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29 November 2006

JSU Faculty Member Dr. Willie Hey Writes Book

Dr. Willie Hey

Dr. Willie Hey, a Professor within the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation at JSU has written a book titled “The Hawks Last Flight: Our Quest for a Championship.” The book is a true story that chronicles the last basketball team that made the state playoffs from Marthaville High School in Marthaville, Louisiana, the high school which Hey graduated from in 1978.

Hey, who was raised in Natchitoches Parish, Louisiana, was a four-year letterman, three time all-district, three time all-Natchitoches Parish, and one time all-state basketball player at Marthaville High School. Hey and his classmates began playing basketball together in the fifth grade and continued until their senior year of high school in 1978 during which they accomplished their goal of participating in the state playoffs.

Hey said, “I have wanted to write about our basketball team for a while and during the summer of 2006 I finally decided it was time to write a book about our team and share our unique and unusual story. The story has been in the back of my mind since we graduated from high school in 1978; therefore, when I began the process of gathering information and writing, I had to rely on my long-term memory, personal interpretations, and self-reflections to reconstruct the off-the-court events that occurred as accurately as I could. However, the game highlights and pictures in the book are from newspapers clippings and MHS yearbooks.”

When asked about the genre of his book Hey responded by saying, “I believe "The Hawks Last Flight" can best be described as part autobiographical and part human interest story with an inspirational story line and a dash of humor added for good measure. The events mentioned reflect my teenage trials and tribulations, my personal internal struggles and challenges as a young adolescent, and my experiences and development as a high school basketball player. Part of my intent was to show how a few basketball players made a difference not just in themselves and a small country school but made a difference in an entire community. The book is a journey about self-discovery, self-realization, winning and losing, the highs and lows of life and athletics, but most importantly about how dreams can come true for anyone who dedicates themselves and works hard to achieve their goals in athletics and in life."

Hey states, “At the time no one realized how significant our 1978 basketball season would be or how much that season would add to the history of an already rich Marthaville High School basketball tradition. Marthaville High School was closed due to consolidation in 1981; therefore, our 1978 season was the last year a Marthaville basketball team would ever participate in the state playoffs.”

Hey attributes the successes of the 1978 team to their hard work and dedication to be successful but, most importantly, to the bond they formed as friends, classmates, and teammates. Hey believes the 1978 MHS team persevered through the worst and best of times, both in and out of the gym and when they laced up their sneakers and stepped on the basketball court they collectively had one objective, “beat the pants off our opponents as badly as we could.”

Hey states, “All the players on the 1978 team had that kind of attitude because we refused to accept losing, we refused to quit, and we epitomized the definition of a team.” The book also contains a small portion of Louisiana basketball history and I believe "The Hawks Last Flight" may be viewed by some as a coming of age story.”

Hey believes the book will also be of interest to past, current, and future small school basketball players and coaches in Louisiana and elsewhere who are looking for inspiration for themselves and their team by identifying with the behind-the-scenes struggles of one player and one determined team as they strive to reach their goals. In any event, Hey’s hope is whoever reads “The Hawks Last Flight: Our Quest for a Championship” enjoys the true story of the “The Team.”

Hey’s book will be released within the next two weeks and can be purchased online at and selected book stores.

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