Ever heard of Harry Statham? No reason you should have, but he happens to be the winningest college basketball coach of all time. He began coaching the McKendree College Bearcats in Lebanon, Ill. in 1966. Early in the 2004 season, Statham posted win number 880 at the NAIA college to pass the legendary Dean Smith of North Carolina. Statham led McKendree to the postseason 33 times in those 38 seasons, winning 20 or more games 29 times. But he’s never captured a national title, and he’s taken the Bearcats to the NAIA Fab Four only once..
Spalding has been selling sporting goods for decades, but the company converted a slam dunk in 1983, when its basketball became the official ball of the NBA. In the 20 years since then, Spalding has sold a whopping 70 million official leather balls, which in 2004 were selling for anywhere from $75 to $150.
Ever wonder how professional actors prepare to play parts as athletes in movies? Most of them have relied on a company called ReelSports, which trains actors to accurately and believable portray athletes. The company’s students have included Cuba Gooding Jr. for “Jerry Maguire” (he won the Oscar for best supporting actor), Bernie Mac for “Mr. 3000,” Jamie Foxx for “Any Given Sunday,” and the skaters in “Miracle on Ice.” ReelSports is the brain child of a former college athlete named Mark Ellis and a former sports executive named Rob Miller. The company also helps producers with scripts, casting and choreography. It’s credo: If you don’t believe the catch in the end zone, you won’t believe the tears in the locker room.