AUDIO: John Wilfong on the Gary Parrish Show

92.9 Featured Podcast
Monday, February 12th

John Wilfong was on the Gary Parrish Show and talked about Coaching for Literacy Program and mentioned that fans are likely voting on the Tigers by not going to the games.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Fight for literacy game befitting the coaching for literacy foundation so what better day to talk to format Memphis basketball standout who is also. The board chairman of coaching for literacy. The job will Vonn joins me now John Kerry right Dylan. Figured sector have me on. Are you kidding thanks for being here I won't keep it to alarm but I'd start with. What Sunday's game is going to mean it's a fight for literacy game to benefit their coaching the literacy foundation which then turns that money into. Like real literacy projects all over the country. It's been amazing to watch this foundation to grow connector remember when you wouldn't. And in John at the end and it was just a small group of people launch this thing it was more of an idea that a reality. And now. You know whether it's console market or Sean Miller bin Howland or Josh pastor all over the country like it's basically every week there is. Cut college coaches wearing the green tie in the green lapel bids did you envision a growing. To this size this quickly. You know you your arms a right here it was a nice little high school project that almost done Jonathan. Thought about five years ago and we would sit around all those in and kind of figure out how to out of pull this together but no I didn't think it would be where it is today. Part of that causes great people like yourself who billboard witness and it's people like Ron Bonner. It's companies like Peter the law are or International Paper the record in that process. Seeing that vision the vision is it just this bit. Most people don't realize. How much illiteracy impact their lives because. Unless you are in that space where it does effect do you have no idea. And you know you you'll never wake up tomorrow have a doctor collier says Kelly illiterate. Or you'll never become a letter court you can read and so the people who can. Our face what that that risk but the people who are live with it every day and so what we hope to do this. This take a color green and and magnified to Wear weakened. Convinced the people who need to know people who could make a dip parks and people lie to all our that we elevate that in the conscious of the country. And that's happening in other reporters like yourself in and from the coach you mentioned. I'm talking a job well from from the coaching to literacy foundation former tiger great as well. I've learned obviously a lot about the problem of illiteracy in our country thumb over the past five years and it is startling because like you said I'm. You know I eat. Was always. I don't want to say it was always a pretty good student could have would be on truce to make it pulled a trade off I would always. Careful did it go let it go Miami saying like like I can always read I'll just keep it that way I I've never I don't remember a time when I couldn't read perfectly. Om my wife who is obviously college educated master's degree our children are. If they grope in an environment like this is not an issue in our household. And yet. I guess I just sort of assumed living in my own little bubble like kids go to school at the go to school can read. And yet here's a fact 64%. Of fourth graders in the United States of America are not reading at 84 grade level. The more than half in this country but we're supposed to be this advanced sophisticated this country on earth and a lot of ways we are but in this way where were clearly not. Yeah and I think it's the social justice issue or day that if you up in the race and I believe that. So strongly that you take that 64% of fourth graders don't read on grade level by storm report great. We note states build prisons baseball port great pretty levels and so what you know is two thirds of those students will be imprisoned or welfare at some point a lot. And so that the flip side of that at this you can take a child at a lower socio economic level and they can't read at grade level upper great. Their chance of success is 89%. That means the bureau of labor says they'll all the jobs opiate taxpaying citizen they'll be productive nobility care and provide their kids. And your child or my child chance of success at 90%. There's really no statistical statistical difference. The only difference is degree you know how hard work and everybody can mark that if you if you could read and so. We have their culture as a country. We need to band together and say we can make life so much better course so many more people if they war if we will focus on this one. Stat is one area children's lives and I'll read at grade level spot in the darker. Talking to John Wolf form from coaching for literacy former tiger great era in 99 of them ESPN. The root of this and I've told the story many times but it just hammers home exactly what we're talking about your son played some basketball like a lot of kids in this city. Do but he also comes from a different place than a lot of the basketball players in this city. You were obviously a accomplished in the college graduated at it in a dead and that educated man who has been incredibly successful his career. And they'll provide advantages for your kids the same way I've been able to provide advantages for my kids like it except for awhile if my kids screw up. Did they just screwed up but they have every advantage in the world from honestly skin color to two heading to. College educated parent who or Mary did who take care of the they have access to tutors. They have nothing working against them if they if they mess up they have just messed up. And you know it. I don't wanna speak for you like your children have been grown up with a lot of advantages as well and yet. EO Jonathan spent. You always teenage years. Playing basketball with people who are born into impossible situations. And he was it exposed to that environment. And recognize that one of his teammates could not read and really you guys took a hands on approach. And I'll let you take the story from the air but it's an incredible success story we took this one kid. Who could not read. And not only turned him into a reader but they turned him into somebody who who qualified to go to college credit high school. Yeah we we had a young men are in their current parent and I just held it until historian. And have been so proud frank but but but you know yet. In seventh grade you tell he had an athletic future but we discovered on road trips that he would never order in the U. And and some a lot about setting down an ad in a hard question and then ask him to read a paragraph out of Sports Illustrated it was clear that he had trouble reading so he got upset second grade reading level. We put in and tutoring. Sort of paint Bob dot battery grade level books and a book report. And and to Frank's great credit he worked really call order of the next year and a half to improve about it tot he inner central high school. In that precede got a censorship great great reading level out and discover like here we got more work here that that's