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Fassel Has Unusual Family Reunion

May 22, 2003|From Associated Press

WOODCLIFF LAKE, N.J. — New York Giant Coach Jim Fassel didn't need much time to recruit the team's latest fan -- his newfound son.

John Mathieson was asked if he planned to switch allegiance from the Denver Broncos to the Giants now that he has learned Fassel is his father.

"Yes, he does," Fassel interjected.

Mathieson, a 34-year-old car salesman from Colorado, laughed.

"I guess I'm going to be switching here real quick," he said.

Fassel and his wife, Kitty, gave up their son for adoption while still unmarried college students in California. After years of searching, they finally spoke to Mathieson on Mother's Day and met with him several days later at his home in Highlands Ranch, Colo.

The Fassels and three of their other four children met the media Wednesday along with Mathieson and his wife at a hotel in Woodcliff Lake.

The Fassels were 19 when they gave up their son days after his birth, April 5, 1969. Fassel, who played quarterback at Fullerton College and USC, said they privately acknowledged his birthday each year and wondered how he was.

Fassel and Mathieson were looking, but not much happened until July, when Colorado laws changed to allow agencies to attempt reunifications with written consent from both sides.

Mathieson's adopted father, Tom, is dead. His adopted mother, Dorothy Rogers, recently said, "I think it's a blessing that John is more or less getting something like an extended family."

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