One book wasn't enough to satisfy former Northwest Missouri State women's basketball coach Gene Steinmeyer's zest for writing and telling stories about his eventful life within the game of basketball.
He had to come out with a second one.
Produced in roughly a year's time, Steinmeyer's newest paper-back creation is called "27-Two Tales of Perfection." Published by Rush Printing in Maryville, it chronicles the stories of the two teams he was part of in Clatonia, Neb., that went undefeated and won a state championship.
One was the 1957-1958 Clatonia (Neb.) boys basketball team. The other was the 1982-1983 Wilber-Clatonia (Neb.) girls basketball team. Both finished 27-0, providing Steinmeyer with a natural beginning to the book's title.
A native of Clatonia, Steinmeyer grew up rooting for the high school's boys basketball team and still recalls some of the games he watched when he was in second grade. His uncle coached the boys team a year before they brought home the title.
"You felt ownership of the team," said Steinmeyer. "They were your heroes."
That was an emotional time for Steinmeyer who lost his mother right before the 1958 state tournament. Clatonia was also recovering from a killing spree that claimed the lives of two nearby high school students.
A quarter-century later, Steinmeyer coached the consolidated Wilber-Clatonia girls team to a Class C State Championship. It was the school's first in girls basketball and happened amid another set of trying circumstances.
Northwest's head coach from 1999-2011, Steinmeyer became inspired to tell the story of both championship teams while he was still working on his first book, "When the Nets Came Down for Brenda," an emotional account of one of his former players that battled cancer in 1983.
He was given the go-ahead by a banker in Clatonia who was a member of the 1958 team.
"I didn't know how people would accept me as an author," said Steinmeyer. "I'm a local boy that coached a little bit. I wanted somebody to give me the 'OK.' I handed him the book about Brenda and said 'read this. I want to do a book about the two teams. If you think I can do it, tell me.' He didn't read the book. He just said to do it. Outside of maybe a highway sign, these teams would never be remembered unless you put it in paper. Hopefully, they'll be remembered for a long time now."
Steinmeyer says this book required a lot more research than his first one. He estimates doing interviews with over 20 former players and coaches.
The book is told through their eyes and Steinmeyer's personal recollections, stretching 224 pages in length with a few pictures sprinkled in.
Page 2 of 2 - It contains a prelude to each team, 34 chapters that go back and forth between the two seasons and an epilogue.
The last chapter is entitled "Where Are They Now" and updates the current happenings of all the players on both teams.
Before all that is a page called "Fading Memories" in which Steinmeyer pays tribute to his aunt Elise who passed during the writing process. The next page, titled "Bucket List," gives insight into Steinmeyer's decision to retire from coaching and launch his book-writing career.
Steinmeyer's second book was released Saturday in a special ceremony in Clatonia. It is available for purchase locally at Maryville Travel for $15. It can also be purchased online at www.whenthenetscamedownforbrenda.com.
Steinmeyer says there will be copies available at Jock's Nitch and The Student Body in the near future.
Not ready to be done with book writing just yet, Steinmeyer plans to come out with a fictional book based on his small town experiences next year.