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Endzone: The Rise, Fall, and Return of Michigan Football

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,158 ratings  ·  142 reviews
Endzone tells the story of how college football's most successful, richest and respected program almost lost all three in less than a decade - and entirely of its own doing. It is a story of hubris, greed, and betrayal - a tale more suited to Wall Street than the world's top public university.
Author John U. Bacon takes you inside the offices, the board rooms and the
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published September 1st 2015 by St. Martin's Press
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Alec Rogers If you read the book, you get it. The "return" isn't about wins and losses but reestablishing the program in line with the university's values. That…moreIf you read the book, you get it. The "return" isn't about wins and losses but reestablishing the program in line with the university's values. That happened before the first down was played.(less)

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Aug 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
After catching wind over Twitter last night that the local Barnes & Noble had jumped the gun a bit and had already placed this out for sale, I cancelled my Amazon pre-order and high-tailed it over to get my hands on this book I've been eagerly awaiting for months.

I read this book in about six hours which makes me feel a little bad because John U. Bacon states in the acknowledgements it took him six months, but oh well. He should also be honored I read it so quickly -- it's been a long, long
Oct 19, 2015 rated it liked it
I think this is a great book for the simple fact that it reminds us Michigan fans that we got rid of Dave Brandon. Unfortunate many problems during this timeframe that DB was there were not even mentioned. Most of the book was devoted to his missteps in how he handled the student ticket policy. Dave Brandon tried to bring Ringling Brothers to Ann Arbor, trade tradition for wow factor, and if he had the power of the Queen of England he would have knighted himself as Sir Dave Brandon. He cared for ...more
Sep 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Are you a Michigan football fan? If not, you do not want to read this book. If yes, READ IT NOW!!! There were so many fun insider information tidbits, quotes by anybody who's anybody, and sidebar stories about random Michigan football characters from the past and present. As I fall directly into this book's target audience, I ate it up!!
Sep 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For followers and fans of University of Michigan football, this book tells a riveting story. For those who are not there is not much of interest. The dozens (hundreds?) of typos and grammatical errors which a decent editor should have corrected are a distraction.
David Bjorne
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An essential read for any Michigan fan. This recounts the many mistakes of Dave Brandon, and takes you behind the scenes to see how Michigan managed to bring Jim Harbaugh home. A fantastic read for the beginning of the new season.
Kayla MacLennan
Sep 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Safe to say, I was heavily involved with the University and football program over the exact timespan of this book... Definitely read like a bizarro-yearbook of my time there. There is so much that I didn't know. Go Blue forever.
RM(Alwaysdaddygirl) Griffin (alwaysdaddyprincess)
5 stars! Like other reviewers said, if you love U of M you need this read book yesterday.

If you love history and non/fiction books, I would recommend this one.
Sep 12, 2015 rated it did not like it
I'm a John Bacon fan and a Michigan Alum. This book was rushed to the press to make money. The editing is horrible. Typos etc... John should have taken his own advice about the "Michigan Man" and tried to get it right. Having had two daughters at the University of Michigan during this time period, coverage of the Brendan Gibbon's rape case is three paragraphs ( Taylor Lewan's behavior unmentioned )which got them both expelled three years after the rape charge! I think if Bo was coaching they ...more
Michael Hutchinson
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was ok
A five-star story about the mismanagement of one of top athletic departments mixed with one-star prose results in the two-star rating. The numerous typographical errors and at times incoherent sentences are most likely a result of the tight deadline the author faced in getting this book ready for release on the eve of the current football season. I could have waited a little longer for cleaner prose. One other thing that stands out is the mistake of declining an interview request from Mr. Bacon ...more
Melissa Acuna
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was ok
Disclosure: I've read every single book that John Bacon has written and hold him in high regard, despite being an Ohio State fan, but this book was terribly disappointing. Not only because of the numerous typos, awkward sentence structures and redundancies, but those really didn't help, especially after the long explanation of what Michigan expectations "This Is Michigan!" truly mean. Clearly the book was written on a tight deadline, and it needs a good edit and a proofread before the second ...more
Dave Jackson
Aug 31, 2015 rated it really liked it
A thorough takedown of Dave Brandon's tenure as Michigan athletic director. It's an engrossing story, and it's well-reported (especially given that three key figures in the story - Brandon, former football coach Brady Hoke and former school president Mary Sue Coleman - didn't agree to talk to the author. Having read the author's other book on Michigan football, it's clear he is plugged in and respected through most of that community. The sections on the student response to a failed general ...more
Richard Retyi
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's weird to read a book about a place you worked for seven years offering new perspectives you were aware of but without all the details.

