by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Aurora Christian football coach Don Beebe has made a career and life out of transitions.
A 1983 graduate of Kaneland High School, he suited up for the Knights and went to school at Western Illinois and Chadron State College in Nebraska.
After working construction and putting up aluminum siding in nearby towns like Montgomery, he moved on for a shot at the NFL Combine and was subsequently drafted by the Buffalo Bills.
After several years and an infamous Super Bowl swat later, Beebe went to the Green Bay Packers, where he earned a championship ring in 1997.
Beebe then moved on to the next phase of his life, operating Don Beebe’s House of Speed, and most recently, head coach of the two-time Class 3A football champion Aurora Christian Eagles.
That’s where Jim Gibson comes in.
Gibson, owner and operator of Big Talk Publishing in Aurora, met with Beebe to put a book together. The result, “Six Rings from Nowhere,” was released at Aurora Christian High School last week.
It wasn’t hard for Gibson, a veteran of the television and movie industry, to get involved and tout the story.
“What’s great is that Don isn’t a blue-chipper, he’s blue collar,” Gibson said. “He’s the guy reading that book.”
Hoopla surrounding the book should continue with the NFL playoffs on the horizon. This season marks the 20th anniversary of the Bills’ historic Wild Card round comeback against the Houston Oilers, as well as the Super Bowl swat to rob Leon Lett of a defensive touchdown.
Gibson said CBS Sports is set to be in the area to interview Beebe and Lett about the play.
“(Beebe’s) so humble about all this. He’s a guy that showed up at the same combine with a pair of old tennis shoes and a duffle bag sharing space with Deion Sanders, Troy Aikman and Barry Sanders,” Gibson said.
The book is available for purchase at houseofspeed.com, sixringsfromnowhere .com, donbeebe.com, or at Aurora Christian High School.
“This book was a no-brainer, and comes after a long process,” Gibson said. “I knew of Don before this, and as I got to know him on a much deeper level, I felt he really needed to explain his story.”
“Six Rings from Nowhere,” co-written with writer Denise Crosby, has an introduction by Beebe’s Bills teammate Jim Kelly, and a forward by his Packers teammate Brett Favre.
Included in the book are tales of Favre giving a game ball to Beebe after their Super Bowl XXXI win over the New England Patriots, and his first catch in the NFL, a touchdown pass against Houston cornerback Cris Dishman.
“(Beebe’s) a guy that was out of college football for three-and-a-half years, and decided ‘I have to get back to football,’ and that’s the beginning,” Gibson said.
Big Talk Publishing’s effort is a story of faith, hope and triumph, plus plenty of anecdotes for the most ardent football fan.
The story of the Kaneland Knight-turned construction worker-turned-wide reciever-turned-championship coach and father of four has something for everyone.
“Working with him and talking about how he got his first ring and the winner of ESPN’s first Play of the Year was great,” Gibson said. “But it’s about a guy who has the heart of a champion.”