About the Book

Author Barry Fouts outlines the struggles for the early women’s programs, the dynamics between the established versus the “upstart” men’s programs, as well as the schools’ development into top-flight, small college programs. He also documents the controversial issues as they arise at each school; the evolution of their national affiliations, the fight for scholarships, the fight for equity between programs, and controversies between players and coaches. Sometimes, even the fans got involved.

Fouts has conducted numerous interviews with current and former players, coaches throughout the series, and media members who covered the schools. From those who grew up a stone’s throw from their respective campuses to those who traveled from foreign soil, players speak about their experiences, their joys, and their regrets, as well as their respect for their opponents. The coaches—some out of the game today, some still pacing the sidelines—go into detail about special players, special games, and their methods for building high-quality teams.

Even if you’ve never been a part of the series between the schools, you’ll feel like you’re a part of it when you’ve finished River City Rivals.


Barry has written a very entertaining history of a terrific small college basketball rivalry. These are two small, private schools who share a city, who were in different divisions for much of their history, who now both belong to one of the NAIA’s premier conferences, and who have proud traditions. Barry has done a great job of talking to the key figures on both sides and bringing the reader inside.
—Nic Nelson, former Morningside athlete, former Briar Cliff men’s basketball coach, and current Briar Cliff athletic director
A delightful guide about the history of Briar Cliff and Morningside, small liberal arts colleges, from the eyes of a fan of both the men’s and women’s basketball programs. Barry did a tremendous amount of research on their history and conducted interviews with many people involved in the programs, enabling him to capture the excitement and stories of the rivalry, on and off the basketball court. A very informative and enjoyable read. I was proud to be a part of both basketball programs. Reading the book, you will learn things about the colleges and basketball programs that you did not know.
—Cindy Tudehope (Kiser), former women’s basketball coach for first Briar Cliff, then Morningside
If you are a basketball fan, you’re really going to enjoy this book! If you are a Briar Cliff or Morningside basketball fan, you’ll love this book!
—Todd Barry, former Briar Cliff men’s basketball coach

About author Barry Fouts

Barry Fouts, a 1976 graduate of Morningside, has written for Victory Sports Network for most of the past 15 years. He is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association, specializing in NAIA coverage. In 2006, he authored A Season in the GPAC, a book covering the league’s institutions and the 2005 football season.

Barry has watched numerous women’s and men’s games between Briar Cliff and Morningside over the past 45 years. He still calls Council Bluffs, Iowa, home, though he and his wife, Phyllis, are full-time travelers in their RV. They have three adult children and a granddaughter.