IN SEARCH OF BILLY COLE by Jack Newcombe

IN SEARCH OF BILLY COLE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Why, after the years, was I still connected to a game that had become as much a business as any in the Fortune 5009. Hadn't scouting, once an individual enterprise, turned out to be about as provocative as choosing MBAs or law-school graduates off the Harvard and Stanford vines? Technology and scouting combines ruled the profession."" Such are the musings of Newcombe's narrator here--a young-middle-aged scout for the pros who finds the spirit of football-as-it-was embodied in a college quarterback named Billy Cole. Billy, you see, after a flashy freshman year at a Big Ten school, quietly decided to transfer to Middlebury College in Vermont, a bucolic, preppy, family-like little Division 111 school. So, after brief visits to observe the big-time training operations at Penn State and other campuses, the narrator/scout heads north to see Billy in Vermont action. The scout has comfortable chats with Billy's girlfriend, his coach, his teammates. Billy himself discusses the pressures which convinced him to leave Michigan: the narrowness of the ""jock"" life, the celebrity (including some anonymous threats), the impersonality. And finally, after the scout helps Billy out with some domestic chores and some bar-and-grill fisticuffs, there's Billy's last big game for Middlebury--a paradigm of team-spirit, sportsmanship, and other old-fashioned football values. Fleshed out with the narrator's mini-romances and memories of his own player/coach days: a bland, near-plotless, but pleasant fable--with authentic scouting details--for the gentler sort of gridiron fan.

Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 1984
Publisher: Arbor House