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. Notre Dame Coach Digger Phelps said, "I used this book as an inspiration for the biggest win of my career when we ended UCLA's all-time 88-game winning streak in 1974."

Compiled with more than 40 hours of interviews with Coach Wooden, learn about the man behind the coach. Click the Book to read the players telling 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.

2010 Super Bowl Redux

by Tony Medley

In 1955 the Brooklyn Dodgers finally won a World Series, defeating the Yankees (who had beaten them in 1941, 47, 49, 52, and 53) in seven games. The seventh game, won by Johnny Podres 2-0, is still lionized as the greatest game in Dodgers’ history. What nobody remembers is that the Yankees played almost the entire series without their best player, Mickey Mantle, who was injured and only had 7 at bats in 7 games.  Had Mantle been healthy would the Dodgers have prevailed? Unlikely. But nobody remembers that.

New Orleans beat Indianapolis in the Super Bowl Sunday. Nobody will remember that the Colts best defensive player, Dwight Freeney, was seriously injured and but a shadow of himself in the second half. In the first quarter the Saints were using two and three men to block him and he still put pressure on Drew Brees. But as his ankle tightened up, his skill level decreased enormously, resulting in Brees completing something like every pass he threw but two. The ONLY defense against a good passer is a big rush, as Manning showed later in the game.

Actually, there were three main reasons why Indianapolis lost:

  1. Freeney’s injury.
  2. Miserable, gutless play-calling by Indianapolis (and the blame for that has to go to Peyton Manning who runs the offense). After an heroic goal-line stand where the Colts stopped the Saints on the one yard line, Manning ran three running plays, didn’t get the first down, was forced to kick and New Orleans got its field goal anyway. The onside kick to start the second half was terrific, but Manning’s play-calling at the end of the first half turned the game around. Against the Jets in a similar situation he drove the length of the field with passes, scored, and turned that game around. Three runs by the guy against whom nobody can defend by a team with one of the worst running offenses in the league? Idiotic!
  3. Metaphysics. When Indianapolis gave up against the Jets in the fourth quarter of a 15-10 game, pulled their players and tanked the game even though they were undefeated at the time, they not only thumbed their nose at their fans and the game of football, they challenged the gods and got what they deserved, to wit, Freeney getting injured in practice and Manning calling idiotic plays.

As a postscript, Johnny Unitas, John Elway, and Joe Montana can stop worrying about Manning being considered the greatest quarterback of all time. The greats step up in big games. Manning is 9-9 in playoffs. This was a game he had to win. And he lost it, nobody else, by his play-calling at the end of the first half and his less than accurate passing in the rest of the game on big plays. He dotted the “I” and crossed the “T” on the issue of his greatness when he charged off the field after the game without congratulating Brees or anyone on the Saints’ team. Last year, in a much more heartbreaking, last second, loss to Pittsburgh, Arizona quarterback Kurt Warner (just as big a star as Manning) graciously stayed on the field to shake hands with the Pittsburgh players who had just beaten him. That’s the way a great player acts.

February 9, 2010