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Inspirational books for Notre Dame vs. Alabama

The matchup between Notre Dame and Alabama for the college football championship pits two football programs that for decades have yielded legendary figures -- and rich material for books. The Four Horsemen, the Bear, the Gipper, Broadway Joe, Rudy -- each nickname conjures up lasting images for even the most casual football fan.

If you need some inspirationbefore Monday night's big game, here are some books to consider:

-- "Rudy: My Story," a memoir by Rudy Ruettiger, whose inspirational story was chronicled in the movie "Rudy."  The under-sized Ruettiger dreamed of playing big-time football for the Irish but had to content himself with working for the team -- until he finally got a chance to suit up.

-- "The Last Coach" by Allen Barra, a biography of Alabama coach Bear Bryant. He created a football powerhouse with a taciturn style -- and a trademark checked fedora.

-- "Rockne: The Coach, the Man, the Legend," Jerry Brondfield's look at the Notre Dame coach who built a storied football program in South Bend before dying in a plane crash at age 43. He coached the backfield of the "Four Horsemen," and George Gipp of "Win one for the Gipper" fame.

-- "Namath," Mark Kriegel's bio of the gimpy Alabama quarterback who became known for his amazing talent as a passer -- and for living large. He went on to quarterback for the N.Y. Jets and helped the team win Super Bowl III (over the Baltimore Colts) before his knees gave out.  

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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