Reviews

Praises for Hail Mary

LaVell Edwards, BYU Head Football Coach 1972–2000—I thoroughly enjoyed reading Hail Mary, and I’m grateful Ryan took the time to write it. I can’t overstate how important The Miracle Bowl victory was to the BYU football program—especially the dramatic way the victory was achieved. Ryan’s recap of the game was inspiring to read and reminded me of many interesting details I had forgotten about.

Matt Braga, BYU wide receiver 1979–80I can’t think of anyone better than Ryan Tibbitts to tell the story behind the 1980 Holiday Bowl and BYU’s comeback victory over SMU. As a member of the 1980 squad, Ryan always had his finger on the pulse of the players, coaches, and trainers. This isn’t just a story about what happened on the field that night in San Diego but what happened off the field that led to the improbable comeback.

Clay Brown, BYU tight end/punter 1976–80—Hail Mary brought back many exciting memories and revealed some interesting stories of which I was unaware. It was a pleasure to read.

Jim McMahon, BYU quarterback 1977–81—I’m happy I was the first quarterback to win a bowl game for LaVell. It was certainly an exciting fourth quarter. I remember saying on that last play, “I’m gonna throw it in the end zone, and one of you better catch it. We came too far to lose this game.” Now the rest is history, as is recounted so well in Hail Mary.

Vai Sikahema, BYU running back/return specialist 1980–81, 1984–85—I read Hail Mary slowly so as to savor every moment. I was amazed at the amount of detail and research that went into it. I was not aware of many of the details, but I was aware of the many successful lives born of that shared experience. I loved, loved the book!

Bruce Binkowski, Holiday Bowl Executive DirectorBYU put the Holiday Bowl on the college football post-season map in the early years of the game, due to their explosive offense and last-second wins. Coach Edwards’s teams appeared in the first seven games. All but one of them were down-to-the-wire nail-biters. One game determined the national championship and one became known as “The Miracle Bowl,” possibly the greatest come-from-behind victory in bowl history. I loved reliving the memories of the Miracle Bowl that Ryan Tibbitts has recorded in Hail Mary.

Scott Collie, BYU wide receiver 1978–82I had a chance to review Hail Mary, and it opened up some of my greatest memories. Holiday Bowl III will go down as the most exciting game I ever participated in and have ever seen. His account of the stories within the game and during the game week were extremely intriguing and had me often saying, “I did not know that!” I loved the book.

Scott Phillips, BYU running back 1977–80The 1980 Holiday Bowl was the most memorable game I ever played in. It is amazing how many people still remember that game. Hail Mary brought back many great memories, and it was a pleasure to read.

Bart Oates, BYU center 1977, 1980–82As you will read in Hail Mary, the 1980 Holiday Bowl was miraculous for me in a couple of ways. I’m pleased that Ryan Tibbitts has written this book to remind me of the many great and interesting things that happened to all of us during that memorable time. It was inspiring to me to read about it all again. There were even a few things I had not heard before.

Corey Pace, BYU Center/Long Snapper 1976, 1979–81—Hail Mary rekindles the great memories I have had for all of these years. December 19, 1980, was much more than just a game for me. . . . It was the night before I got married in the Los Angeles Temple. The game, the play, the extra point to win the game will always be a part of what turned out to be a rather memorable weekend. It’s very easy for me to say, “There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t think of the 1980 Holiday Bowl.” Go Cougars!

Calvin Close, BYU offensive Lineman 1976, 1979–81Ryan Tibbitts and I were roommates for several years at BYU, and I learned that he pays close attention to details. I’m happy he applied that skill to recap our victory in Holiday Bowl III—the biggest victory I was ever involved in. It was great to relive those memories.

Dan Plater, BYU wide receiver 1978–81—The 1980 Holiday Bowl was a life-changing experience for those who were involved in it. Memories of that game are still inspiring to many of us, and I am proud to say that I was a member of that team. I am happy that my teammate Ryan Tibbitts has recorded those wonderful memories in Hail Mary. It was a great read.

Lee Johnson, BYU punter and kicker 1980–84—Hail Mary was an excellent read. It brought back some wonderful and terrifying memories for me. Holiday Bowl III was an unbelievable comeback and victory for BYU. None of us will ever forget it.

Glen Titensor, BYU defensive lineman 1978–80—Hail Mary brought back many fond memories for me. I especially enjoyed reading about my former teammates and coaches and where they have gone in the many years since Holiday Bowl III.

Bill Schoepflin, BYU defensive back 1977–80—Whenever I read about or hear the story of Holiday Bowl III, or others like it, I am reminded of the power of teamwork, how coaches and teammates placed their trust in one another, applied hard work, and accomplished an amazing thing. I am thankful for the bond the Miracle Bowl created between me and my coaches and teammates, and I am thankful for the memories that one of my teammates, Ryan Tibbitts, has recorded in Hail Mary.

Mel Farr, BYU football manager 1977–82I loved reading Hail Mary. It brought back many exciting memories of one of BYU’s greatest games. I’m so proud that I was a part of that amazing comeback.

Andy Reid, BYU offensive lineman 1978–80—Hail Mary brought back many wonderful memories for me (and my wife) and it was a fun and easy read. It reminded me how lucky we all were to be on such a great team, with wonderful administrators and coaches. When I tell other NFL coaches that I still talk to my college coach every week, they can’t believe it. Coach Edwards has been such a great mentor to me over the years.

Kyle Whittingham, Linebacker 1978–81—Hail Mary brought back great memories of playing football for my dad and winning Holiday Bowl III. I enjoyed reliving those stories.

Kurt Gunther, Kicker 1979–82The Miracle Bowl was the most amazing experience in my life. I couldn’t sleep for two weeks. All of those incredible feelings and goosebumps resurfaced in a real way as I read and reread Ryan Tibbitts’s Hail Mary. Ryan was my holder on the JV squad just one year before the Miracle Bowl. He was a great athlete, teammate, and friend and certainly the right person to write this book. He had a unique ability to connect with everyone on the team. Whether you are a huge BYU football fan or not, Hail Mary is a must-read!

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