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.

2012 Super Bowl Redux

by Tony Medley

As I predicted before the playoffs began, lo, these many months ago, the New York Giants were the best team in football and won the Super Bowl, running my record to 10 correct picks out of 11 games. The only game I missed was San Francisco's last-second victory over New Orleans.

The NFL was really lucky because the last three games were among the best playoff games ever played, including the Super Bowl. There can be few doubters now that the Giants were the best team. They even overcame horrible refereeing. There were three blatant wrong calls against them when they played Green Bay or the game would have been more of a rout that it was. This continued against New England Sunday. There was a phantom holding call in the first half that turned a Giant first down in Patriot territory into a third and long that the Giants couldn't convert. When the holding call occurred (the Giants led 9-3 at the time) I told my friend that that one call probably made the difference between a 16-3 halftime lead for the Giants and a 10-9 halftime lead for the Patriots. Sure  enough, after the Giants were forced to punt, the Patriots drove 98 yards for the leading touchdown.

Then in the fourth quarter, with the Patriots still leading, on another Giants third down at midfield there was a blatant pass interference that wasn't called, so once again the Giants were forced to punt. Despite all this, they came back to win the game due in large part to a great pass by Eli Manning and an equally great catch by Mario Manningham. The catch itself wasn't that difficult. What made it great was the way he got both his feet inbounds and retained possession of the ball while falling out of bounds being hit by two Patriots.

Cover 2 is a terrific defense, but very few teams play it correctly. Manningham's great catch (made possible by an incredibly accurate long pass by Manning) was enabled by New England misplaying their cover 2. But give Manning credit. His first look was to his right. Seeing nothing there, he quickly determined that the New England safety was out of position and threw the pass to Manningham, point on (and under pressure).

There has also been a lot of criticism of Nicks for going out of bounds in the last two minutes when Manning hit him with a short flat pass. But I didn't think he had any choice when watching it in real time and confirmed it when I replayed it. Nicks caught the ball on the 12 yard line and had to get to the 8 for a first down. There were two defenders between him and the 8. If he turns in, he doesn't have a chance for the first down. So he angled toward the sideline and made the first down, but was forced out of bounds. If he doesn't angle to his left, which caused him to go out of bounds, he doesn't get the first down. But all the talking heads are just assuming that "Nicks made a horrible decision by going out of bounds," and I've not heard one person challenge this.  As with most of the stuff the talking heads say, they are dead wrong.

That said, this victory should be a tribute to Giants coach Tom Coughlin. Coughlin made one of the great decisions of all time in 2004 when, as a rookie coach, he benched my all time favorite NFL player, Kurt Warner, to allow rookie Eli Manning to play. I was incensed at the time, but even then I realized it was a courageous decision. Warner had won 5 of the first nine games. Manning only won one of the remaining games. Warner went to Arizona, where he won the starting quarterback job and took Arizona to the 2009 Super Bowl, coming within less than a minute of winning it.

But Kurt is now retired. Manning struggled for awhile, but has become a premier quarterback and this is his second Super Bowl victory and second Super Bowl MVP. Coughlin deserves a lot of the credit.

See you before next year's playoffs.