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Simon and Schuster Hardback (2002)
It sold out, now is out of print, and is considered
Taylor Trade obtained the paperback
rights and published its edition in 2004. It has remained in print ever since.
A Simon and
Schuster paperback edition was released February 16, 2016.
50 years after The Big Shootout
17 years after publication of Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming...
Since Simon and Schuster published the hardback edition of Horns, Hogs, and
Nixon Coming in 2002, it never has been out of print. At the 50th anniversary of the landmark December 6, 1969 Texas-Arkansas
game, paperback editions were available from TWO publishers -- Simon and Schuster, which reclaimed the paperback rights in
2014, and Taylor Trade. My screenplay version has been in the loop for many years, through Jeanne Field of Windfall Management,
and it is every bit as panoramic as the book.
Other projects since 2002 have borrowed from Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming, utilizing the book and its
extensive and revelatory research about the game and what was going on around it, plus my subsequent follow-up columns and
stories about the book's figures, much of it linked below. After publication, others used the book and its information as
a blueprint, outline and information source. Some of my most revelatory material has been
passed along through several waves of of others' "research." Many seemed to assume the material had been public
knowledge from the start. It wasn't. I came across it. I wasn't Seymour Hersh. I just kept asking questions and often was
astounded by the answers. Or I was asked, "Did you know that ...?" And I would say, "No, tell me."
I interviewed 65 for the book, including many key figures -- such as Darrell Royal, James Street, Frank Broyles,
Greg Ploetz, John Paul Hammerschmidt, Col. Eugene Holmes and George H.W. Bush -- who since have passed away. I came across
much material about the "Dixie" controversy, the anti-war protest, Razorback fan Bill Clinton's controversial Selective
Service draft status and letter that week to Holmes, the Arkansas ROTC director, and his connection to other figures linked
to the game ... and more.
extensively about the teams, the players and the epic game. Yet there was so much more to it, including much I uncovered and
didn't just report. I politely ask to be credited when appropriate.
-- T.F., December 2019
The book's Prologue serves as the basis for the screenplay adaptation's opening pages. For sake
of comparison, both are here.
"...a superb blending of sports, history,
and politics." -- Si Dunn, Dallas Morning News
game and its cultural contexts have been beautifully chronicled by Terry Frei in his book Horns, Hogs and Nixon Coming." -- Bill Clinton
From the book jacket:
On December 6, 1969, the Texas Longhorns and Arkansas Razorbacks met in what many consider
the Game of the Century. In the centennial season of college football, both teams were undefeated; both featured devastating
and innovative offenses; both boasted cerebral, stingy defenses; and both were coached by superior tacticians and stirring
motivators, Texas's Darrell Royal and Arkansas's Frank Broyles. On that day in Fayetteville, the poll-leading Horns and second-ranked
Hogs battled for the Southwest Conference title -- and President Nixon was coming to present his own national championship
plaque to the winners.
Even if it had been just a game, it would still have been memorable today. The bitter
rivals played a game for the ages before a frenzied, hog-callin' crowd that included not only an enthralled President Nixon
-- a noted football fan -- but also Texas congressman George Bush. And the game turned, improbably, on an outrageously daring
But it wasn't just a game, because nothing was so simple in December 1969. In Horns, Hogs,
& Nixon Coming, Terry Frei deftly weaves the social, political, and athletic trends together for an unforgettable look
at one of the landmark college sporting events of all time.
The week leading up to the showdown saw black
student groups at Arkansas, still marginalized and targets of virulent abuse, protesting and seeking to end the use of the
song "Dixie" to celebrate Razorback touchdowns; students were determined to rush the field during the game if the band struck
up the tune. As the United States remained mired in the Vietnam War, sign-wielding demonstrators
(including war veterans) took up their positions outside the stadium -- in full view of the president. That same week, Rhodes
Scholar Bill Clinton penned a letter to the head of the ROTC program at the University of Arkansas, thanking the colonel for
shielding him from induction into the military earlier in the year.
