2014 Pulitzer Prize nominee. Historical fiction account of two interwoven life stories, of Lute Olson and Joe Parella, and how their service to Jesus Christ changed Tucson, Arizona and the world forever. A modern day western about a coach, a cop and Christ. More
Tucson, Arizona had long been the place where illegal immigration and drug trafficking were common and criminals came to vacation.
In 1972, Joe Parella came west from New Jersey, a descendent of the families portrayed in The Godfather, with a calling to minister to one of the lost Tribes of Israel, the Pascua-Yaquis.
God used him as a cop, busting drug dealers, fighting crime, and cheering for the Wildcats.
He would defy the voices of cynicism in his life that he would not amount to much by getting his college degree from the University of Arizona, where he fell in love with the State’s motto, “Bear Down”.
In 1982, Lute Olson was hired away from the University of Iowa to resurrect a lethargic and dying mens basketball program in Tucson. He would turn it into a national powerhouse and a symbol of global greatness, one that would unite a city long-divided by racism, to unite behind, of all things, a basketball program.
Using the sports trading cards made famous by the success of Olson's program, Joe was able to be the real-life version of Dances With Wolves and the Untouchables among the Pascua-Yaqui Tribe, winning over the Pascua-Yaqui kids with autographed trading cards of future NBA stars, and because of his eviction of drug dealers from their land, the US government finally agreed to issue them a license to operate casinos.
Both men became pillars in their community. Both men served Jesus Christ. These are there stories.