Blue Handle Publishing adds NFL coach Jerry Gray to growing list of authors

Jerry Gray

NFL defensive coach Jerry Gray on the sidelines when he was with the Minnesota Vikings staff.

College Football Hall of Famer tackles inequity in sports, overcoming COVID-19 in first nonfiction book

We are proud to have Jerry join the Blue Handle family”
— Charles D'Amico, Blue Handle Publishing President
AMARILLO, TEXAS, UNITED STATES, March 18, 2022 / -- Blue Handle Publishing has acquired the rights to “Both Sides of the Mountain: Dealing with Fame, Fortune, and Everything in Between,” a nonfiction book written by NFL defensive coach Jerry Gray with journalist Doug Hensley.

“We are proud to have Jerry and Doug join the Blue Handle family,” said BHP President Charles D’Amico. “Jerry’s experience in major college and pro football, combined with Doug’s ability to help tell his story, makes this an interesting read with a strong message. And to top it all off, both have ties to West Texas, which makes it all the sweeter for us.”

Gray is a Lubbock native and graduate of Estacado High School, and Hensley is the associate regional editor and director of commentary for GateHouse Media West Texas, which includes the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal and Amarillo Globe-News.

In “Both Sides of the Mountain” — set for release in summer 2023 — Gray tackles issues such as racism and inequity in sports and dealing with adversity, including the COVID-19 pandemic, to provide a guide for young athletes looking to make it big.

Gray has been coaching in the NFL for more than 20 years and was an All-Pro defensive back before that, earning 1989 Pro Bowl MVP honors. He was selected in the first round of the 1985 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams and also played for the Houston Oilers and Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Gray played college ball at The University of Texas, where was a two-time consensus first-team All-American for the Longhorns. He and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.

In 2002, he started the Jerry Gray Foundation in Lubbock, which provides scholarships to Texas Tech University, among other philanthropic and youth instructional endeavors.

Gray and his wife have two sons together, the eldest of which was a defensive back at Southern Methodist University, where Gray coached defensive backs in 1995-1996.

Hensley, who lives and works in Lubbock, has written, co-written, edited, or ghost-written nine books. He is also in his second stint working with the Avalanche-Journal after being hired for his current position in winter 2018. Hensley previously worked for the A-J from 1981 through 2007, starting as a part-time sports reporter and leaving as assistant managing editor.

In addition to his writing, Hensley has more than 35 years of communications experience, including work with United Supermarkets and the Texas Tech University System. Hensley has also served as an adjunct professor at Texas Tech, where he graduated in the 1980s with a bachelor of arts in journalism.

Hensley and his wife Tammy have two children, Hayden and Kerrigan, named after College Football Hall of Fame coach Hayden Fry and Olympic figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.

“Both Sides of the Mountain” is Blue Handle’s first acquisition of 2022 and will be the publisher’s first nonfiction release.

In 2021, BHP acquired the novels “Black Bear Lake” by award-winning playwright Leslie Liautaud and “The Heights” by Ray Franze, based in part on the author’s uncle, a powerful member of Chicagoland organized crime syndicates from the 1920s through the 1960s.

“Black Bear Lake” is set for release in September 2022, while “The Heights” is on track for a fall 2023 release. Other Blue Handle authors include Jordan Reed, whose debut novel “The Wizard’s Brew” will release in May 2022; Andrew J Brandt, whose latest novel “Picture Unavailable” is scheduled for an October 2022 release; and D’Amico, who founded Blue Handle in 2020 and will release “Perdue” in fall 2022.

“And we are in talks with several authors with fantastic books, so stay tuned,” D’Amico said. “We’re just getting started.”

Please contact Blue Handle Publishing for media requests with Jerry Gray or Doug Hensley.

About Blue Handle Publishing
Based in Amarillo, Blue Handle Publishing is a West Texas publishing company founded in 2020 by business entrepreneur and author Charles D’Amico. Its mission is to empower authors while publishing incredible works of fiction and nonfiction. For more information, please visit

Charles D'Amico
Blue Handle Publishing
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