There have been several books written by and about John Wooden, and countless stories and documentaries.
Yet you won’t truly know the complete story about the legendary coach until you read Seth Davis’ new book, Wooden: A Coach’s Life.
Davis spent four years researching and writing this comprehensive biography. It gets to the core of a highly complex man.
Despite all of his success, Wooden also was a mass of contradictions. By and large, his players didn’t view him as a beloved coach when they actually played for him. In fact, many despised him. Outwardly, he had a cool, calm demeanor, but in private, he had a quick temper and was prone to epic eruptions.
Then the coach who was viewed as a saint in the business had an infamous UCLA booster, Sam Gilbert, who openly broke NCAA rules … Continue Reading
As a proud University of Illinois alum, I always will have fond memories of the ’89 Flying Illini basketball team. In fact, with the way the current season is going, I wish it was 1989 again.
They were an unforgettable bunch even if they failed to win the NCAA title. Their feet barely hit the floor all season.
Stephen Bardo, a guard for that team, parlayed that experience into a career in broadcasting. Yet everywhere he goes, people still ask him about what happened 25 years ago.
Bardo decided to write a book, The Flyin’ Illini: The Untold Story of One of College Basketball’s Elite Teams.
Bardo’s honesty in the book, especially over the coaching and relationship with Lou Henson, angered some people in Illini Nation. Of Henson, he wrote:
“Lou and I didn’t like each other at all. It … Continue Reading
My Chicago Tribune column on Jay Bilas and his stance on the pay-for-play issue in college sports generated quite a reaction yesterday. Many sides to the debate. Bilas himself even engaged with a few of my followers on Twitter.
Since the ESPN college basketball analyst had much more to say on the subject, it seems appropriate to share the entire interview. Definitely worth the read.
I can’t say I agree with all of Bilas’ points. However, being married to one, I know there was smarter things to do than get in argument with a lawyer. Yes, Bilas also practices law.
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, Bilas makes some compelling arguments. It is interesting to note that he doesn’t advocate paying all student-athletes. Rather, he wants a free market system to let the schools decide for themselves what … Continue Reading
My latest Chicago Tribune column has Jay Bilas weighing on the situation at Northwestern, where athletes are looking to form a union. The ESPN analyst has become the defacto go-to-guy on the pay-for-play issue.
You also can access the column via my Twitter feed at Sherman_Report.
From the column.
When a group of Northwestern players announced plans to form a union, Jay Bilas’ phone started to ring. That was natural as he has become a key voice, if not the prime voice, on the pay-for-play issue in college sports.
The ESPN college basketball analyst has been extremely outspoken in his contention that the NCAA system is grossly unfair to athletes. Like it or not, the 6-foot-8 former Duke forward’s pointed views have made him an even bigger man in this heated debate.
“I’m a little bit torn about it,” … Continue Reading
I saw Dick “Hoops” Weiss in Chicago for the Champions Classic games last month. Like everyone else, I offered my condolences about his dismissal from the New York Daily News last spring. We all figured he was having a tough time.
“Hoops” quickly assured all of us that we had it wrong. “Things couldn’t be better.”
Seth Davis of SI.com did on column on how “Hoops” is busier than ever. His story is a rare happy ending in our business.
It was a sad but all-too-familiar tale: a newspaper lifer, the classic ink-stained wretch, made a casualty of the digital age. For someone like Weiss, who is 66 years old, that kind of phone call almost always amounts to an involuntary retirement. Yet there he was on Nov. 12 at the Champions Classic in Chicago, strolling through the pressroom with
… Continue Reading
My latest Chicago Tribune column is on Digger Phelps. The former Notre Dame coach and current ESPN college basketball analyst will be giving thanks during the holiday season.
You also can access the column via my Twitter feed: @Sherman_Report.
From the column:
Digger Phelps was only 32 when he recorded his signature moment on the court. On Jan. 19, 1974, the Notre Dame basketball coach defeated John Wooden and ended UCLA’s record 88-game winning streak with a 71-70 victory in South Bend.
Now 40 years later, Phelps will be inducted in the Irish’s Basketball Ring of Honor on Jan. 19.
“We beat seven No. 1 teams,” said Phelps of his 20-year run on the Notre Dame bench.
Yet when Phelps thinks of his most significant victories these days, it has nothing to do with basketball.
“I’m 2-0 against … Continue Reading
Well, this is going to be different. And it could be the start of a future trend.
John Ourand in Sports Business Daily writes that Turner Sports will use TNT, TBS and TruTV to cover the two Saturday games during the NCAA Final Four in 2014. TBS will have the traditional national telecast, while TNT and TruTV will have calls geared toward individual teams.
Let’s say the country’s top two teams last week — Kentucky and Michigan State — meet in one semifinal. TNT would use announcers with connections to Kentucky during its telecast, while truTV would use a Michigan State-focused crew for its production. Turner officials have not decided what types of talent they will pursue and maintain that all options for using unique personalities are on the table.
“This concept is born out of the popularity
… Continue Reading
Terrific piece of reporting by Jeff Barker of the Baltimore Sun. It really illuminates how teams, universities, players can help shift opinions in the modern media world.
The University of Maryland anticipated most fans would initially react “emotionally and negatively” to last year’s decision to join the Big Ten Conference. So the school sought to influence the debate with a plan to lobby media pundits and plant positive comments into fan message boards.
Scores of documents and emails, obtained by The Baltimore Sun in response to a Public Information Act request, detail a public relations strategy that was as secret as the Big Ten negotiations themselves.
Maryland announced on Nov. 19, 2012, that it would depart the Atlantic Coast Conference after 60 years and join the Big Ten, effective in July 2014. It, as school officials predicted,
… Continue Reading
There had been speculation that Bob Knight was done at ESPN after last season.
Well, it turns out the former coach is back. Knight is slated to work Thursday night SEC games with Rece Davis.
Whether by his choice or the network’s, Knight’s role has been greatly reduced since he arrived at ESPN in 2008. He once had a major presence as a studio analyst and on multiple games. Now he is doing one SEC game per week.
Perhaps at age 73, Knight wants to keep his hand in the game while limiting the travel and other broadcast duties. Understandable.
Then again, maybe the demand for the old coach isn’t what it used to be.
… Continue Reading
There is a telling scene in Schooled in which UCLA running back Johnathan Franklin is shown playing a college football video game. And who is carrying the ball? None other than Franklin–at least the animated version.
Franklin, of course, lights up, knowing full well he won’t see a penny for his image being used.
“It really showed how he felt at that moment,” said producer Andrew Muscato.
Schooled: The Price of College Sports is full of many moments that examine what college sports is (big-money) and what it also is too often (failing athletes). The documentary debuts tonight at 8 p.m. ET on Epix, a premium cable channel that is following the mode of HBO and Showtime of using sports as a vehicle to widen its audience. The film also is available at epixhd.com, iTunes and will be … Continue Reading