Mr. Townsend and the Polish Prince tells the inside story of how Townsend and Purzycki, often with no one else in their corner, built a relationship of trust that grew into a strong friendship and ultimately placed Delaware State on a path of football success unimaginable when they first teamed up. The duo used mutual respect, common sense, and no small amount of humor to withstand controversies big and small.
In the book, Purzycki reflects on his youth, spent in an all-white neighborhood in Newark, New Jersey. He had grown up around people who didn’t always have the highest opinion of African Americans and as a kid, he had come to accept their views as the way things were. It was his participation in sports, playing with and against black athletes in high school and college, that opened the door to his own eventual personal belief that we are all more alike than we think.
This is a story about two men who took a huge chance together. And it is a story about the people who were at Delaware State in the early 1980s. The students, student-athletes, teachers, administrators, and fans. It’s a story of intolerance becoming tolerant. It’s a story of something unacceptable becoming accepted. It’s a story about losing that became a story about a winning.
It has origins at a football game on a damp night in the Pacific Northwest in November of 1980, and on a hot night in Newark, New Jersey during the riots that scarred that city in July of 1967. It’s a story of how sometimes something that begins at rock bottom can end up on the mountain top.
And, it’s about time it was told.
Mike Gastineau has been a fixture in the Seattle sports broadcasting community since 1991. Until 2012 he anchored the afternoon drive time slot on KJR radio, talking with local sports fans, interviewing national newsmakers and pontificating about the relationships between fans, team owners, players and the guy with a beer next to you in the stands. In December of 2012 he resigned from KJR to pursue other interests. He is now a regular contributor to Pearl Jam Radio on Sirius XM channel 22. He does long form interviews with athletes, musicians, and other special guests. Gastineau's previous books include The Great Book of Seattle Sports Lists with Art Thiel and Steve Rudman (Running Press, 2009) and he has been a contributor to The Seattle Times, Lindy's College Football and The Grand Salami.