose sight of where most of our student-athletes play. Cinderella Ball shines a bright light on a narrow image that tells us so much about where we have come from and where we are now.  It is a must read for anyone seeking a full picture of college sport.”—Richard Lapchick, Chair of DeVos Sport Business Management Program, University of Central Florida

“Handed a copy of Cinderella Ball, even a devout basketball fan is going to wonder why anyone might want to read a book about the small-college game in West Virginia. The answer keeps revealing itself on page after page of this wonderfully written elegy to a romance many abandoned when ESPN began showing three big-time college games per night. This intimate peek into basketball’s heart—and the astonishing sacrifices routinely made by those who are truly devoted to the game—never quit surprising me.”—Mike DeCourcy, senior writer for Sporting News

“Bob Kuska tells the incredible story of the A-B Battlers and their coach Greg Zimmerman in a way that reminds the reader just how great true college basketball, the game you fell in love with before it was taken over by insanely huge TV contracts, can still be. A classic look at both the redemptive rise of a once-proud program, along with the passion of both the athletes and coach that made it happen. A must read.”—Ray Mernagh, contributing editor for Pittsburgh Sports Report

“Thank [Bob Kuska] for telling this electrifying story of extreme sacrifice, hard work, dedication, and loyalty. This book has allowed me the opportunity to understand what it was really like to get knocked down, then to get up and still be able to come out on top! I am proud to be a part of the rich tradition of small-college basketball in this state and Cinderella Ball is now part of our family and will be forever!”—Archie Talley, former West Virginia basketball star

“Today’s college stars help make the NCAA billions of dollars before going pro to make millions for themselves. However, at its purest level, college basketball is about playing as a team, giving your best effort, and graduating with your degree. On this count, “A-B” gets straight A’s across the board.”—Jon Teitel, columnist for

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