Born in San Diego, CA in July of 1941 Leroy grew up in Fullerton, California. In the early days, he was a less than average student (1.8 GPA at FUHS) but soon developed into a national caliber runner. At Fullerton High School he placed third in the CA state championship mile in 1958. Two years later, at Fullerton Junior College he became the State Champion in the half mile run and then the State Champion in the mile run a year later. Before he finished his running career, he had set the National record in the half-mile, three times, the school record in the mile at Occidental College and ran on five different relay teams that set national records a combined nine times.
Leroy enlisted in the USMC in 1965 and rose to the rank of captain as a member of an 8 inch, self-propelled howitzer platoon. He served one tour of duty (13 months) in Viet Nam in 1967 and mustered out of the corps in 1968. Using his GI benefits, he enrolled in graduate school at San Diego State University. His time in the Marine Corps had developed a new attitude about education in general and exercise physiology in particular. In his first semester, he enrolled in four history classes to make up his academic minor and saw his GPA jump to a very credible 3.0. Then for the next two years he earned straight A’s and published his Master’s Thesis. Writing the thesis was the first indication of his love of writing. His social life soon took a back seat to his research and writing. He even joked with friends that “someday I’m going to write a book”.READ MORE
As an Islamic scholar and one who is deeply involved in Christian ministry and global outreach, this book is very helpful to many in several ways. It gives you an excellent understanding of radicalism in general and Islamic radicalism specifically. It is a very readable introduction to Islam without all the details. It is on the cutting edge and I recommend it to everyone. The idea of the book is incredible-perfect for busy people. I love Mr. Neal’s unique approach and hope he writes more books.”
“Leroy does a masterful job combining his true story with that of his fictitious high school friend. In the process he speaks truth about the differences between followers of Christ and those of Islam. This is a must read for anyone who loves a good story with a meaningful twist.”
“The title of the book intrigued me so much, I had to read it. What a fascinating life journey, one of doubt, curiosity, trust, loyalty, and unconditional love and friendship. I couldn’t lay it down until I knew how it ended. Boy was I shocked.”
“Leroy is probably the most logical person to write this biography. They had virtually parallel careers and both went on to become excellent track coaches themselves. Most important, he was able to highlight how successful athletes can have very different personalities and characteristics.”
“Written by someone who has ‘been there and done that’, Leroy, a 4:05 miler himself in the early ‘60s, is a wonderful story teller. He chronicles the life, both on and off the track, of one of the most colorful and interesting distance runners of his time.”