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: 2017 Super Bowl: 6 Feb 17

by Tony Medley

In last year’s Super Bowl, NFL MVP quarterback Cam Newton showed what he was made of when with his team trailing in the waning moments, but with a chance to go ahead, he ran away from his own fumble, afraid he would be injured if he fell on it to save their chance of winning.

In this year’s Super Bowl with Atlanta leading New England 28 to 20 Atlanta quarterback and NFL MVP Matt Ryan had a second and 11 on New England’s 22 Yard line with 3:56 remaining in the game. All Atlanta had to do was to run two more line plunges, taking the maximum amount of time possible, and kick a short field goal. Had they done this and had New England not called the timeouts, New England would have taken possession of the ball with a little over two minutes left in the game and two scores behind. In this situation, New England probably would’ve had less than a 1% chance of winning the game.

Instead, Atlanta and Ryan called a pass play and Ryan was sacked! It was bad enough to call a pass play in that situation when another touchdown was relatively meaningless and when they were well within easy field goal range. But any quarterback with half a brain knows he cannot take a sack in that situation. If his protection breaks down, throw it away and have third down and 11 on the 21 yard line. What’s wrong with that?

Instead, Ryan takes a sack and instead of third and 11 on the 22, he’s got third and 23 on the 35. This translates into a 53 yard field goal, not impossible, but not nearly as easy as the 40 yard field goal they would have had with two line plunges from 21. So they tried another pass and are called for holding, making it third and 33 on the 45 yard line, outside of field goal range. MVP Ryan then misses a simple out pattern which would have given them the fourth down on the 31 which translates to a 49 yard field goal.

The result of this indefensible play call of a pass on second and 11 on the 21 was that New England won the game and the Super Bowl. Newton was no MVP, and neither is Ryan.

But equally to blame is Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan (soon to be the 49ers head coach, and they deserve each other). I don’t know who called the play, but generally a play like that is called by the offensive coordinator.

 Shanahan, you may remember, was the offensive coordinator with the Washington Redskins in 2012 when Robert Griffin III led the Redskins to the playoffs as offensive rookie of the year. In the Wild Card game against the Seattle Seahawks, he suffered a serious leg injury near the end of the game but was put back in and aggravated the injury, as certainly should have been expected. He has never been the same since, and instead of appreciating his sacrifice, the Redskins dropped him like a lead balloon.

I’m sure I wasn’t alone when I cringed as he limped back into the game. Whoever made the decision, be it Kyle or his father, Mike, who was the head coach of the Redskins, should carry the burden of that decision to put Griffin back in that game on his conscience for the rest of his life.

Similarly, whoever made the play call of the pass on 2nd and 11 on New England’s 21 should carry that burden for a long time, even though Ryan, if he is an MVP, should have known better than to take a sack.

What this game proved is that anyone who thinks that people who manage, coach, and play professional sports know enough about what they’re doing to make competent decisions should rethink that idea.

Comparison of MVP candidate quarterbacks: Along the same lines as my last paragraph, those who chose Ryan as 2016 season MVP over Tom Brady (50 sportswriters and sportscasters like Bob Costas and Chris Berman) also proved that their decisions are meaningless mush. An MVP would have been able to complete the simple out to a wide open receiver on third and 33 with the game on the line to put Atlanta back in field goal position that Ryan missed. Compare that with the amazingly accurate pass after pass that Brady threw under tremendous pressure in the last quarter in scoring 19 points to tie the game. Between those two, who’s the MVP?