Little Dodgeville High School captured the state of Wisconsin’s imagination with improbable appearances in consecutive state championship basketball games in 1963 and 1964. Hard-driving coach John "Weenie" Wilson was on a mission to nurture a group of champions, building on his own background of being a highly accomplished athlete and motivator.
Author Rick Birk helps readers relive this exciting and inspirational story in his book, "Dodgeville: Capturing Hearts." The book details how Wilson took a group of gifted and dedicated student-athletes, indoctrinated with small-town values, and put them on a course that lifted Dodgeville to undreamed-of heights. In an era when every school in Wisconsin competed in a single division, Dodgeville – with just 400 students – found itself matched up against schools more than four times its size as it made its state tournament runs.
After coming up one victory short in 1963, the Dodgers cruised through the regular season unbeaten and incredibly found themselves as one of the tournament favorites when they returned to Madison for the state finals in 1964. This time, against a vaunted Milwaukee North squad, the Dodgers would not be denied. Wisconsin had its own, real version of the Hoosiers story.
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