BOOTLEGGER'S BOY by Barry with Bob Shrake Switzer

BOOTLEGGER'S BOY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The inevitable counterstrike from the vilified former Univ. of Oklahoma head coach who was forced to resign from his scandal-filled football program in 1989. Switzer immodestly offers himself up as sacrificial lamb to big-time athletics, the media, and National Collegiate Athletic Association vigilance about college athletics. There is little remorse and a lot of defensiveness here from this son of a real bootlegger murdered after a life of prison and debts. Switzer briefly recounts his unprivileged past to set us up for his great success story feeding the ""OU football monster,"" as he calls his own program. He arrived at OU after playing under his mentor Frank Broyles at Arkansas, and immediately turned football into the state religion. He proudly leads us game by game through early glory years of coaching such greats as Steven Owens, Joe Washington, and Billy Sims. He argues that success made him a target from the start, recounting an attempted ""conspiracy"" within his own athletic department to fire him and his fending off of NCAA violation charges as early as 1983. But the most dramatic and sordid drama here comes in his point-by-point rebuttal of the fatal 16 NCAA charges that cost him his job after his players were involved with rape, killing, and drag crimes in 1988, and in his blistering response to attacks by former linebacker Brian Bosworth (in The Boz, 1988), whom Switzer calls ""an obnoxious loudmouth and a deadbeat."" Sweet collegiate nostalgia this isn't. Switzer wins points as a concerned educator, but his chest-beating pariah posture grates, as does the slapdash ""as-told-to"" feeling of the book (Shrake coauthored Willie Nelson's Willie, 1988). Messy, ultimately depressing testimony, then, to some of what's wrong with college sports today.

Pub Date: Sept. 17th, 1990
Publisher: Morrow