116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
Maybe you’ve seen the movie. Perhaps you’ve read the book.
But before Neil Diamond’s song was piped into area gymnasiums, and before the mantra Live Like Line was coined at Iowa City West, there was Caroline Found, the Trojans’ fun-loving volleyball setter.
She died 10 years ago Wednesday night, in a moped accident on Mormon Trek Road. “The pulse of our team,” Coach Kathy Bresnahan called Found in an emotional interview with The Gazette the next morning.
Of course, the story didn’t end there. Here’s a timeline of the next weeks, months and years after Found’s tragic death.
Aug. 18, 2011: Bresnahan revealed that Found’s No. 9 uniform would never be worn again. “I talked to (West Athletics Director) Marv (Reiland) about it, and we're not going to have a formal retirement of it, but whenever we reorder new uniforms, we're just not going to get No. 9,” she said.
Aug. 24, 2011: Practice has begun at West. The Live Like Line phrase has taken off. After a week of practicing in near silence (Found had been in charge of the music), the boom box is turned back on. “There are good days and bad days, good moments and bad moments,” Bresnahan said. “For each of us, there are little triggers that really bring out the emotion. It might be something as simple as seeing her picture.”
Nov. 3, 2011: The defending state champion, West returns to the state tournament with a sweep of Cedar Rapids Washington. As was the case at all home matches, Diamond’s hit song Sweet Caroline is piped over the loudspeakers postmatch. The regional final was at Cedar Rapids Jefferson, a neutral site.
Nov. 12, 2011: Down two sets, West storms back, then erases a match point in Game 5 to outlast Iowa City High for the Class 4A state championship at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. "Words can't describe it," Olivia Fairfield said. "Everything we've been through ... it makes this mean so much more."
Feb. 2, 2012: Bresnahan is named national coach of the year by prepvolleyball.com. “It wasn't a typical year,” she said. “About mid-September, we decided it was time to get going. Not to move on; you're not going to move on from something like that. But we realized that nobody was going to throw us a pity party, and nobody was going to take it easy on us.”
October 2012: More than a year after Found’s death, the story continues to grow. Author/sportswriter/broadcaster Frank Deford is in town to record interviews for a segment on HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel. “A sad story, a real tragedy,” Deford calls it to The Gazette’s Mike Hlas. “But at the end there was an uplift to it. That's what separated it from just the usual tragic story. That, and the fact that she obviously was such a terrific kid.”
February 2018: Bresnahan’s book, The Miracle Season, is set for launch. “It’s a book of love,” she said. “I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it's not a big flop. It's a book to showcase what Caroline means to us, and what these girls mean to me.
March 18, 2018: Englert Theater is Iowa City is nearly full for a hometown screening of The Miracle Season, the movie based on Found’s life and death, and West’s unlikely march to a state volleyball championship that followed. The movie opened nationwide about three weeks later. Caroline’s father, Ernie Found, asked what Caroline would have thought. He smiled, lowered his head for a moment, then gazed forward.
“She'd say, ‘What, a movie about me? Hell, yeah!’”