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Adding to my newspaper column on approach of Oregon vs. Colorado
The first game ever in Autzen
 Stadium and beyond

October 22, 2012:
 With another matchup between my alma
 mater (Colorado) and the team my father once coached
 (Oregon) coming up on Saturday, my Monday Denver Post
 commentary
is about my reflections on the first game ever
 played in Autzen Stadium, plus those quite different times.

The reaction via direct communication has been very
 gratifying, and I thank those who have taken the time to
 express it. I was even nicely reminded that because of an
 ABC strike, Keith Jackson didn't work the game as scheduled
 on ABC, and the commentators were former coaches from
 each of the two schools -- Len Casanova, in his first season
 as the Oregon AD; and Dal Ward, the former coach at
 Colorado. The irony is that at each school, the athletic
 department offices are named after them -- the Casanova
 Center and the Dal Ward Center.     

We added the program cover from that game to the online
 version of the column, so that's there now. The cover for
 the first game ever in Autzen Stadium is an aerial photo of
 the Oregon campus, which doesn't include the new
off-campus stadium. In that shot, Hayward Field, the
former football stadium that to this day remains famous
for hosting track and field competition and being in the
 background of an "Animal House" scene, is at the top left.

OreOhioState67.jpgAs you can see at the left,
 Autzen was on the cover of
 the program two weeks
 later, when the Ducks
 played Ohio State in
 the Dedication Game. I
 vaguely remember Woody
 Hayes marveling that
 Autzen was built for only
 $2.3 million, and I think he
 meant it as a compliment.
 To put that in perspective, plugging the figure in on online
 calculator yields the fact that it's equal to about $16 million in
 2012 dollars. And now Colorado State is talking about
 building a very basic on-campus stadium for $246 million,
 considered a modest figure today for any stadium. I'm not
 an economist, and I didn't take Econ at CU, so I'm sure the
 direct comparison that way is misleading, but it's at least
 interesting. As alluded to in the column, Autzen was built in
 14 months, and it basically was shoving a bunch of earth
 together to form a berm and pouring concrete into it to form
 a bowl.

Additional points to accompany the column:

-- Below is a page from the '67 Oregon-Colorado program,
 and serves to make my point about my father's original
 coaching staff and how his World War II service was not
 mentioned in his coaching biography. Two of the men below
 (John Robinson and George Seifert) were NFL head coaches;
 a third (Bruce Snyder) came within one play of winning a
 national championship as the head coach at Arizona State.
 Two other future NFL head coaches also were involved in my
 father's program. Gunther Cunningham was a linebacker on
 this '67 team and subsequently joined my father's coaching
 staff, first as a graduate assistant. Norv Turner was a Ducks
 quarterback, recruited from Martinez, Calif. 

67staff.jpg  
Also unexplained is the "late" reference to Dave
 Schreiner. Perhaps readers in the late 1960s still
 remembered that he was a two-time All-American end and
 Big Ten Conference MVP who was killed in action during the
 Battle of Okinawa in World War II. Also, Elroy Hirsch was
 better known as "Crazylegs," and the story of that team is
 told in Third Down and a War to Go.

-- Several mentioned to me in email and Twitter responses
 that this column sounded as if it could be a hint of another
 book.

In fact, I've already done it. The Witch's Season is a roman a
 clef novel about those Oregon teams, the men involved,
 those crazy times on one of the nation's cauldron campuses,
 and college football. The actual college football part is quite
 timeless, in my view. 

link 


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