COLUMBIA- Tom Krause knew his senior football season at Boonville High School was going to be special.
So much so that before the season he went out and printed out 500 cards reading: Boonville Pirates 1974 State Champions.
Fast forward to the end of the season and, after 11 consecutive wins, the Pirates had their state championship.
Krause tells the story of that team in his book “Go Big Blue: The Story of the 1974 Boonville Pirates,” self-published and released in June.
“We had a good year our junior year,” said Krause, the starting center. “We knew coming back that was a positive thing we could build on. We were going to make our statement, that was our goal.”
Krause, 53, lives in Nixa, Mo., and spent 31 years teaching and coaching in the Missouri Public School system before retiring last school year. He has been a motivational speaker for about 10 years and has 10-20 speaking engagements a year.
His next speech will be in September at the Missouri Retired Teachers Association in Jefferson City.
Krause was inspired to write the book after mentioning the team in a speech in March at the Voluntary Protection Programs Participants' Association regional meeting in Corpus Christi, Texas. He used the Boonville football team’s story as an example of reaching for goals.
“Everybody was in awe listening to him,” said Pam Mendiola , Vice Chair of the Region VI VPPPA Board of Directors. “When he was finished he had a standing ovation.”
Soon after Krause decided to start writing the book.
“The reception was so gratifying and positive, on the way home, I decided to write it down,” Krause said.
Krause is author of three other books and has contributed to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” series. “Go Big Blue” is Krause’s first self-published book.
Krause chronicles Boonville’s undefeated romp to the state championship and also the support the team received from the community.
Under the guidance of coach Gene Reagan , the Pirates met defending state champion Washington in the 3A state title game. Despite playing on a snowy field, the Pirates put up 34 points in the second half to win the title.
For Krause, winning the state championship wasn’t the end of the journey.
“The actual winning of the state championship game was an ending point, but I always tell people that state championship was a gift that keeps on giving,” Krause said. “There’s a bond between the teammates and coaches that’s stood for more than 30 years.”
As for his bold prediction prior to the championship run, Krause didn’t have everyone convinced of an inevitable title.
“People were very accepting at the time, but you could sense a little doubt,” Krause said. “Justifiability so, because Boonville had never won a team state title in any sport.”
But, in the end, Krause’s prophecy came true, and he’s never too far away from one of his cards. He keeps one in his wallet, and others in his office and safety deposit box.
“I felt very strongly this needed to be said,” Krause said. “If you are going to accomplish things, you need to put it out there everyday.”