Mike Pressler walked into the bottom-floor meeting room of the Murray Building and, as he had done hundreds of times over a 16-year career at Duke University, prepared to address his men's lacrosse team. Forty-six players sat in theater-style chairs, all eyes riveted forward. It was 4:30 P.M. on Wednesday, April 5, 2006. The program's darkest hour had arrived in an unexpected and explosive announcement.
Pressler, a three-time ACC Coach of the Year, informed his team that its season was canceled and that he had "resigned", effective immediately. While his words reverberated off the walls, hysteria erupted. Players cried, confused over a course of events that had spun wildly out of control. What began as an off-campus team party with two hired strippers had accelerated into a rape investigation, one that exposed prosecutorial misconduct, shoddy police work, an administration's rush to judgment, and the media's disregard for the facts, dividing both a prestigious university and the city of Durham.
Wiping away tears, Pressler demonstrated the steely resolve that helped him win more than 200 games. For the next 30 minutes, Pressler put his personal situation aside and encouraged his players to stick together. He also made a bold promise: "One day, we will get a chance to tell the world the truth. One day".
This is that day.
Pressler, who has not done an interview since the saga began, has handed his private diary from those three weeks to New York Times best-selling author Don Yaeger, exposing vivid details, including the day Pressler was fired, when the coach asked Athletic Director Joe Alleva why the school "wasn't willing to wait for the truth" to come out. "It's not about the truth anymore," Alleva said to the coach in a signature moment that said it all. In addition to Pressler, Yaeger interviewed more than 75 key figures intimately involved in the case. The result is a tale that defies logic.
"Pressler, the tale's sacrificial lamb, avoids a bitter or accusatory stance. Instead he adds color and insight to Yaeger's rigorous, efficient investigation; for anyone who got caught up in the story, this is a must-read." (Publishers Weekly)
"Even if you didn't follow the case, you will like the book because the danger of a rogue prosecutor is exposed." (Brian Kilmeade, Fox News)
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