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.

NFL's Officious Officials

by Tony Medley

These old time NFL referees are simply ruining the game. In the Miami-Indianapolis game a phantom holding call late in the fourth quarter cost Miami a very good chance to win the game when a long punt return was run back to midfield but a ref called holding that wasn't even plausible. In fact reruns showed that the holdee was actually the guy who should have been called, if anyone.

Then in the Giants-Steelers game, a ref just called pass interference on an absolutely perfect defensive play by Keenan Lewis. He barely touched the guy and his touching had absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he knocked the pass down. This led to a touchdown, having given the Giants great field position.

These refs are apparently under the delusion that it's their obligation to throw a flag and that that's what people come out to see, yellow flags fluttering in the air almost every time there's a good play. So many great runs are called back by ridiculous holding calls or blocks in the back and so many terrific defensive plays are nullified by pass interference called that they ruin the game with these phantom calls. The sad thing is that nothing can be done about it because the NFL obstinately defends all calls, no matter how ludicrous.

I don't remember any of these phantom calls during the strike. The replacement guys erred on the side of no penalty. The "experienced" guys call a penalty whenever they possibly can. As I said before, bring back the replacement refs, who generally let them play and only called penalties that actually were penalties. They might have missed a few, but I say it's a better game when a few penalties are missed than when phantom penalties are called.

What's really amazing is when they blow obvious penalties that should be called. With about five minutes to go in the second quarter of the Giants–Steelers game, Ben Roethlisberger fumbled.  Giants Michael Boley picked it up and ran it in for a touchdown. However en route to the goal line his teammate, Jason Pierre–Paul, clearly blocked Pittsburgh Heath Miller in the back. Miller was between Boley and the goal line and had a clear angle on him. Pierre-Paul's illegal block allowed Boley to score. There was nothing ambiguous about it. It was a blatant penalty that had to be called. In fact it was such a stupid action by Pierre-Paul, it was an outrage that he wasn't penalized.

So what was the result? No flag was thrown on Pierre-Paul's illegal block in the back, even though it occurred openly in the middle of the field right in front of a referee.

So the upshot is that these referees call phantom penalties that nullify great plays, ignore blatant penalties that result in long gains or touchdowns, and often don't even get it right when they can review it on instant replay.

 A terrific game is being ruined before our very eyes by incompetent, self-aggrandizing officials, who define the word officious.

 November 4, 2012