The Junction Boys
Dent, Jim. The Junction Boys: How Ten Days in Hell With Bear Bryant
Forged a Championship Team. St. Martin's Press, New York, 1999.
This is a story of Coach Paul "Bear" Bryant's first season in 1954 at Texas A&M.
Coach Bryant, in August of 1954, took two busloads of players, 111 men, out to a
small spot in the road known as the Town of Junction. Junction was a small,
isolated town in Texas that later came to belated glory due to the things that
Coach Bryant did to, with and for the Texas A&M football team. Coach Bryant put
his players through some of the most grueling workouts and football practices known
to man. He led and drove the would-be football players during almost two weeks of
hell. Depending upon whom you talk to, it is one of the greatest coaching stories
of all time because it set the foundation and standards for later day Texas A&M Aggie
teams. Other readers and writers could conceivably look at this event as a watershed
for college football, because it was rugged Darwinism at its best, (or at its worst).
Out of the 111 players, 35 men survived the "ten-day Aggie death camp." This book
is a story of that experience and it sets the stage for the future success of the
Aggie team. Readers who love macho football will enjoy this well-written story,
and academicians and unloving critics of "big-time" football will site this story
as an example of competitive football gone haywire.
If you are a lover of Coach Bryant and have laid flowers on his grave in Birmingham
you will relate to this book and identify with the survivors who later became outstanding
players at A&M and indeed, in the nation. "The Junction Boys," as they are called,
became a part of Texas football legends. Bear, in all of his rough and tough football
coaching style, is shown in realistic detail by the authors. Again, other readers would
cite this as that which is bad about "big-time" football. You choose your heroes and you
either like or dislike Coach Bryant after reading this book.
The book is a marvelous history of the successful teams which Coach "Bear" fielded at
Texas A&M before leaving to return to Alabama for further years of glory. The teams,
the players and their contributions to football are covered in detail and there is no
doubt that the Junction experience laid the foundation for the days of glory teams
under Coach Bryant at Texas A&M. The author appears to revere the man called "Bear," and
did not spend sufficient time discussing the consequences of the Junction experience
on the players who left the team. It is a football lover's book written about a legend who
used isolation, the hot Texas sun, fluid deprivation and hard workouts to ensure that he
had the foundations of players who wanted to play for him and who loved the game of football.
Critics might ask, "Where was the college administration when all of this was taking place,
and where was responsible sports medicine practices employed?" Nonetheless, this is a
well-written story covering a unique event and period in Aggie football history. Read it
Note: These reviews compiled by Dr. Ron Hyatt. See disclaimer on