- The Washington Times - Saturday, November 9, 2002

Noble: Legendary high school teacher and recently retired basketball coach, Morgan Wootten.

Why did he do it? This high school coach could have become a collegiate head coach, probably a professional, and made millions. Instead, he stayed at humble DeMatha High School and built his students…and his legend.

Wootten's coaching numbers are staggering. High school's winningest coach retired with a lifetime percent of .869 1,274 wins against 192 losses. His teams won five national titles, 33 Catholic League championships,and 20 or more wins in 44 consecutive seasons. He coached 150 college-scholarship winners, 20 to-be coaches and at least 12 future NBA players.

He is famous for his ability to innovate and motivate. To prepare his Stags for what became perhaps their most famous win against New York City's Power Memorial, which came in a 71-game winning streak and against a giant center named Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), he had them practice while holding tennis rackets over their heads.

He also taught world history for 30 years. In fact, he never forgot the real reason for what he was doing to teach character. He told Dick Heller of The Washington Times, "Basketball is just a tool to a better life. You've got to use it, you can't let it use you." He constantly coached his players on priorities God, family, school and basketball in that order.

Character isn't easy to quantify it doesn't show up in stat sheets or on score cards, although its absence does tend to show up on rap sheets. It's usually only appreciated when individuals who possess it like Wootten retire. While Wootten's court-side numbers could conceivably, someday, be eclipsed, his real legacy the values he taught will never be.


Knave: Sticky-fingered starlet, Winona Ryder.

Veni, Vidi, Versace: She came, she saw, she stole.

Why did this two-time Academy Award nominee and Little Woman lose her age of innocence by snipping off clothing sensor tags like a kleptomaniac Edward Scissorhands? We may never know, at least, not until the tell-all Barbara Walters interview. On separate occasions, Miss Ryder claimed that she had a Saks charge account and that she had been shoplifting to get in character for a role in a movie. The prosecution suggested that she had stolen for the thrill of it.

Regardless of her motivations, Miss Ryder was convicted this week of walking out of a Beverly Hills Saks Fifth Avenue store with $5,500 worth of pilfered clothes, including a $1,595 Gucci dress, a $750 thermal shirt and an $80 pair of socks. There was little question of her guilt even given the high handicap of a Los Angeles jury. A store surveillance video showed her strolling around struggling with stuff, and a security guard testified that he had seen her pre-swiping snipping.

At least Miss Ryder had the courtesy to act her part in court. On each day of her week-long trial, she showed up in extremely stylish outfits.

Reality now bites for Miss Ryder, even though few believe that her career has really been interrupted. She faces up to three years in jail, but is expected to receive some sort of community service at her sentencing, which is scheduled for Dec. 6.

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