Finally, this game was the last major
sporting event that featured two exclusively white teams. Slowly, inevitably, integration would come to the end zones and
hash marks of the South, and though no one knew it at the time, the Texas vs. Arkansas clash truly was Dixie's Last Stand.
Drawing from comprehensive research and interviews with coaches, players, protesters, professors, and politicians,
Frei stitches together an intimate, electric narrative about two great teams -- including Texas safety Freddie Steinmark,
who was displaying monumental courage just to make it onto the field -- facing off in the waning days of the era they defined.
Gripping, nimble, and clear-eyed, Horns, Hogs, & Nixon Coming is the final word on the last of how it was.
Amazon (Taylor Trade paperback)
Amazon (Simon and Schuster paperback)
NOTE: The Taylor Trade paperback's Afterword has been briefly updated to include post-publication events.
The Simon and Schuster paperback edition sticks to the original Simon and Schuster hardback text.
e-book and audio book formats also available through the sites
Freddie Steinmark as a Wheat
"Frei went to Wheat Ridge High School, which produced not only (Freddie) Steinmark, but also Texas
guard Bobby Mitchell, whose brother was killed in Vietnam. In part because his father then was the head football coach at
the University of Oregon, Frei possesses the football expertise, an uncanny ability to buttonhook diverse personal anecdotes
together and appreciation for history to best tell this remarkable tale."
--John Moore, theater critic, The Denver Post
knows that football today is a far cry from what it was in the days of leather helmets and dropkicks, but it takes a book
like Terry Frei's 'Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming' to show how much the game has changed in just the last three decades. Frei
does so by chronicling what might have been the final game of the God-Family-Football era, before shoe companies, superagents
and TV networks turned the muddy old gridiron into a multigazillion-dollar business."
-- Charles Hirshberg, Sports
"Some of us codgers on the scene thought we knew all facets of
The Great Shootout. But now, 33 years after that climatic Arkansas-Texas game, comes a most intriguing account on whys and
wherefores and backgrounds and personality quirks, warts and all, and political implications (Vietnam protests) and whatever.
(That climatic week just happened to be the time when Bill Clinton got his ROTC draft deferment from an UofArkansas official,
whose daughter was dating a Razorback player, etc.) Title is 'Horns, Hogs and Nixon Coming' and it's by Terry Frei, who must
have worn out a dozen tape recorders in the process."
-- Blackie Sherrod, Dallas Morning News
"It was a bit like stumbling
upon a family history as written by a distant cousin . . . But much to the dismay of our most cherished prejudice, an outsider,
a furriner, a Coloradan for gosh sakes, has seen things we couldn't. Like a Tocquevillian sportswriter in a new world, Terry
Frei does the unexpected, if not the impossible: He makes 'thatdamngame'--and all the cultural, political, and social issues
swirling around it like so much red-and-white confetti--seem new again, relevant again."
--Kane Webb in a lead editorial,
Terry Frei as a Wheat Ridge Farmer
"The great sports books eventually aren't about the game or the scoreboard result, but about the characters
involved -- on the field, in the stands, outside the stadium, around the country -- and the times, (and) appeal to more than
just the sports fan. Frei's account of an important moment of Arkansas and Texas sports history is great because of that and
can mean something to the average readers off in Oregon or Connecticut."
--Jim Harris, Arkansas Times, Little Rock
"Frei's often humorous telling is much more than a rehash of the game. . . (It) also serves
as a larger history of the social and political climate surrounding the competition. (The book) is a delightful, well-researched
chronicle of a turbulent era."
-- Larry Little, Library Journal
great story, well-told, with more delicious details than a linebacker could handle."
--David Hendricks, San Antonio
"In some spots, a reader may laugh out loud. There also may be some tears,
especially in regard to courageous Texas defensive back Freddie Steinmark, who six days after playing in the Big Shootout
had his left leg amputated because of a cancerous bone tumor and died in 1971. . .
