Leesburg author Dave Ungrady tackles one of the most tragic college sports stories in history in his latest book, “Born Ready: The Mixed Legacy of Len Bias.” “Born Ready” marks the third book Ungrady, a University of Maryland alum, has written about Maryland athletics.
Just two days after the famed Boston Celtics selected him with the second pick in the 1986 NBA Draft, Bias, a two-time ACC Player of the Year at the University of Maryland, was pronounced dead of cardiac arrest induced by cocaine use.
“I went into this knowing it was going to be an impactful story,” said Ungrady, who played soccer and ran track at Maryland, serving as a captain on the 1980 Terrapins track and field squad.
“I wanted to tell the story through the words of the people that were most affected by his death ... I know it was going to be a tough book to do.”
Ungrady decided to write the book, his fourth overall, after watching ESPN Films “30 for 30: Without Bias in 2009.” Ungrady’s goal was to offer more perspective on Bias’ life before that tragic day and how it affected many people where the documentary primarily focused on how Bias died and the immediate aftermath.
“It was my goal to talk to all of his teammates from his senior year. I talked to all of them except one,” Ungrady said. “I think my connections to Maryland athletics helped.”
One of the book’s biggest revelations is the fact that Bias was a recreational drug user well before he died. Many people believed, or wishfully thought, that Bias used drugs for the first time on that fatal day.
Ungrady said his goal with the book was to give readers, “A better understanding of Bias as a person and the pressures he felt as he became a better player. A better grasp of his vast legacy, and a better understanding of the human toll his death had on both people who knew him well and others who admired him from afar.”
As for the final product, “I am happy with who I was able to talk with,” Ungrady said. “I really consider this a piece of journalism more than anything else. There is very little opinion in this.”
“Born Ready,” a self-published book that came out in December 2011, is Ungrady’s fourth release. His other books include: “Unlucky: A Season of Struggle in Minor League Professional Soccer,” “Legends of Maryland Basketball” and “Tales From the Maryland Terrapins.”
Ungrady, who lives in Clarks Gap with his wife Sharon and son Cayden, will appear with a small group of authors signing books at the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Hall of Fame ceremony June 10 in North Carolina. Bob Costas and John Feinstein will be inducted into the Hall of Fame at the ceremony.
Ungrady is sure there will be another book, but doesn’t know what the subject matter will be yet. He hopes to add more elements to “Born Ready” in another printing in a couple of years.
“I have started a media and publishing consulting business, GoGrady Media. And I will continue promoting this book vigorously through the end of the year. Under GoGrady Media, I am planning to start the Born Ready Project, a program to help youth determine for what they were “born ready” and to teach them the importance of making the right decisions.”
For purchase information on his books or to learn more about Ungrady, log on to http://www.daveungrady.com
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