Third and Long book cover

Winner of the Independent Book Publishers Association Popular Fiction Award

From Sports Illustrated

(6/28 issue), Third and Long named as one of four books recommended in their “Summer Reads” section.

“Like a Harold Hill of football, an inscrutable former Notre Dame halfback alights in a moribund, gridiron-mad Midwestern factory town. As a plant manager Nick Nocero revives Longview’s fortunes; as a coach he resurrects its high school team. Early on in this sly, lyrical novel (think Friday Night Lights meets All the Right Moves, only funny) we figure out that all may not be what it seems, but Katz (Hot Air) makes us root for his put-upon characters. And have you ever read that a placekick ‘lifted like a heron off a tranquil pond, in a perfect trajectory over the crossbar’?”

Read the full article on

“This novel is so good-hearted, so life-affirming, it’s a joy to read. Longview is a dying Midwest factory town that finds hope when a former Notre Dame football star becomes manager of the plant that is the town’s biggest employer. But who is this stranger who also takes over coaching the high school football team?

Like ‘Your Presence is Requested at Suvanto,’ part of this story is narrated by the communal ‘we.’ What Katz does so well is evoke the feelings of love the people have for their town and their close connections, even when the football team keeps losing. Katz clearly has compassion for all of his characters, and some of his descriptions of their feelings are so beautiful you’ll want to read whole paragraphs several times.”

—Mary Ann Grossman, St. Paul Pioneer Press

“a timely, evocative story of small-town America and the reclamation of ideals.”

Akron Beacon Journal

Read the full review on

“Made Right is surviving without prospering; the owners are respected but not feared; labor relations are placid despite recent layoffs and worries about more if a deal is struck with visiting Koreans. The long-time football coach is unimaginative and his teams not very good, but townsfolk attend all of the games, enjoying the occasional victories and not feeling too bad about losses. People gossip without viciousness, drink without drunkenness, for the most part regard each other with detached goodwill… Third and Long seems to be Bob Katz’s own ‘Hail Mary,’ an attempt half-desperate, half-hopeful, to reach an audience in ways made possible by changes in our commercial literary culture.”

—Michael Oriard, Journal of the Sport Literature Association

Read the full review

“With football season in full swing, it’s a worthwhile read about a declining small town during an intriguing autumn.”

–Minnesota Star Tribune

Read the full review on

From Forbes Magazine online on how “Third and Long” relates to business leadership

From the Ohio online arts and culture magazine

“‘Third and Long’ takes place in small town America where the people find their fates in the hand of a former Notre Dame football star, whose management of the town’s factory will make the town’s future, or send it spiraling into obscurity and poverty. A fine story of the struggles of modern small town America, ‘Third and Long’ is a choice and recommended read.”

— From Midwest Book Review

“Third and Long is a joy to read because the narrator is frank and self-deprecating, and the writing is so vivid. I found myself re-reading lines and passages over and over just to savor the writing.”

Library of the Mind

Read the full review on Library of the Mind

“Katz consciously places his fictional company town of Longview, Ohio, in the Rust Belt-era, spending much of the novel trying to capture what that means… Time and narration are the tools Katz uses to create the post-industrial Ohio Valley.”

Cleveland Review

Read the full review at