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: Dodgers’ Monstrous Mistake 19 Oct 15

by Tony Medley

Dem Bums: You can take the Dodgers out of Brooklyn, but you can’t take Brooklyn out of the Dodgers. The Brooklyn Bums were famous for things that only happened to them, to wit; the only team who had the ball bounce off the right fielder’s head while trying to catch a fly ball (Babe Herman); the only team to wind up with three men on third base (prompting this colloquy: first fan, “The Dodgers have three men on base!” Second fan, “Which base?”); when Boston Braves manager Casey Stengel was being booed at Ebbets Field, he doffed his cap and a bird flew out. These are only a few that made the Brooklyn Dodgers unique. Now the Los Angeles Dodgers have added an event that rates with those classics, a runner on first (Mets’ Daniel Murphy) went from first to third on a walk! Unlike the other events quoted above, though, which were humorous but basically unharmful, this event cost the Dodgers a Division Championship.

Nightmare comes true: My classic complaint for these dumb managers pulling pitchers is that the shortstop makes an error, so they pull the pitcher instead of the shortstop. But the ultimate happened in the 7th inning of game 5 between Toronto-Texas. Texas pitcher Cole Hamels was on the top of his game. But in the bottom of the seventh, leading 3-2, the shortstop, Elvis Andrus, made an error. Then the first baseman, Mitch Moreland made an error on a throw to Andrus, although many shortstops could have caught the short hop throw. Then Andrus made another error on a perfect throw by Adrian Beltre on a bunt that would have forced the lead runner at third. Three ground balls that should have been three up, three down. But there was nobody out and the bases were loaded. Hamels got the next batter to hit a ground ball for a force play at the plate.

So Texas manager Jeff Banister pulls Hamels!!! Common sense would dictate that he pull his shortstop, but, no, he pulls his dominating starting pitcher! Then, with one out and the bases full, instead of playing the infield for a double play, Banister plays it in, so a short pop fly that would have been an easy out, was just out of reach of the second baseman, scoring the tying run but forcing the runner at second. Two out. Then Hamels’ reliever, Sam Dyson, allows a monstrous three run home run. Bye bye playoffs. All because Banister pulled Hamels after his infielders made three errors behind him. That’s baseball managing for you and it makes me sick.

Bring Back the Replacement Refs: NFL referees are worse than ever, but you will never see a more blatant bad call than the one that probably cost Detroit the game and its season against Seattle. Lions’ receiver Calvin Johnson was sailing into the end zone when Seattle defensive back Kam Chancellor knocked the ball out of his grip a half yard short of the goal line. The ball was bouncing toward the back of the end zone when Seattle defender K. J. Wright batted it out of the end zone.

The back judge, Greg Wilson, called it a touchback. But batting a ball like that is a penalty. Detroit should have gotten the ball on the half yard line and another down. The replay showed Wright batting the ball out directly in front of the official and the official was staring at him and the ball.

The official later was quoted as saying he didn’t think it was an overt act. That’s a ridiculous comment because Wright clearly batted the ball out of the end zone with his hand. If Wilson didn’t think it was “overt,” he’s the only person in the world who thinks that and it happened right in front of him. But “overt” is not part of the rule. If he bats it, it’s a penalty, period, end of story. But did the NFL take action against the official? He cost Detroit a huge game.  There was nary a peep from the NFL, except to admit that the call was wrong.

Wilson should have been either fired or suspended for the rest of the season for such an egregious non-call. They throw flags all over the field throughout the games for meaningless occurrences, but a ref can’t see a game-deciding penalty 10 feet in front of him while he’s staring at it? As I said last week, what’s the purpose of watching the NFL when every game is decided by lousy officiating?

Grammar Police: “I seen them yesterday in the locker room.” Myles Jack, former UCLA linebacker. Jack quit school at the end of his first quarter of his third year after a season-ending injury in practice, to sign up for the NFL draft. Probably a good idea. If UCLA hadn’t taught him correct English in more than two years, it probably wasn’t going to teach him much of anything else.

Horror Story: Probably the worst part of the end of the baseball season is having to watch a bunch of allegedly mature men don goggles and go around spraying champagne on everybody. I don’t know where this started, but someone who has an adult mentality should put an end to it. It’s one thing to be happy and to celebrate, it’s another to do it in such a non-spontaneous, worse-than-childish, ridiculous way.