Museum To Host Author of “The Spartan Succession” Chronicling History of High School Football in Salem

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Author Mark A. O’Connell has just released the newest book in his series chronicling the history of high school football in Salem.  His new book, The Spartan Succession: The Genesis (1972-1985), is a spellbinding sequel to his earlier work, The Team the Titans Remember.

Mark O’Connell

On Thursday, September 10 at 7 pm, O’Connell will present a virtual talk about The Spartan Succession as part of the Salem Museum’s Speaker Series. His talk will be presented on Zoom: the link can be found on the Salem Museum’s web site, salemmuseum.org. The waiting room will open at 6:45.

In this volume, O’Connell takes readers on a riveting journey from the locker room to the playing field and beyond, providing a keen view of what it takes to make and sustain a high school football dynasty.

In the 1960s and early 1970s, the Wolverines of Andrew Lewis High School won gridiron acclaim under legendary head coach Eddie Joyce. From 1962 through 1971, the Wolverines won two state titles and finished as a runner-up three times.

Though unrecognized as the actual opponent in the 1971 state championship game featured in the nationally acclaimed film Remember the Titans, the Wolverines’ equally compelling story is chronicled in O’Connell’s previous book, The Team the Titans Remember.

Located in a city known for its deep civic pride and passion for sports—especially football—a new era began in 1977 when the newly established Salem High School opened its doors.

The football program at Salem struggled for years until a huge turning point in 1983 when Willis White was hired as the new head coach. He soon turned the team into a winner. Under White and his immediate successor, the Salem Spartans succeeded to the throne once held by the Wolverines and, to date, have played in twelve state championship games, winning nine.

Author Mark A. O’Connell is a Salem native and current resident of Orange County, Virginia who has served as a freelance sports correspondent for several newspapers in central Virginia, and has also provided the play-by-play commentary for the television broadcasts of high school football and lacrosse games.

(Masks and social distancing are required.)

The Salem Museum & Historical Society is an independent, nonprofit organization preserving and celebrating the history of Salem, Virginia, which was founded in 1802. The Salem Museum is located next to Longwood Park in the historic 1845 Williams-Brown House at 801 East Main Street, Salem, VA 24153. Open Tuesday–Saturday, 10 am to 4 pm. Museum admission is free, but donations are appreciated. The Museum has free parking. 540-389-6760. salemmuseum.org