almost impossible. Richey and so most of the credit goes right for his willingness work what shot consult at. And and he relied impact it had and what he saw was a called strike could become able to learn Garrett at one of the issues here is that. Our curriculum and an old school you you teach kids learn how to read up to third grade in the curriculum ships in port parade. What I have to read a lark. And so if you can't read you all behind dramatically starting at work great and that Beck that's what would have drop outrage and lack of hope and what's so crucial to read at that level for. McCain. High school football player pop star athlete recruited by everybody in the country because. Of his hard work you are able go to college you're a football scholarship qualified immediately out of high school. He is now a graduate school it got a four year degree ballot you'd keep clay this year grad student goes immigrant story. What what we hope to do it took a more right here and at that tactic of attacking look birdie schools around the country. Thirty gain this year forty poor schools. Spotlighting this need to buy or later it helped people have more in our lives. Talking to Jumbo Fong about coaching for literacy also former tiger great last thing and then we'll turn our attention that tiger basketball. Where can people go to learn more about what this foundation is doing how where can people go to to try to help in this calls. Well OK so here's thank this Sunday in the game the University of Memphis is doing our coalition game against UCF International Paper. Has become an absolute perfect sponsor if you're not grant an International Paper. Go to their web site first of all it out anyway and they've got a terrific. Corporate mission to do the right thing all the time one of those is the impact their community. An educational leadership where they're spending time at body resources and so I applaud there effort. But this if you wanna make a difference or what you can do get social. Follow act coaching pro lip. Also Twitter. Sign up art illiteracy games and then we are doing a thing called assist illiteracy. Over the next four change you can make a donation of led to dollar for aegis sale at the tiger make over the next four games and all of that money 100% up we will stay in this community. To benefit meant that teacher residency. Which is doing incredible work apple which golden metros and what summer camps it is it's what the organization that shall make a radical. I'm gonna John Wolf on that website coaching for literacy dot org coaching for literacy. Dot org let's switch gears to the actual basketball program armed. I know how much this city means to you how much that university means to you how much that program means to you you were part of some of the best times. What's it been like watching this season unfold. Well. It's been challenging to watched this sub you know what happened the last number here not just this year. But do you notice either. The lack of interest. The lack of attention. In our pocket remember so many games where you couldn't give in not only coliseum where you couldn't get a summer league game to watch watch is like. And now apathy is this is our. You know my hope is that tubby gets a turnaround I really liked he's a terrific person. I think they probably misread the city when they got here felt like this jobless like many other jobs. Like Minnesota like Texas Tech in May they've misread the enthusiasm you know people are going to gain I think they're voting with their lacquered and that's. And you know I'd I'd do at stake and I hope that it got a chance to turn around but I think you know will note that by how well they are this year. And obviously in the early signing period they they didn't get much accomplished they signed one kid is ranked outside the the top 300. And they still teachers today. Have not enrolled org or been able to secure a commitment. From a Memphis area player obviously German mark on the team but that is courtesy of the previous staff. So what do you attribute. It it inability at least to date. To not be able to do it every Memphis coach has done well in my entire lifetime which is recruit the area strongly. Yeah I think one of the problems that coach Smith at bat pad is they got here at a time. When there was a year or student. Who lack of great players in the past if you think back what coach bastard took the job he he was very fortunate. That call to follow coached now. And that the name Brandon that this was credible you got a part about life for years she could've occurred well if she got it did not go basketball. And so. Coach after got a little or ship called the quality player so hot these last couple years. You haven't had to adapt or Qualls. Bob and but next year it comes back for numbered year that the case and I'm. I'm open coach Smith can turn that ran out I'd do page that a bit evaluate a few people that they cut the size. But that in the case last four years when you see what Gerald Rick and Chris Chelios. Job and way to give back much players out there that really the coaching staff here economy this don't want. And so I think the coach has gotten a better job about what a local Al because there always are required and help you got a lot to make sure they are displaced worker well. Last thing before I let you go I'm assuming I'll see you at FedEx Forum on Sunday right. Are they should be a good time that they Q4 everything you do and for the city for the foundation and thank you for being here and discuss that would be oh yeah man thank you so much. Thank you care we appreciate you. I read this telephone former tiger great. Here and that he's Unita from ESPN again that website is coaching for literacy dot org or not talked about it before but that's incredible message and I loved the story. On frank that's the real story sometimes you you you. You hear about these foundations and it's just like now. There arm's length away did you mill foundations and they're all doing stuff we don't know what they're doing you don't know where your money's going you don't know the impact it's being made. I always think it's it's helpful if you say it let me tell you aced or I wanna tell you all stories just let me take you a story about this kid. EPS from this city I could not read. We picked up a menu at a restaurant you just point. So like if it had chicken and dumplings a picture of readied he was collegiate gonna dump site if they had a picture of lasagna plate and he just had a point to something I'll take this now. Because you can. Could read made you. And so are they recognize that beat. They recognize that maybe you can try to help him and then see you watch it turn into what it turned into I realize the end of the story which is that young man not only. Got to reading at grade level to where he could qualify. To compete as a freshman at LSU. Qualify academically. He's in grad school terrific to go from seventh grade can't read too in grad school at LSU that's the difference that. Frankly the will font family made him in his life and now they branch this out and it's. It's funding literacy projects like literally all over America so go check the website we get a second coaching for literacy dot org coaching for literacy dot org.