Blog Entry

John Wooden

Posted on: June 4, 2010 10:47 pm
The last time I spoke to Bill Walton not long ago we were talking about college coaching when the subject turned to John Wooden.

"What people have to understand about coach Wooden is the impact he had on people's lives," Walton said. "He was a father figure. He taught you things you'd carry beyond basketball. He taught you how to be a man. I'll never be able to say thank you enough to him."

I speak to Walton on occasion and I find him to be one of the smartest and most decent of athletes I've known. Each time we talk, he brings the topic to Wooden. It seems many who played for Wooden are the same way. He was that kind of impactful man.

Wooden died on Friday night at the age of 99. If any of us enjoy a tiny fraction of the wonderful life he did, we'd be fortunate.

His impact goes beyond the 10 titles on the court. It's also about the people he helped to forge off of it. Good men like Walton and dozens of others.

There is Wooden's 88-game win streak and the fact he never had a losing season in 29 years as a head coach. All impressive, of course.

Wooden created a legacy of championships but more importantly he birthed a legion of good men.

That's not bad. That's not bad at all.

Category: NCAAB
Tags: John Wooden

Since: Apr 7, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2010 12:44 pm

John Wooden

Maybe now I will check out a book about Wooden also.  This guy would have been successful in any field he went into.  

Since: Apr 7, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2010 12:42 pm

John Wooden

While I have a personal doubt of anyone receiving trophies in the next life, your post was excellent, and I feel exactly the same way.  The highest compliment I can pay Wooden is that I wish he was my grandfather rather than a coach -- of course, assuming I had such a choice.  A well-lived life, Mr. Wooden.  

Since: May 22, 2009
Posted on: June 5, 2010 9:49 am

John Wooden

I graduated high school 6 years ago and during my final season of baseball, my coach would spend 15 minutes at the beginning of practice reading excerpts from John Wooden's books. As you can imagine these 15 minute readings had more of an impact on my life than any drill or video session that I ever encountered. I have read some of his books several times and I can't imagine anyone reading any of his books and setting it down and saying, "I am fine with the person that I am and I don't need to improve myself." One of my favorite quotes from John Wooden is, "Make each day a masterpiece." I think about this often and what it means to me. Coach Wooden is widely and righfully considered the greatest coach in sports history, but it hails in comparison to the kind of man that he was. To say he was a better man than coach is not written in haste.  

Since: Mar 23, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2010 7:47 am

John Wooden

Man first Ernie Harwell and then Wooden.  What or Who  is or are going to step up an replace or pick up where these men  left off?

With all the deciet and imperfections in sports, men like these seem to try and keep their world on the pure and sincere perspective.

Even though they are not on this earth I hope their memories will encourage others to become great citizens when their sports heroes fail.

Since: Jul 29, 2009
Posted on: June 5, 2010 12:56 am

John Wooden

Coach Wooden was a Champion Of Life.

I wish you all and myself a little of the success he had as a family man.  We would all be so lucky.

W and Ls dont matter in the end.  Family, influence and good deeds do stand the test of time and put COACH at the top.

For the record regarding talent - he won 5 titles without Kareem and Walton mostly as underdogs.

God Bless Coach.

Since: Jan 3, 2007
Posted on: June 5, 2010 12:07 am

Greatness through Humility

I never knew what kind of man John Wooden was while he was racking up championships at UCLA and seeminly grabbing all the major talent in college basketball to play on his teams.  From a distance you can't tell if a man is decent man or if he is a bloodless, ruthless manipulator of "dumb jocks" to do what he wants them to do.

It wasn't until I heard Coach Wooden in in-depth interviews that his essential kindness and humanity shown through.  Coach Wooden didn't think too highly of himself, as a matter of fact, I don't believe he thought of himself much at all.  The person in front of him seemed to have his undivided attention and he was open and eager to exchange information.  As I watched him he reminded me more of the teachers that worked with my mother at the school than sounding like the premier basketball coach of his time.  I think that's the point.  John Wooden was a seemingly ordinary man who achieved extraordinary things because of his values and dedication of purpose.  This repeats itself over and over in our country and should give hope to young men and women who feel despair in a world of uncertainty.  Wooden's discipline and continued emphasis on fundamentals will serve a person well no matter what type of activity they are engaged in, from basketball to rocket engineering, they both apply. 

Coach Wooden received the blessing of long life and his life was a blessing to many that came in contact with him.  By his actions and deeds he certainly is receiving more trophies in the next life.  Basketball was a means, not an end.  It was the life values and beliefs that Wooden brought to us that set him apart, and should continue to inspire those who are sports fans or not.  I am glad I knew of such a man during my lifetime and, if we are fortunate, many of the seeds he planted will grow into other great people who can inspire people for generations to come.

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