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IndieBound: 

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Models for player characters in The Witch's Season include Ahmad Rashad, Dan Fouts and Tom Graham.

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Oregon's coaching staff, model for the one in The Witch's Season, included Ron Stratten, John Robinson (USC and Rams head coach), Jack Roche, Norm Chapman, head coach Jerry Frei, Bruce Snyder (California and Arizona State head coach), John Marshall (long-time NFL defensive coordinator), George Seifert (49ers and Panthers head coach), Dick Enright. Not pictured: graduate assistant Gunther Cunningham (long-time NFL defensive coordinator).

The Witch's Season was Terry Frei's first novel,

and its roots go back long before Olympic Affair. 

He began it in high school and after many restarts,

finished it as an adult.  

 

On one of the nation's cauldron campuses during the

1968 Nixon-Humphrey presidential campaign,

Cascade University President Neal Hassler is caught

between militant students and an irate citizenry. Under

statewide criticism, he is defiant in public as he unravels

behind the scenes. His primary student antagonists are

SDS leader Annie Laughlin and Jake Powell, chairman of

the Campus Coalition Against the War. They're close to

student journalist Kit Dunleavy, who struggles to balance

her relationships with the radicals and her theoretical

objectivity. 

 
Complicating matters and infuriating fans, Jake also is
a starting linebacker for the Cascade Fishermen football
team, expected to challenge O.J. Simpson and the USC
Trojans for the Pacific 8 Conference title. Coach Larry
Benson, a World War II pilot criticized for allowing his
players to participate in campus politics, faces pressure
to both tighten the reins, especially with Powell and star
tailback Ricky Hilton, and win at all costs. 
 
Amid campus and national unrest, the Fishermen -- an
eclectic group with several star players and bright young
coaches destined for bigger things -- encounter triumph,
controversy, and disappointment. Ultimately, the ensemble
cast's fates are intertwined in a fall that becomes The Witch's
Season. 
 
NOTE: Terry Frei's own screenplay adaptation of The Witch's
Season  does away with some of the roman a clef substitution.
The setting is Eugene and the University of Oregon, and the
football team is the Oregon Ducks. 
 

 Excerpt: Air Force week

 

Amazon Review:

 
5.0 out of 5 stars Days Of Future Past, February 19, 2010
From Dr. K, the Rock 'n Roll dentist

Presented as a sports book, this is more about the confusing changes

baby boomers were confronting as the 1960s dwindled - and no less

what those changes meant to parents and those in authority. There

was the unrest about the Viet Nam war and more pressure than ever

for equality of the races and sexes. In the face of that there was an

old guard that didn't understand or want change and felt threatened

when a bunch of hormonally imbalanced kids wanted to turn the world

upside down idealistically, culturally and politically. One of the protagonists

of the book is a college football player who has to balance the supposed

Cro-Magnon jock mentality with a strong sense of political purpose intent

on overthrowing everything that the jock mentality embodied. As someone

who remembers the ambivelant feelings of being awarded a sports letter

in front of all his cool long-haired friends in that era, this certainly hits home.
 

 

The book doesn't only focus on that one character which makes it far more

interesting. What emerges is that in many ways the most compelling and

sympathetic characters are the President of the College and even more the

head football coach. They come across as far more astute and savvy than

the kids around them probably would have acknowledged back in the '60s.

 

I'm certain that anyone like me now old enough to understand what those

people went through have apologized for being idealistically shallow when

all those parents/authority figures wanted to do was earn a living to help

their kids to a better life.
 

That is what this book is about - exposing the confusion of 1968 in an

entertaining fashion (Hollywood, are you listening?). "It's hard for one

person to change the world; but maybe no less important to change

a life." That is from page 100 and sums up this book beautifully. As

we now know, not everything has a tidy ending and if you want to

wonder how the characters may turn out in life - stop without reading

the last chapter. If, however, you like "The Man Who Shot Liberty

Valance" sort of story - read Chapt. 38.

 

 

CHAPTER TITLES

Waiting for the Sun
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Born to be Wild
MacArthur Park
Hey Jude
Bookends
Classical Gas
I've Just Gotta Get a Message to You
Hello, I Love You
All Along the Watchtower
Scarborough Fair
Magic Carpet Ride
People Got to Be Free
Abraham, Martin, and John
Hush
Inna-Gadda-Da-Vida
Piece of My Heart
Crosstown Traffic
Crown of Creation
Light My Fire
Fire
Think!
Revolution
In Search of the Lost Chord
Waiting for the Sun
White Room
Hair!
Tuesday Afternoon
Goin' Up the Country
Jennifer Juniper
I Heard it Through the Grapevine
Crimson and Clover
Wheels of Fire
Hurdy Gurdy Man
Magic Bus
While My Guitar Gently Weeps
The Weight
Nights in White Satin