The pre-Harbaugh portions (most of us book) were my favorite, with an in-depth look into how Michigan maintained success into the 2000s and then, in a few years, undid many of those same victories.

The Harbaugh courting made me feel a little weird. I understand that Michigan had to overcome being cool on him before the 49ers snapped him up, but the amount of
Randy Mahar
Oct 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Great book. A little back ground, I am an East Coaster, so I knew nothing of the traditions, the history nor the devotion of the fans at Michigan. All I knew about M was they played Ohio St in a big game every year, and a cool movie, The Big Chill. If learning and knowing about such a clearly great school can be rated, I jumped from a 1 to a 4 (1-10 scale) just by reading this book. This author has written several books revolving around various aspect of the athletic experience at M. This is the ...more
Sep 27, 2015 rated it liked it
I love John U Bacon's books. Being a rabid, life-long Michigan fan, I devour them. Can't wait for them to come out. But I could have waited a little longer for this one, if it had been edited better. While I give this one 5 stars for the storyline and the stories within, I cannot get past the multiple misspellings, misuse of words, repetitive phrases (there is literally one point where a sentence is repeated. Literally, repeated. How does that happen??) and descriptions of people or places ...more
Gene Killian
Sep 19, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing story of corporate dysfunction and redemption

Full disclosure: I graduated from the UM Law School in '85, so I have a rooting interest that may sometimes color my thinking. This is a well-told story about the Dilbert principles at work in big-time college sports. It's also the fascinating backstory of how Michigan convinced the hottest coach in the country to return to his alma mater. The only major criticism: Mr. Bacon, at one point in the book, makes it clear that Michigan demands
Sep 07, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I'm hopelessly biased on the subject, so take my review for what it is. This was a great look at the recent history of the U of M athletic department failures and the hundreds of people who worked to turn it around. It's very early to say that the problems are fixed and everything will be better, but at least I have hope (even after a football loss!) that it can be. So for that and the well and widely researched stories and information in the book, 5 stars.

I'd recommend it to fans of other
Sep 10, 2015 rated it liked it
I am only giving this 3 stars because the editing was atrocious. Too many spelling and grammar errors. St. Martin's Press should be ashamed of themselves. The research and the storytelling however deserve five stars. The author really did his homework and it showed. The book is worth reading if you are a Michigan fan.
Karre Jacobs
Sep 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just a must-read if you're a Michigan fan. Great behind-the-scenes picture of former AD Dave Brandon and just how the university wooed Harbaugh.
David Fulmer
Mar 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book gives a detailed account of the many problems faced by the University of Michigan football program and athletic department from 2010 to 2015 under the direction of athletic director Dave Brandon following a brief history of its past, characterized by the author as its rise, and concluding with the months following the resignation of Brandon, characterized as its return.

The Michigan football team is one of the oldest, richest, and most popular of all in college football and it’s a
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A must read for any Michigan fan interested in the David Brandon era of Michigan Athletics. Bacon doesn't focus as much on the football games as in past books (a good thing) and gives a fair overview of the much maligned reign of David Brandon. This is also good if you wanted to understand "The Process" that David Brandon employed to hire Brady Hoke.
Alec Rogers
Nov 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story told in Endzone begins in 2007 when tiny Appalachian State shocked the college football world by coming into Michigan Stadium and knocking off the storied Michigan Wolverines. Although they would finish 9-4 with a Citrus Bowl victory, coach Lloyd Carr was done. Controversy then ensued when Michigan recruited away ("stole") West Virginia's Rich Rodriquez. But under "RichRod" and successor Brady Hoke, Michigan would average less than seven wins a season from 2008-2014.