"Frei does a masterful job of
weaving in the historical significance of the turbulent times, including Vietnam protests, the military draft lottery and
the civil rights movement that were so much a part of campus life in that era. It's political football at its best."
-- Bob Holt, Arkansas Democrat-Gazette
Terry Frei and Bill Clinton in the White
Bill Clinton was in England when the Texas-Arkansas game was played,
but that was the week he wrote what would turn out to be his notorious letter to Colonel Holmes, the head of the Arkansas
ROTC program. Clinton had drawn a high number in the draft lottery on December 1, and his angst-filled letter to Holmes about
pulling out of his commitment to take advanced ROTC in exchange for Holmes' earlier help in quashing his induction notice
was released and was an issue in the 1992 presidential campaign. At the time, Colonel Holmes did not speak with the media
beyond issuing an affidavit. However, Holmes did speak with Terry Frei in 2001 -- in part because Arkansas star tailback
Bill Burnett was dating his daughter in 1969, and later became his son-in-law. Over thirty years later, Holmes still was angry.
believes he was treated fairly in HHNC. (After all, his desire to avoid serving in Vietnam was not unique, and
it was a "bipartisan" phenomenon.) In his autobiography, My Life, he writes of sending his letter
to Holmes. Then he discusses renting a short-wave radio in England to be able to listen to the game.
wrote: "We had a few friends over who thought we had lost our minds as we whooped and hollered through a football
game so exciting it was billed as the Game of the Century. For a few hours, we were innocent again, totally caught up in the
contest. The game and its cultural contexts have been beautifully chronicled by Terry Frei in his book Horns, Hogs
and Nixon Coming."
After Holmes died in 2005, Pulitzer Prize-winning
editorial writer Paul Greenberg of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, no Clinton fan, quoted Frei's
passages on Holmes and also praised Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming as "one of the better
- and most readable — books of social history published in recent years."
Richard Nixon in the Razorback Stadium stands at the Big Shootout. Among his group are Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockefeller;
Arkansas U.S. Senators John McClellan and J. William Fulbright; and Congressmen (and close friends) John Paul Hammerschmidt
of Arkansas and George Bush. Fulbright, one of the Senate's leading anti-Vietnam War voices and chairman of the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee, had been a football star, student body president and also the university president at Arkansas before
going into politics. If you look real hard in the row behind them, you can spot the top of Henry Kissinger's head and
his glasses. Both Hammerschmidt and Bush contributed their memories of that day for Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming.
HHNC discussed the anti-war protest going
on on the hill beyond the stadium, led by Vietnam veteran and Arkansas student Don Donner, but noted that ABC ignored
it.The politicians couldn't miss it.
As HHNC also disclosed, the traveling party didn't know it, but Arkansas' black
students and sympathizers were prepared to storm and occupy the field if the Arkansas band played the song "Dixie,"
up to then the unofficial athletic anthem at the school.
So there was much in the air besides football that day, and the
book's subtitle -- ...Dixie's Last Stand -- could and should be interpreted several ways, both involving
the region and Southern sports being at a crossroads, and more simply, the symbolic stand over the song itself.
At the 2004 joint reunion of the
Longhorns and Razorbacks, where Terry Frei was the neutral keynote speaker. The Longview Boys: Arkansas defensive tackle Terry
Don Phillips and Texas quarterback James Street.
Post-game: President Nixon presents his
national championship plaque to Darrell Royal. James Street is at the right.
and Hogs during book interview period
Texas tackle Bob McKay, Texas fullback
Steve Worster, Arkansas defensive end Bruce James, Texas tackle Bobby Wuensch, Arkansas receiver Chuck Dicus.
Arkansas quarterback Bill Montgomery
Texas tackle Bob McKay
Arkansas linebacker Mike Boschetti
(as in "Boschetti was clipped!")
