John L. Erlich


BSR Contributor Since August 11, 2009

John L. Erlich, a former college basketball player, is emeritus professor of social work California State University, Sacramento.

John L. Erlich is emeritus professor of social work at California State University, Sacramento, as well as adjunct professor at Smith College School for Social Work. He played freshman and varsity basketball for Columbia University from 1955 to 1959, and has coached basketball "very part-time" at a settlement house and a children's institution..

His past credits include:

Assistant director, program director, and executive director of urban renewal projects, New York City (1961-65).
Assistant/associate professor, University of Michigan School of Social Work (1965-73).
Professor, Division of Social Work, California State Universit, Sacramento (1973-2008).
Adjunct Professor, Smith School for Social Work (2005—present).
Co-author/author/editor of 18 social work books and numerous articles and essays, with an emphasis on community work, diversity and social change.

By this Author

18 results
Page 1
I can take your patients anywhere.

"Greyhound therapy' for the mentally ill

News from the mental health front: Have you heard about ‘Greyhound therapy'?

The ingenuity of the mental health profession knows no bounds— as long as the problem involves busing patients elsewhere instead of caring for them.

John L. Erlich

Essays 3 minute read
Why do the homeless gravitate to libraries? Let's count the ways.

Public libraries and the homeless

Give me your tired, your poor: A new role for public libraries

Instead of chasing the homeless out of their facilities and into the streets, some public libraries have begun reaching out to them. This is one of those counter-intuitive strategies that could go a long way to solving a chronic social headache.

John L. Erlich

Essays 3 minute read
Obama learned to shift quickly from offense to defense.

Is there life after basketball?

When the cheering stopped: Saying farewell to basketball

Do the lessons of organized sport prepare you for the adult world? Or is it all nonsense? Two former college basketball players who played half a century apart sat down recently to ruminate about their subsequent lives.

John L. Erlich

Essays 9 minute read
The numbers were beside the point.

How a teacher makes a difference

One teacher's well-placed words

When she caught me cheating, Miss Rosenthal could have humiliated me. But she found a better way to get the message across.

John L. Erlich

Essays 2 minute read

"War Horse': Animals as friends

A four-legged friend goes to war

In northern California, where I live, War Horse touched a special chord. Many of our families depended on horses not so long ago, and we learned to respect them.

John L. Erlich

Articles 2 minute read
Nat Holman's CCNY teams (above, in 1954) were tarred by a point-shaving scandal long after the rogue players departed.

Beyond the Penn State scandal

Penn State's forgotten victims

Much has been written lately about children and athletes victimized by sex-abusing coaches at big-time sports programs like Penn State's. But what about the innocent Penn State athletes whose reputations will now be sullied by their association with a scandalized program?

John L. Erlich

Essays 2 minute read
Loughner in high school: Irreparable guilt by association.

Tucson's other victims

Another tragedy in Tucson

Last week's mass murder spree in Tucson was a catastrophe for the victims, their families and friends and, in the case of two public servants, for the nation. But the stiffest psychological price of all may be paid by the killer's family.

John L. Erlich

Essays 2 minute read

"Matterhorn,' a Vietnam novel by Karl Marlantes

A not-so-distant mirror

For those of us who lived through the Vietnam War, this powerful and compelling novel triggers haunting memories.

John L. Erlich

Articles 1 minute read
Susan Sarandon, Kevin Costner in 'Bull Durham': A respite from the Majors.

The charm of minor league baseball

Only a game (and isn't that nice?): The charm of minor league baseball

The minor league baseball game I attended produced no big moments but plenty of nice little ones. I'd forgotten how enjoyable a ball game can be when the owners, players and fans haven't staked their lives and fortunes on the outcome.

John L. Erlich

Essays 3 minute read
Loesser: I sang his songs in spite of myself.

Frank Loesser's enduring power

Why mama starts to weep: The inexplicable power of a song

As a pre-teen and young teen in the late 1940s and early '50s, I often found myself singing two old songs to myself. I had no idea how they got there. Then one day my mother told me.

John L. Erlich

Articles 3 minute read
Wooden: One small gesture.

Coach John Wooden: A remembrance

A coach's tone of voice

UCLA's legendary basketball coach John Wooden won ten championships and hundreds of games. But one of his lowly substitutes remembers Wooden for a small gesture of acknowledgment.

John L. Erlich

Essays 2 minute read

Salinger's "Catcher,' then and now

The power to cut through cant

J.D. Salinger's fundamental resistance to adult delusions spoke powerfully to a high school freshman like me. But his message didn't resonate with everyone, even my age.

John L. Erlich

Articles 2 minute read
The author (left) as hero, Fieldston School, New York, 1954: 'I feel like someone else.'

The winning basket (a memoir)

One fleeting taste of glory

When I scored the winning the basket, the sense of power was briefly overwhelming— which taught me something about athletes today.

John L. Erlich

Essays 1 minute read
The requisite treatment: 30 minutes, twice a week, for a month.

The playground basketball cure

An urban basketball tale: Taking the cure at Morningside Park

It's been half a century since I first cured the twitch in my shoulder with a few good games of city playground basketball. It still works for me today, too.

John L. Erlich

Essays 2 minute read
The kid knows someone's watching.

One August day in the park

Too hot for basketball

It's almost 100 degrees and too hot for outdoor basketball— or anything else for a senior citizen like me. But on the court I find a kid who might have been me, once upon a time.

John L. Erlich

Essays 1 minute read