Clermont countian pens book on Bengals’ comeback

December 14th, 2006    Author: Richard Crawford    Filed Under: Sports

Lonnie Wheeler, a New Richmond area resident and sports columnist of “The Cincinnati Post,” has recently completed writing sections for “The Road Back, The Cincinnati Bengals.”

This book is the seventh that Wheeler, originally from Missouri, has written.

“This book is unabashedly for the fans,” he said. “We’ve all been suffering with this team for so long and now we’re enjoying it.”

Some of Wheeler’s other books include biographies of professional baseball stars and hall of famers Henry “Hank” Aaron and Bob Gibson. He has also written books about University of Kentucky basketball, and the life of a former mayor of Detroit, Coleman Young.

His first book, written in 1988, was titled "The Cincinnati Game," a story of baseball in Cincinnati in general, not completely about the Cincinnati Reds, in particular.

"The Road Back" is published by Orange Frazer Press that is located in Wilmington, Ohio.

"I've done other books with them and I have a working relationship with their publisher John Baskin. He called me one day and asked me if I'd do some text blocks," said Wheeler.

"When I began working with John we decided on working on Bengal personalities. We made a list to work from instead of writing to the pictures." The author's writing points out interesting historical facts and personal recollections and observations.

Wheeler has a fairly long-term Clermnt County background. He moved to the New Richmond area in 1985 with his wife, Martie, and their three children.

Abby graduated from New Richmond High School in 2001.

Clark graduated from NRHS in 2004. Today he is pursuing a most unusual, but exciting work project. He has begun a program of recording the music of African bushmen. He made 20 hours of recordings that are now at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D. C. "He loves their music," said Wheeler of his son who continues to work on this project while in Africa.

The youngest of the trio is Emily who is a senior at New Richmond this year. An outstanding athlete she has had to miss her final prep season of soccer and basketball competition because of an injury.

Wheeler has nothing but praise for Thomas A. Witte who shot all of the excellent photographs for the book.

"Working on this book was not an arduous task. I enjoyed working on it. It was easier than writing a book from start to finish," said Wheeler who covers the Bengals, Xavier University basketball, and the University of Cincinnati and the University of Kentucky athletics.

"(The book) begins when (Bengals head coach) Marvin (Lewis) arrives," said Wheeler. "I enjoyed working on the way Marvin developed a program from his plans and then attending to all the details involved. It was interesting and fun to learn from all of this."

The author reflected on some thoughts he has made about some of the Bengals whom he got to meet and observe.

"(Wide receiver) Chad Johnson is fun. You can't help but like him. . .

"(Halfback) Rudi Johnson is a good, solid guy. He has a good work ethic. . .

"(Wide receiver) T. J. Houshmandzadeh is cocky, yet he is interesting. . .

"(Offensive tackle) Willie Anderson is a favorite with everybody. . .

"(Quarterback) Carson Palmer is not colorful, but he is a solid, good guy. He's candid and he's extremely dedicated. . .

"I admire the job (head coach) Marvin's (Lewis) done, but he's guarded in what he says and what he does, but I can understand that."

"The Road Back" is an excellent keepsake for any fans of the Cincinnati Bengals, the National Football League, or Cincinnati and area sports in general. Witte's photography is excellent and if you look carefully enough in the many photos of fans you will probably find people you know that is something else I enjoyed about this book.

And, or course, the writings of Clermont County's own, Lonnie Wheeler, are very interesting, educational, and enjoyable.

Wheeler's writing can make any Clermont countian proud of the work of one of their fellow citizens.

He said, "I like living in Clermont County and New Richmond. This is a great community. The people out here in Clermont County are individualistic and self-sufficient."
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