Texas halfback Ted Koy
Arkansas tackle Mike Kelson
Texas kicker Happy Feller
Arkansas fullback Bruce Maxwell
Texas linebacker Scott Henderson
Arkansas receiver Chuck Dicus
Texas linebacker Bill Zapalac
Arkansas receiver Jon Rees
Arkansas halfback Bill Burnett
Texas tight end Randy Peschel
Arkansas safety Dennis Berner
Arkansas guard Jerry Dossey
Vietnam vet, UofA student, antiwar
leader Don Donner
Arkansas kicker Bill McClard
Terry Frei in ESPN 30 for 30, Nixon's National Champs
Arkansas coach Frank Broyles
Freddie Steinmark and James
Terry Frei's 2005 newspaper column on
his fellow Wheat Ridge High School alumnus, Freddie Joe Steinmark:
Steinmark lives on in memories
In Houston's M.D. Anderson Hospital on Dec. 12, 1969, Denver native
and Texas Longhorns safety Freddie Joe Steinmark woke up after bone cancer surgery.
His mother, Gloria, was there.
On Friday, as she sat in the dining room of her Aurora home, she recalled the conversation.
"First thing he
said to me was, 'Did they take ...,"' Gloria said.
There was no need to finish the question. Surgeons had
removed Freddie Joe's cancer-riddled left leg.
"I said, 'Yes, Freddie,"' Gloria said.
said, 'You know what I've been thinking?'
"I said, 'What have you been thinking?'
'Do you think if I get good at that prosthesis and I can move around good, do you think Darrell Royal would let me be the
"I said, 'Freddie, you'll have to ask him."'
That was Freddie Joe. After coming out
of the fog and hearing that he would live the rest of his life without his left leg, his first words were tongue-in-cheek,
but made a serious point. Steinmark, a Denver Post Gold Helmet winner as a star athlete at Wheat Ridge High School, would
The operation came only six days after he played for the top-rated Longhorns in their celebrated Dec. 6,
1969, showdown with No. 2 Arkansas, the game at Razorback Stadium attended by President Richard Nixon and Texas Congressman
George Herbert Walker Bush, and passionately followed on short-wave radio in England by Rhodes Scholar and Arkansas fan Bill
In my 2002 book "Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming," I called Steinmark's play that day the most
courageous effort ever in a football game. I have gotten no arguments since.
Freddie's leg had been aching most
of the season. He played on a leg being eaten up by cancer, and doctors later told the Longhorns it was amazing the bone hadn't
snapped. Finally, after the game at Arkansas, he had it checked.
Three weeks after surgery, on Jan. 1, 1970, the
day Texas clinched its last bona fide national championship with a 21-17 victory over Notre Dame in the Cotton Bowl, Steinmark
was on the sideline among his teammates. His younger brother, Sammy, also was with him. His parents, Denver police officer
Freddie Gene and Gloria, and two sisters were in the Cotton Bowl stands. On crutches and one leg, wearing a football shoe
on his right foot, Freddie watched proudly, defiantly, and, significant given his plight, faithfully.
presented their plucky safety with a game ball.
"He was so elated," Gloria
recalled. "I really think they wanted to win for Freddie, too."
I could nod at that,
because I have spoken with dozens of his former Longhorns teammates, including 1969 starting Texas guard Bobby Mitchell, the
Dallas dentist who also went to Wheat Ridge. It happened again and again: Reminiscing former football players laughed and
smiled through their memories of their younger days, and when the subject turned to Steinmark, a junior during that 1969 season,
the words caught in their throats. The Longhorns knew how to have a good time. While they did, Freddie was studying. Or in
"It makes you cry to think about it now," said 1969
Texas tackle Bob McKay, who in more casual conversation might be the funniest man on the planet. "He was the greatest
kid in the world."
Gloria Steinmark and her family - including Sammy and daughters Paula Kay "P.K."
