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 stories in their own words.

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

Sports Medley: Baseball Needs Balls & Strikes called by Technology 15 Jun 15

by Tony Medley

Umpires are Fallible; Technology Much Less So: Last week two of the best behaved players in Major League Baseball, Adrian Gonzalez and Tori Hunter,  threw conniption fits and were thrown out of games contesting the ball and strike calls. At the dawn of the baseball era umpires stood behind the pitcher to call balls and strikes. That is, without question, the best place for an umpire to stand call pitches. When he is behind the catcher he simply cannot see low balls because he is blocked. Baseball is a game of pitching. For example, when the count is zero balls and one strike, whether the next pitch is called a strike or a ball makes a huge difference. The pitcher is on top of the world with an 0-2 count. At 1-1 it’s still an even game. Calling balls and strikes is simply too important to leave to a poorly positioned umpire to make a decision when technology exists to make it exact. The MLB network shows every pitch with the strike zone outlined and the position of the pitch crossing the plate shown. It should not be left to a fallible umpire to make a bad call when technology can make it correctly. Tennis used to be a sport with constant player complaints about line calls. When technology was brought in and the challenge system installed, complaints about line calls ended. So let it be with baseball. Don’t penalize pitchers and hitters who have to live with terrible decisions of umpires behind the plate. Their decisions decide virtually every game played.

More Talking Head Wisdom: “Both sides are upset with the umpire. All you want is consistency behind there, that’s all,” former player Nomar Garciaparra, Dodgers’ TV Commentator after another horrible strike call against Dodgers’ first baseman Adrian Gonzalez. That’s a bromide of a guy sitting in a booth that is repeated time and again, and it’s rubbish. No batter in baseball wants an unhittable pitch called a strike, whether the umpire is consistent or not. That would mean that the batter would have to swing at a pitch he knows he cannot hit well just to protect  himself. What is needed is accuracy, and the only way to get that is by using technology to call pitches.

 The Mattingly Way to Play Baseball: Both Adrian Gonzalez and Jimmy Rollins have been thrown out recently trying to steal third, Rollins with two outs. There is no earthly reason to try to steal third with two outs because it still takes a base hit to score (I know, there could be a wild pitch or a passed ball, but those odds aren’t worth the risk). Gonzalez’s attempt was doubly surprising because he has the speed of a sloth and has stolen exactly 6 bases in 10 attempts during his 12 year career. It was made glaringly ill-advised when Yasmani Grandal followed with a single that would have scored Gonzalez from second had he remained there.

Mattingly Baseball #2: On June 7, Zack Greinke was pitching a six-hit one run game with 8 strikeouts, leading 2-1, in the top of the 7th. With two outs and nobody on base, having just struck out the preceding hitter, Mattingly pulled him for no reason (oops, he had just thrown his 99th pitch; egads!) for one of the nonentities in the bullpen, who got the last out of the inning. Mattingly then put in a guy named Juan Nicasio who got bombed for three runs in the 8th inning, leading to another loss. On Sunday it was Nicasio who threw the 9th inning pitch that San Diego’s Justin Upton blasted over 400 feet to dead center upon which Joc Pederson made a miraculous catch to save Nicasio and the game. Is there anyone in the world who would rather have Juan Nicasio on the mound in the late innings of a close game than Greinke, who is arguably one of the three best pitchers in the game?

On June 12, Mattingly pulled Clayton Kershaw leading 2-1 with two outs in the 7th inning and nobody on base just after striking out his 11th batter while allowing only one run and six hits for no discernable reason except that he had made 117 pitches. So his successor, someone named Yimi Garcia, came in and messed up a pop fly allowing the batter to reach first, then on the next pitch surrendered a 2 run home run blast, surrendering the lead. Who would rather have “Yimi Garcia” pitch to the end of a game than Clayton Kershaw? That’s like sending Will Ferrell up to bat for Babe Ruth. And, on another front, not a word of criticism from The Los Angeles Times, whose coverage of baseball has reached the level of sycophancy.

 Mattingly Baseball #3: Donnie Baseball clearly loves his .200 hitters. Alex Guerrero (.284, 10 home runs in 116 at bats) is still being punished for hitting the super grand slam a week ago as weak-hitting chubby (5-9, 225 lbs.) Alberto Callaspo (.225, 1 home run in 136 at bats), gleefully dumped on the Dodgers by the Braves, gets the starts ahead of him. On Sunday, Mattingly’s weak lineup included Callaspo and Rollins (.200) with Justin Turner (.319) and Guerrero on the bench. And Mattingly wonders why the Dodgers can’t score runs?

The Mattingly Malady is Spreading: Cleveland Cavalier’s Russian center Timofey Mozgov, the only other high quality player on the Cav’s depleted roster other than LeBron James, sparkled with 28 points and 10 rebounds in Cleveland’s game 4 loss to Golden State. Coach David Blatt immediately benched Mozgov for game 5, treating him the same way Mattingly treats Turner and Guerrero, and James was left to fight Golden State alone surrounded by a sea of mediocrity.

 Don’t Hold Back: “That is outstanding! Out of this world! Pure genius!” Soccer commentator when Lionel Messi of Argentina made a goal.