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: Is Odell Beckham, Jr. an Egotistical, Selfish Thug? 21 Dec 15

by Tony Medley

Sundayís Giants-Panthers game showed what ego and selfishness can do to a talented player. Giantsí receiver Odell Beckham, Jr. was going against Carolinaís Josh Norman, who many believe to be the best corner in the game. Beckham was not up to the task. So his solution was to play dirty. He punched Norman in the face and then head-butted him. He was called for three personal fouls during the game. His selfishness clearly cost the Giants yet another game because since he spent the entire first half trying to seriously injure Norman (including sticking his hand in Normanís mouth and grabbing him by the lower jaw), he didnít catch a pass and the Giants fell behind 35-7. They came back to tie the game in the second half but lost on a field goal on the last play of the game.

Thereís more to it than that, though. One of Beckhamís fouls was a vicious, intentional helmet to helmet head butt after a play was over. He should have been thrown out of the game immediately for such a malicious, deliberate hit. But the clueless refs, Terry McAulayís crew of umpire Bryan Neale, head linesman Derick Bowers, line judge Tom Stephan, field judge Michael Banks, side judge Jonah Monroe, and back judge Greg Steed, just whistled him for a penalty and let him stay in the game. There are no good guys here. Fault abounds:

  1. The referees should have immediately kicked Beckham out of the game after the punch to the face, but especially after the helmet to helmet hit.
  2. When the refs let him stay in the game, Giants' Coach Tom Coughlin should have pulled him and sent him to the locker room immediately.
  3. The Giants should have suspended him for the rest of the season.
  4. The league, which slapped his wrist with a one game suspension, should have suspended him for the rest of the season.
  5. The NFL should have suspended the referees for the rest of the season for not acting against Beckham.

The NFL is aware that the TV networks wonít be pleased if Beckham, one of the most exciting players in the game, isnít on the field, which explains the meager one game suspension. For the NFL, money trumps morality.

In light of the paltry penalty by the NFL, the Giants themselves should penalize Beckham. His actions were not only dangerous, they caused the Giants the game and probably a place in the playoffs. No team should stand for that from one of its players. Itís one thing to make a physical mistake like a fumble or an interception. Beckhamís actions were egregious, extra-curricular, and selfish. But these are the New York Giants, who have already proven several times this year that they are not candidates for Mensa.

Bad Officiating isnít limited to football: There is a lot not to like about officiating in college basketball, but near the top of the list is the blocking foul. About five minutes into the first half of the UCLA Ė North Carolina game on Saturday a North Carolina guard drove the lane. UCLAís Thomas Welsh, in my opinion UCLAís most important player, was standing in the lane facing him, didnít move his feet, and raised his hands above his head which is perfect defense. The North Carolina player ran into him but the official behind the basket immediately called the foul on Welsh. This was the second foul called on Welsh, so he had to leave the game for virtually the rest of the half. In the second half, a UCLA player drove the lane and a North Carolina player ran over and knocked him over, a clear defensive foul, but instead the referee called the UCLA player for charging.

Two things are bad here. The first is that the charging/blocking foul is almost always called on the defender, regardless of the perfection of his defense.  The second is the incomparable inconsistency in calls. The NFL officials are truly horrible, but they canít compare with the incompetence of basketball officials. Welsh was on the bench in foul trouble much of the game and UCLA lost badly.

I think that one of the main problems is that many, if not most, referees are old men. NFL referees get up to $180,000 per year; NCAA referees get as much as $2,000 per game.  For that remuneration, the NFL and NCAA should be able to attract young men, demand competence, and discharge those who donít measure up. And they should have a mandatory termination age, like 50. The games are played by young men; they should be officiated by young men. But these same old men keep making the same awful calls.