Released During March Madness, New Book Tells True Story of Playing Basketball in the Face of Race and Big Business Interference

CHARLOTTE, N.C., March 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — Former Navy pilot and White House staffer Carl McCullough’s first and likely only book, Sid and the Boys: Playing Ball in the Face of Race and Big Business, not only warms the heart with its scrappy, underdog story from 1960s heartland America but with its relevance to America today where race and corporate giants continue to impact lives. The book is already an Amazon best-seller.

McCullough, who grew up in the town of Bartlesville, Okla., where the story is based, spent the pandemic year researching and writing Sid and the Boys, the story of The Wildcats of College High School’s 1966-1967 team, who pulled off one of the greatest upsets in Oklahoma high school sports history when they won the state championship; they did so despite having multiple players well under six-foot and interference from the town’s main employer, Phillips Petroleum, which tried to sideline coach Sid Burton in favor of their handpicked candidate and to minimize the contributions of his Black athletes.

“This story deserves to be told beyond Bartlesville, Tulsa, and Oklahoma City,” McCullough told a reporter for B Magazine, Bartlesville’s city magazine. “It’s more complex, more compelling than Hoosiers and it is all true.”

McCullough, who played junior varsity for the College High School Wildcats in 1960 under the tutelage of Coach Burton, conducted interviews with Burton, now 89, and the living members of the championship team.

In an interview that can touch on race, corporate influence on communities and the value of sports, McCullough can talk about:

  • How a Facebook post ultimately led to his idea for the book
  • Ways Phillips Petroleum, the main employer, interfered with high school sports in his hometown and tried to ensure that teams were not too Black
  • The real reason why coach Burton resigned after the championship game
  • How the story he uncovered changed his view of his childhood hometown

Praise for the Book

“This story reminds me of Hoosiers. It combines high school basketball with timely social issues. Well researched and a great read.”  Jay Bilas, ESPN

“‘Sid and the Boys is not only a feel-good story about a mid-America high school basketball team.  It is a timeless tale of how fierce loyalty, selflessness, and mutual respect led a group of teenage boys and their beloved mentor to break down barriers and inspire their town. Told with heart, a keen attention to detail, and an awareness of how this undersized team fit into the big picture of a slowly evolving America, Sid and the Boys will have you cheering for the College High Wildcats as they take on corporate interference, systemic racism, and basketball opponents from around the state.” — Lon Kruger, University of Oklahoma head men’s basketball coach

“Debut author Carl McCullough has captured not only a great sports story, but provides food for thought on current issues. His treatment of racism is sensitive and timely.”  Barry Switzer, former Oklahoma Sooners and Dallas Cowboys head coach 

About the Author

Carl McCullough is a retired naval aviator and government executive who held managerial and executive positions in the Federal Aviation Administration, the White House and the Pentagon. He is a lifelong sports fan and a graduate of College High School in Bartlesville, Okla., the U.S. Naval Academy, and the Naval Postgraduate School.

Contact: Carl McCullough, (703) 609-8434;

SOURCE Carl McCullough