Saturday, October 22, 2005

GOTC Television Mastermind Einhorn Now Exec with World Series-Bound White Sox

The 2005 World Series, which begins tonight, has a connection to the 1968 college basketball classic game at the Astrodome. And I'm not referring to the presence of a Houston team in each!

Chicago White Sox Vice Chairman Eddie Einhorn, whose team takes on the Houston Astros in the World Series, masterminded the television aspect of the 1968 Houston-UCLA hoops match-up. According to the book Oh My! by Dick Enberg, who did the TV play-by-play for the Houston-UCLA game, the Cougar-Bruin tilt was:

...televised nationally by TVS, a syndicated sports network that was founded in 1965 by Eddie Einhorn, a brilliant entrepreneur who was the first TV executive to see the enormous potential in college basketball (p. 76).

Einhorn (born in 1936) and Enberg (born in 1935) were thus both in their early thirties when they got involved with the 1968 Houston-UCLA Game of the Century. But, unlike Enberg, who has continued broadcasting major sporting events to this day and thus remains in the public eye, Einhorn's work on the business side of sports leaves him largely out of the spotlight.

As noted in the Einhorn biography linked above, however, he has a book coming out in early 2006 on the history of television and basketball. Perhaps that will boost Einhorn's visibility, assuming he makes appearances on sports-related television and radio shows to promote his book.

Friday, October 14, 2005


Today is the 95th birthday of John Wooden, UCLA basketball coach from 1948-1975. Wooden's illustrious record of 10 NCAA championships, and personal qualities of leadership, decency, and commitment to having his players develop as full, well-rounded individuals need little elaboration. Detailed biographical sketches of Wooden are available here and here.

The 1968 Game of the Century match-up of Wooden's Bruins and the University of Houston Cougars is obviously but a small aspect of Wooden's career. Yet, because this webpage is devoted to the GOTC, a few reflections are in order. From what I can tell from reading various sources, the traditionalist Wooden naturally found many aspects of the game distasteful (e.g., playing a non-conference game in the middle of the conference season, playing basketball in a huge baseball-football venue). The prime mover behind the game was Houston Coach Guy Lewis, and UCLA Athletic Director J.D. Morgan saw the financial rewards of it.

But, as things ultimately worked out, the Houston-UCLA game made a huge mark on the history of college basketball, and something would have been wrong had Wooden not been a part of it.

For an interesting look at Wooden, the coach and the man, I recommend the 2001 book Be Quick -- But Don't Hurry! by former Bruin player Andy Hill (book homepage). Wooden's wisdom and greatness come through unmistakably, but like any human, Wooden is shown to not always be perfect, however much we may think of him that way.

On to the century mark for Coach Wooden!

[An addendum: Someone on a UCLA basketball discussion board pointed out a lovely article at on how several former Bruin players gave Coach Wooden a little birthday celebration, and on the strong bonds that have formed between Wooden and the players.]