Saucy Characters, Indeed

These two men have seen as many football games as Belichick and Brady. One is a retired college football coach, the other, a sportswriter-turned-P.R.-exec. The coach now writes. The scribe now refs. Both are Italian. One is the father of four girls, the other, the father of four boys. Both had a profound impact on my life. And both just reviewed The Long Shadow of Hope, my first novel, the setting for which is a college football program at Lookout Mountain, Tennessee.

Shadow Copy thumbnailWhat else does Coach Tony DeMeo and Tom Aluise have in common besides a love of laughter, a taste for great pasta, and a boatload of athletic stories? Insight. Here’s what the coach, who once worked cubicle-to-cubicle with “Jimmy V” Valvano at Iona, and the sportswriter, who knew NFL Hall-of-Famer Randy Moss before he scored his first high school touchdown, had to say about The Long Shadow of Hope.

Tony DeMeo: The Long Shadow of Hope is a great mystery for any football fan. I really enjoyed the way Spradling developed the characters in the book. By the end, I felt like I knew them. The plot was intriguing & suspenseful. I think this book would make a great TV movie mystery.

Tom Aluise: Andy has created a work of fiction that is stocked full of interesting characters, jaw-dropping plot twists and page-turning drama. Not usually a big fan of fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading Andy’s second book!

Powerful words from icons in their respective fields: DeMeo, who, after head coaching stints at his alma mater Iona, Mercyhurst, and Washburn, returned The University of Charleston (WV, formerly Morris Harvey) to football glory before his retirement; and Aluise, a Marshall University grad and beloved 30-plus-year Charleston Daily Mail veteran. And, reviews 27 and 28 for “Hope” on I am quite thankful to both of these fine gentlemen for their time and efforts.

CommonsenseIncidentally, I’m currently reading Coach Tony D’s Commonsense Rules for Everyday Leaders (also available on, a book filled with inspirational stories and simple, everyday rules and insights for achieving goals and succeeding at being a leader in any field, told by T.D. in a way only he can tell it. I highly recommend it!



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