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"Dodgeville: Capturing Hearts" chronicles the 1963-64 state-title winning Dodger basketball squad

11/22/2013, 5:30pm CST
By Mark Miller

Wisconsin used a single-class format back in 1964 when tiny Dodgeville captured the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association state basketball championship.

Think about that for a minute – one class for all 400-plus high schools.

Times have certainly changed over the last half century as the WIAA now crowns five champions in boys’ basketball.

For the members of that 1964 Dodgeville team, and most definitely for the town itself, the state title in a one-class format is a great source of pride.

And author Rick Birk has put together an in-depth portrayal of the 1963-64 season for fans of high school basketball everywhere who want to learn more about that incredible Dodgeville team.

“Dodgeville: Capturing Hearts” is now available through GO-5 Books by visiting the website at www.go5books.com. You can also purchase a copy by contacting the Dodgeville Area Scholarship Fund, Inc., at 608-574-0267. Proceeds from the sale of the book will benefit the Dodgeville Area Scholarship Fund.

“I played basketball at Kettle Moraine High School, graduating in 1969 and attended UW-Milwaukee on a basketball scholarship,” Birk said. “In 1963 and 1964, I viewed the state-tournament games on television and the Dodgeville teams became my role models.

“Dodgeville inspired me to work hard, never quit and instilled a belief that if I can dream it, they can make it happen. Now after 50 years, I have met my heroes and feel very fortunate to have written their incredible story.”

Here is a quick introduction to whet your appetite for the book …

“In 1963 Dodgeville coach John “Weenie” Wilson was on a mission to both nurture and build a class of champions and further enhance Dodgeville pride. Coach Wilson, a highly accomplished athlete and motivator in his own right, would take a group of gifted, dedicated, hard-working student-athletes indoctrinated with small-town values and put them on a course that lifted the Dodgeville basketball program to undreamed-of heights, to state and even national prominence. Just how did he go about adding to this legacy that was already such a source of pride? All of this is the phenomenon that is curious, instructive and, above all, inspiring. This is the Dodgeville story.”

Dodgeville beat heavily favored Milwaukee North 59-45 in the championship game to stamp its place in Wisconsin high school basketball lore.

Introductions from University of Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan and former Wisconsin coach Dick Bennett are included in the book. 

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