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 ESPN’s Wimbledon Coverage 5 Jul 16

by Tony Medley

Bring Back the USA Network: Back in the day (and it hasn’t been that long ago; USA gave it up after the 2008 tournament), the USA Network provided the best coverage of tennis with the U.S. Open, and it’s sorely missed. Comparing what we get from ESPN and what USA provided, it’s like comparing a horse and buggy to a Mercedes.

It’s obvious that none of the suits that run ESPN watch its tennis coverage. If they did they would realize that their sound engineers are incompetent. As I have said in the past (I apparently have to comment in this every year), the sounds of the crowd and the umpire drown out their announcers. Most of the time, I don’t care because their commentators are bland and trite, but I do want to hear what John McEnroe has to say but his comments are almost completely drowned out by the crowd noise. Worse, after Saturday’s Novak Djokovic-Sam Querrey match, ESPN went to a split screen to show Djokovic being interviewed post-match while showing the Andy Murray-John Millman match on the other screen. But to ensure that nobody could hear anything Djokovic said, ESPN kept the crown noise from the Murray match on high so that many of Djokovic’s answers were near-inaudible, totally drowned out by the crowd noise at the Murray match.

But that’s not all of ESPN’s tennis incompetence. On virtually every pitch on every MLB telecast, there is a graphic showing the speed of the pitch. ESPN should have a similar graphic showing the speed of the serve. It’s shown on the scoreboard at the match; why can’t ESPN show it as a graphic on its telecast?

There’s more. ESPN’s directors constantly miss points while they are showing replays. In the Djokovic-Querrey match, they even missed another point just to show a reaction shot of Djokovic’s coach, Boris Becker.

Finally, ESPN refuses to use the low camera that puts the viewer in the match for play by play. They might use it on a few replays, but this shot, which is as good as the centerfield camera used on every pitch in baseball, is totally ignored by ESPN and all the other telecasters of tennis, and it’s a shame because it puts the viewer in every point.

Turn off the sound: TV commentators making no sense isn’t limited to baseball, football, and basketball. In answer to Golf’s U.S. Open Championship lead broadcaster Joe Buck’s question on Fox Sports, “Whoever wins this U.S. Open Championship today does what?”

“Expert” Commentator Paul Azinger responded in stream of consciousness of which James Joyce would be proud: “Golfers choke for two things; cash and prestige. Here at the U.S. Open they’re going to be choking for prestige and prestige only…you gotta control your heart rate; your heart can beat so hard you can feel your pulse in your fingertips…you gotta be conscious of your walking pace today… but all in all you have to hit the fairway and as we all know, it comes down to the putter.”

Later, in commenting on the possibility of a penalty against eventual winner, Dustin Johnson, Azinger said, “Let’s be clear about one thing: it’s never easy.” That was the straw that broke the camel’s back; click.

Is this really that tough a job? Chris Woodward is the Dodgers new third base coach. This is not a taxing position. Responsibilities include flashing signs to batters and runners, and deciding whether a runner should try to get to home. With the Dodgers leading Colorado Sunday 2-0, they had runners on second and third with two outs. Justin Turner hit a short, Texas League, single to left field. One run scored easily. Woodward inexplicably sent the runner on second, Yasmani Grandal, a lead-footed catcher, to the plate. It was but a short throw from shallow left field and Grandal was out by 20 feet. Question: what kind of reasoning is involved in deciding to send in a slow runner from second with two out when your cleanup hitter, Adrian Gonzalez is up next? As might have been anticipated, Gonzales led off the next inning with a single that would have scored Grandal had Woodward held him up at third.