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


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 substitution. The setting is Eugene and the University of Oregon, and the football team is the Oregon Ducks. 


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.




Waiting for the Sun
Jumpin' Jack Flash
Born to be Wild
MacArthur Park
Hey Jude
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
Piece of My Heart
Crosstown Traffic
Crown of Creation
Light My Fire
In Search of the Lost Chord
Waiting for the Sun
White Room
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