Art & Life

‘They Call Me Coach’ Review

CONTRIBUTED: “They Call Me Coach” is an autobiography of who is arguably the greatest men`s college basketball coach ever, John Wooden. It was forwarded by one of his former players, Bill Walton. The book is an absolute must-read for any basketball or sports fan. “They Call Me Coach” reflects on the coaching career of Wooden, behind the scenes of UCLA basketball in the 60`s and 70`s, why his Bruin teams were so successful, and how he was able to coach a plethora of players that a had tremendous success in the next level. 

Players such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, and Gail Goodrich were coached by Wooden. All three players won an NBA Championship as well as a NCAA Championship. Walton himself was one of the nation’s best players and helped lead UCLA to win two NCAA Championship titles. He also helped lead the Portland Trailblazers to win a championship in 1977 by knocking of the 76ers.  

Wooden was the face of basketball during his coaching tenure at UCLA. Many of his quotes still live on today, such as, “It’s not how tall you are, but how tall you play.”  

This autobiography teaches patience and perseverance, even when things get tough. He was a teacher as much as a head coach and this book shares the wisdom and life lessons Wooden taught his players. That was a big reason why his teams at UCLA were always unbeatable. They were so dominant they won seven straight years from 1967 to 73. Fans today get tired of teams who win back-to-back years. Imagine if those fans were around when the Bruins were dominating in the 60`s and 70`s of college basketball. Wooden was committed to his craft on and off the court. For fans like myself who were not around when UCLA was successful and only watched highlights – UCLA was the Alabama of college basketball, the Celtics in the NBA back in the 60`s or the Patriots of the 2000`s and 2010`s. The book also dives into how it took some time for the late great John Wooden to build an empire at UCLA. When Wooden took over the Bruins in 1948, it took him 16 years to win an NCAA championship.