WATERLOO -- Anytime Dale Anderson gets together with his former high school wrestling coach, Bob Siddens, the story comes up.
"When I started at Michigan State, there is nobody in history that was more miserable than me," said Anderson, a two-time Waterloo West state champion. "Everything went wrong with everything.
"I was getting whipped on the mat by everybody and I couldn't figure out what was wrong. It turns out I had a case of the mono that the doctor said was the worst he'd ever seen."
During Anderson's struggles, Siddens ran into Spartan head coach Grady Peninger at the Big Ten tournament.
"I asked Grady how Dale was doing and Grady said he is okay, but I don't think he will make the team," Siddens recalled. "I told Grady, 'Then you don't know the Dale Anderson I know.'"
Once the mono was diagnosed and treated, Anderson turned out much better than okay. His individual championship in 1967 as a junior helped Michigan State win the Big Ten's first NCAA wrestling team championship.
"I saw Grady after that tournament and he says to me, 'I guess I have to eat my words on Dale,'" laughed Siddens.
That story is also one of Anderson's favorites in his new book, "A Spartan Journey -- Michigan State's 1967 Miracle on the Mat," that was recently released.
Anderson won two NCAA titles for MSU before going on to a law career where he started as a professor at MSU and authored several books focusing on constitutional law and the justice function.
The Spartan Journey is Anderson's first book that doesn't deal with law and he said it has been a three-year labor of love.
"We were a watershed moment in college wrestling history and I knew I wanted to write about it," Anderson said. "It was a watershed moment that Michigan State beat Oklahoma State, who won just about every year beforehand."
Anderson also writes about growing up in Iowa, moving to Waterloo in the sixth grade, falling in love with wrestling and being teammates with Dan Gable.
"Do I have a favorite story? Yeah. But I think my favorite part of the book is I got to write about this incredible journey I had from being a nobody at Michigan State and everybody on the team wiping the mat with me to helping win a team national championship."