St. Martin’s fires up ‘Yes’

Tale of triumph could publish as early as fall 2001

Publishers don’t often buy pitches, but on the basis of one meeting with the author, St. Martin’s Press has paid a substantial five-figure sum for the true tale of a football coach who inspires a group of special ed students to attend NASA space camp.

“Yes We Can” tells of Grand Rapids football coach and special ed teacher Mike Kersjes’ efforts to raise the money to send a group of handicapped and marginalized children to the Huntsville, Ala., camp, where they participated in events such as crash simulations and mock takeoffs. The children eventually set records and were voted camp MVPs.

Kersjes has yet to be matched with a co-writer, but St. Martin’s acquiring editor Joe Veltre envisions a publication date as early as fall 2001.

Kersjes was repped in the deal by Frank Weyman in New York and the Artists Agency’s Micky Freiberg in L.A.

Freiberg also put together the deal for National Aeronautics & Space Administration engineer Homer H. Hickam Jr.’s “Rocket Boys: A Memoir,” which became the Universal feature “October Sky.”

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