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: Goff No Panacea 21 Nov 16

by Tony Medley

Pipe Dream: All the fans and sportswriters who were crying crocodile tears because Jared Goff was not starting at quarterback for the Rams got their wish. The result was disaster, but readers of this column should not have been surprised. Coach Jeff Fisher didnít have the confidence in Goff to allow him to throw the ball downfield, so he was limited to short passes, mostly quick-hitting slants.

What he showed off in this game is that he is not going to make people forget Kenny Stabler in terms of accuracy. At least three of his 17 completions (almost all short passes) were poorly timed, thrown behind the receiver, and were completed only because the receivers made exceptional catches. At the end of the game, when he had to throw accurate sideline passes to work the clock, he did not come close to even one receiver.

The Ramsí offense continued to be awful. Had Case Keenan started the game, the Rams probably would have won because, at this stage of their respective careers, Keenan is both a better quarterback and a much better passer.

As I have pointed out all season, the Ramsí problem is not at quarterback; it is their woeful offensive line. And because they traded all their draft choices to get the rights to draft Goff, the chances of them improving the offensive line for next year are slim unless their wisdom-challenged owners are willing to get decision-making personnel who know something about winning football games, and pony up big bucks to sign free-agent offensive lineman in the off-season. Donít hold your breath.

But letís be fair here, since 2012 head coach Jeff Fisher has had full personnel authority so the blame for where the Rams are falls squarely on his shoulders.

Teams with the right coach making personnel decisions can turn around fast. Vince Lombardi took over the Packers in 1959 after a 1-10-1 season. His first year he improved them to 7-5. His second year he took them to the NFL title game. Jeff Fisher is in his fifth season and has never had a winning record, going 7-8-1, 7-9, 6-10, 7-9, and 4-6 so far this year; hardly Lombardi-like.

Why losers lose: With 5:32 left in the fourth quarter with the Bears trailing the New York Giants 22-16, the Bears had a second and 18 on their 5 yard line when running back Jordan Howard dropped a short pass with running room. At third and 18 he dropped another short pass with running room, so the Bears were forced to punt. The Giantsí Dwayne Harris fumbled the punt on the Giantsí 35 yard line. The Bearsí Jay Bellamy had the ball right in his hands but was unable to hold on and the Giants retained possession. Later, with third and seven on their own 33 yard line with three minutes and 40 seconds left, Howard dropped another pass that would have given them a first down on the 50 so they were forced to punt again. When you botch four plays like that (three in a row) in the last six minutes of a six point game, you canít expect to win.

Penalties offsetting: In the Rams-Miami game, there was an off-side penalty against the Rams and a blocking in the back penalty against Miami. The referees ruled that the penalties offset. In such a situation, when there is a major penalty against a minor penalty, the penalties should not offset. Both should be enforced. In this instance the Rams should have been penalized 5 yards and Miami should have been penalized 10 yards for a net 5 yard penalty in the Rams favor. Only when there are two infractions with the same penalty should they offset. When there are infractions on both teams that have unequal penalties, both should be enforced.

Another rules change needed: The penalty for four defensive infractions; roughing the passer, roughing the kicker, defensive pass interference, and defensive holding awards the non-offending team a first down. Why are defensive holding and defensive pass interference infractions penalized with an automatic first down? Often with third and long, like 3rd & 25, thereís a short gain but the defense is called for defensive holding and the offense gets a first down. This is inequitable and should be changed. Roughing infractions are egregious and should face serious penalties, but when itís 3rd and long and thereís a defensive holding call thereís no earthly reason why it should be penalized by an automatic first down.

Idle question: UCLAís last football game of the season has traditionally been against USC. Next Saturday is ďRivalry Saturday,Ē but UCLA plays Cal. Whatís up with that?

 

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