The results on the
Dec 04, 2016 rated it really liked it
A very enjoyable book even if you are not a "die hard" Michigan man. The emphasis on college sports over academics is quite troubling. Yet the relentless passion I have seen from Michigan fans that I know makes you think there is something to it all. I have to admit I didn't mind a few years ago seeing Michigan get "knocked off its laurels"-- misplaced arrogance by Michigan fans wasn't always a simple stereotype. Seeing their "little brother" manhandle them for a few years made me enjoy their ...more
Sep 28, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love John U. Bacon's books! Here is the story of how Dave Brandon caused a wide gulf between the University of Michigan's Athletic Department and the students, alumni, lettermen, and fans. He made one major mistake after another - firing coaches, raising ticket prices, alienating the students, and running his department in the mode of a big corporation where the only concern was revenue. With the full support of President Mary Sue Coleman, Brandon was in complete control. Although ...more
Sep 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Sometimes, being a high-brow English major, I forget the value in reading a book for the pure, high octane love of the subject. With the crisp autumn air starting to creep in and the inaugural year of Jim Harbaugh off to a start, there is no better time to read a book that delves into the recent turmoil and triumph of University of Michigan's athletic office.

For Michigan fans, this will be a detailed reminder of where we've been and leaves with the promise of where we might go forward.

Sep 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book felt like forever. But it's actually really interesting for a certain segment of the population (people who read anything about sports, college football fans, the University of Michigan community, prospective athletic directors), minus one thing: the pages long football game descriptions. Look, I like football books, but those didn't feel necessary to me, in this book. We get it, they're bad. The real people in this book, their stories are what drive this car. Their stories are what ...more
Jeremy Kaufman
Sep 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kathy McC
Oct 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was a book that had everything- extensive research, historical roots, human interest stories, game replays, and a love for Michigan football shining through. Bacon does a terrific job of presenting information from all viewpoints, but he also presents the "human" side of the legacy that is Michigan.

"The Midwest is so flat that you can see three state capitals just by standing on a bench. But the area comes with a set of beliefs recognizable to anyone who grew up here. Chief among them is
Sep 05, 2015 rated it really liked it
Despite the title, the book is really about the rise and fall of Dave Brandon in the context of Michigan athletics. Landing Harbaugh as football coach is really the result of the University of Michigan realizing how far they have drifted and how unhappy die hard fans and alumni had become. If you have a connection to the University of Michigan it is a must read. If not, it is still a fascinating look at how leadership and culture work and impact results in big time college athletics. Leadership, ...more
Kathy Moberg
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
John U. Bacon delivers a real page-turner. I learned a lot and was entertained. I was also appalled by how badly things went wrong within the U-M athletic department. I found it very fair, too. No one is demonized, which would have been very easy to do. Bacon walks a fine line. Go Blue!

The main negatives about the book are the typos, but he did write the book in a ridiculously short period of time. It's hard to catch the typos when on deadline like that (he and the publisher wanted to get the
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Aug 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was excited to win a copy of Endzone on Goodreads. The Michigan man that I live with, who lives and breathes Michigan football 365 days a year, read this book cover to cover and absolutely loved it. He kept sharing sections out loud, and each was wonderful. Now that he has finished, I will get this book back and I will be able to read it start to finish. Great book, great team, Go Blue!
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John U. Bacon has written for Time, The New York Times, and ESPN Magazine, among other publications, earning national honors. He is the author of five books on sports and business, including Three and Out, Bo’s Lasting Lessons (with Bo Schembechler), a New York Times and Wall Street Journal business bestseller. Bacon teaches at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan and is a ...more
“Michigan wasn’t broken for over a century. But when it finally cracked, from the inside out, the people who knew its history rose to fix it, and restore the meaning of a simple, timeless saying: This is Michigan.” 1 likes
“When I teach at Michigan, on the first day I tell the students, “You will not miss class. You will not be late to class. You will not use a laptop, or a cell phone, or wear a hat. My late-paper policy is simple: There will be no late papers, ever. That is my ‘late-paper policy.’ Why? This is Michigan.” 1 likes
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