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 Should Mora Leave UCLA? 28 Nov 16

by Tony Medley

With Cal leading UCLA 26-10 with 13:11 left in the game, a two score difference, Cal had a first and goal on UCLA’s 6 yard line. The announcer said, “UCLA needs a big play to turn this game around.” From his lips to God’s ear, Cal quarterback, Davis Webb, threw a horrible flat pass that UCLA defensive back Adarius Pickett had right in his hands for a 95 yard pick six. But he dropped it. Cal went on to annihilate UCLA, 36-10.

This is typical of Jim Mora’s teams since he arrived at UCLA in 2012. The NCAA doesn’t keep these records, but UCLA must be among the leaders in dropped passes, both offensively and defensively since 2012.

Here’s how Mora’s teams have finished in the conference since he started:

2012 1st

2013 2nd (T)

2014 2nd (T)

2015 3rd

2016 5th 0ut of 6

In the first few years he was playing with players recruited by his predecessor, Rick Neuheisel, including star quarterback Brett Hundley along with other players who became mainstays of Mora’s teams. As they graduated or went on to the NFL and Mora had to play with players he recruited, his record tanked.

His professional record is similar:

2004 ATL 11-5

2005 ATL 8-8

2006 ATL 7-9

2009 SEA 5-11

Successful coaches improve through the years. Mora gets worse.

His teams are typified by lack of discipline, constantly being at the top of the NCAA in times and yards penalized each year. The game against Cal was no exception as UCLA was penalized 11 times for 95 yards. But it’s not the yards of penalties that hurt so much as when they occur and what they eliminate. One crucial off sides in the 4th quarter at 3rd and 2 on the UCLA 11 (the play immediately preceding Pickett’s drop) gave Cal a first down on UCLA’s 6, and, earlier, a late hit on third down gave them another first down. A third nullified a UCLA touchdown. These results don’t show up in the cold stats.

In addition to his coaching deficiencies, I have a problem with his character. Each year as a member of the Red Sanders Single Wingers I attend a luncheon for UCLA players from UCLA football’s glory years in the ‘50s under Head Coach Red Sanders. Initially Mora would make a short appearance. The last three years he has been a no-show. The luncheon is held on the UCLA campus about a one-minute walk from Mora’s office. He doesn’t even have the courtesy to show his esteem for these UCLA heroes from 60 years ago to take 10 minutes to drop by and pay his respects. Let’s put this in perspective. If Mora works 40 hours a week (and he probably works a lot longer), ten minutes is .4% or four tenths of one percent of his work week, and he can’t even take that little amount of time to pay tribute to players who made UCLA great more than a half century ago.

Confirming this lack of character, a day after being routed by Cal he pusillanimously fired his offensive coordinator. I have a message for Mora, Vince Lombardi couldn’t gain yards with the offensive line you recruited. You would do well to heed The Bard, who said, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

NFL Penalty beyond the pale: We have all seen ridiculous penalties called by the officious NFL referees, who apparently think the fans pay to see them throw flags, but Sunday the officials called an “excessive celebration” penalty in the first quarter on the Rams’ Kenny Britt after Jared Goff threw his first career touchdown pass to Tavon Austin. All Britt did was to kneel down in front of Austin, pretend like he was taking his picture, and shake his hand. For this he was penalized. Calling a penalty like this “absurd” does not do it justice. Whoever called it should be fired. This is a game, an entertainment; get serious!

Dump the dummies: Goff looked much better against New Orleans, but, as I have said repeatedly, the Rams need much more than a quarterback. Specifically, in addition to better players, they need a new coach and General Manager (although presently the coach makes all personnel decisions), preferably people who know something about how to put together a winning football team, which would certainly set them apart from the present occupants of these positions, who, over the years, have proven this knowledge to be beyond their ken.