Out of print for more than 30 years, now available for the first time as an eBook, this is the controversial story of John Wooden's first 25 years and first 8 NCAA Championships as UCLA Head Basketball Coach. This is the only book that gives a true picture of the character of John Wooden and the influence of his assistant, Jerry Norman, whose contributions Wooden  ignored and tried to bury.

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. The players tell their their stories in their own words. This is the book that UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan tried to ban.

Click the book to read the first chapter and for ordering information. Also available on Kindle.

Joyful Noise (5/10)

by Tony Medley

Run time 104 minutes

OK for children

This starts out with a rollicking concert with wonderful singing and dancing by the choir that includes Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah. For the next 45 minutes it is filled with terrific music and I thought I was seeing a real winner.

Then, however, it makes the music secondary to an uninvolving story of a love affair between Queen Latifah's daughter, Keke Palmer, and Dolly's grandson, Jeremy Jordan, a romance that is notable for an astonishing lack of chemistry between the two.

The purpose of the film seems to be to send a message about multi-racial romance because the two main romances in the film are multi-racial. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but they are so in-your-face that one worries about exiting the film with a concussion from being so bombarded with director Todd Graff's Point of View. Except for Dolly and her husband, Kris Kristofferson, who dies in the first minute of the film, and Queen Latifah and her husband, who is pretty much absent from the film until the last minute, there are no couples that are both white or both black or both Asian. Every romance is mixed.

This obvious attempt to send a message is a shame because the music is really terrific. But when the middle of the film diverts from the choir and the singing and the music into what comes across as mawkish preaching, the joy of the music and the other moral principles in the film are pretty much lost. I really don't care what the message is, or whether I agree or disagree, when a filmmaker obstinately thrusts your face in his message for almost two hours, it becomes distasteful. It is particularly inappropriate when he has lured you into his theater advertising one thing and then concentrates on manipulating your opinion about something entirely different. This could have been a good movie about music and a choir working to win a title, like The School of Rock (2003), which didn't have any subtheme and contained 35 songs. It was mostly about music.

Although this film contains 27 songs, after the first 45 minutes, I found myself fighting to stay awake. Unfortunately, it was a fight I won.