Stevinson and Gloria Gene "GiGi" Kunz, who all live in the Denver area - hope the Longhorns end up with another
national championship Wednesday.
"Absolutely," Gloria said. "You can't get over those things. ...
Oh, I'll cry. My tears come easy."
The modern Longhorns still touch a Steinmark plaque on their way from the
dressing room to the field in Austin. The stadium scoreboard is named after Steinmark. They are memorials. Freddie Joe died
June 6, 1971. He was 22.
Gloria, widowed in 2000, still has her son's Cotton Bowl game ball. Freddie Gene labeled
it, to keep it straight from all the other memorabilia from his son's life. Among the portraits of Freddie displayed in the
Steinmark home are one painted by former Texas and NFL star Tommy MacDonald and another drawn from the picture of Freddie
on the Cotton Bowl sideline used on the cover of "I Play to Win," Steinmark's inspiring 1971 book.
said it still can be painful to talk about Freddie Joe. "That scar just never goes away," she said.
does he live on?
"Oh, absolutely," she said. She laughed and added, "I talk to him all the time."
Then she thought a little more about the son who never called her "Ma" or "Mom" - or anything but "Mother."
"You know," she said, "he was such a loving kid and humble, with such a good sense of humor. He and
I got along famously. He always had something good to say about everything and everybody. That was just him. ...
"When he was suffering so bad in the end, he was telling me something so nice about someone. I was leaning over the
bed and looking at him and I said, 'You know, Freddie Joe, you are such a good boy.' He said, 'Aw, Mother, I'm not good. Only
The Steinmarks are fervent Catholics. Freddie Gene and Gloria Marchetti met in the hallways
of Denver's North High, when Freddie Gene, the celebrated star high school athlete in the Denver of another era, mischievously
asked the shy sophomore girl, "Don't you ever speak?", and then gave her his letter sweater to wear. Faith was the
hallmark in Gloria's and Freddie Gene's household, and it was Freddie Joe's.
"I used to think it, but I know
not to say 'why' anymore," Gloria said. "I think he was so special, God wanted him."
Ex-Texas defensive tackle Greg
Ploetz in 2004
The Greg Ploetz
One of the
figures in Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming was Texas defensive tackle Greg Ploetz. An art teacher and coach, Greg began
displaying signs of brain injury and dementia and his wife, Deb, at one point brought him to Colorado to be able to use marijuana
based products in his treatment. He died in 2015 and Deb sued the NCAA in a potentially landmark case.
Terry Frei wrote many
pieces about Ploetz's struggle and death, and the antipathy for football that led Deb to file the lawsuit.
August 30, 2019: Year after lawsuit settlement, Deb Ploetz still at war with football
January 17, 2017: Deb Ploetz files suit against NCAA
Dec. 20, 2015: Greg Ploetz found to have Stage 4 CTE
Dec. 20, 2015: Additional blog
May 14, 2015: Greg Ploetz dies at age 66
Jan. 19, 2015: Deb Ploetz's battle with football
Jan. 19, 2015: A plan to get UT players' signatures on a Greg Ploetz painting
Oct. 28, 2014: Greg Ploetz teammate Julius Whittier files class action
suit against NCAA
May 31, 2014: Greg Ploetz brought to Colorado for marijuana-product treatment
May 31, 2014: Additional Blog
Neutral keynote speaker Terry Frei signs
copy of Horns, Hogs, and Nixon Coming at 2004 joint reunion of the '69 Longhorns and Razorbacks.
Greg Ploetz is at left and Terry Frei
is second from right in this shot from the 2004 joint reunion. Also pictured are Benton County Judge John Scott, Arkansas
kicker Bill McClard, and at right, Longhorns rover Mike Campbell.
Arkansas Fight (SBNation) interview with Terry Frei at 40th anniverary of Big
Shootout (2009), Part One
Arkansas Fight (SBNation) interview with Terry Frei at 40th anniverary of Big Shootout (2009), Part Two