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Children's Fiction Football

Crack Coach

by (author) Steven Sandor

James Lorimer & Company Ltd., Publishers
Initial publish date
Sep 2015
Football, Drugs, Alcohol, Substance Abuse
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2015
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Sep 2015
    List Price

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Recommended Age, Grade, and Reading Levels

  • Age: 13 to 18
  • Grade: 9 to 12
  • Reading age: 9 to 10


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.

About the author

Steven Sandor is a veteran and somewhat grumpy sports and music journalist. He spent seven years working with the Edmonton Oilers Hockey Club. The former editor-in-chief of Edmonton's Vue Weekly, Steve is now a senior editor with 24 Hours in Toronto. His work has appeared in magazines and newspapers in Canada, the US, the UK, Hungary and the Czech Republic. He enjoys writing about sports that have goals—hockey and soccer. Steve enjoys spending as much time as he can with his wife and son, and making strange electronic music. He supports Arsenal. For more on Steve please visit or read his blog at

Steven Sandor's profile page


  • Commended, Best Books for Kids & Teens -- Canadian Children's Book Centre

Editorial Reviews

"Very appealing to student athletes. Quick read for reluctant readers!"

NetGalley Reviewer

"While more politics than sports, this is fast and unafraid of issues."

Kirkus Reviews

"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."

Educator and NetGalley Reviewer

"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."


"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

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