One of my favorite moments during a UCLA basketball game is when the camera pans over to a corner of Pauley Pavilion and finds Coach John Wooden, sitting and watching the Bruins. I am sad to say that the 2009-2010 season is the end of these favorite moments. At the age of 99, he passed away on Friday, June 4, 2010 at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Coach Wooden would have celebrated his 100th birthday on October 14, 2010.
It is amazing to watch and read how all kinds of people remember Coach Wooden. In particular, I enjoyed William Nack's tribute on ESPN.
From the stories about Coach Wooden and his wife Nell to the importance Coach placed on character, to his favorite maxims, it is stunning to see how much positive influence John Wooden had in his 99 years. His legacy truly reaches beyond Westwood and basketball.
When it comes to men’s NCAA basketball, I don’t think there will ever be another coach like him. He won 10 championships, seven of them in a row. In winning seven consecutive championships, he won 38 consecutive tournament games and had four undefeated seasons. Between 1971 and 1974, Coach Wooden’s Bruins won 88 games in a row. I think these winning records in men's college basketball will stand in the years to come.
But Coach Wooden was concerned with more than winning basketball games. He valued character and education. He lived by a Seven Point Creed and developed the "Pyramid of Success"to be used as a teaching tool. His maxims are useful words for anyone to keep in mind as they go about their lives.
Here are my favorites:
- Be quick, but don’t hurry.
Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.
It’s about what is correct, not who is correct.
Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.
I hope I will remember Coach Wooden’s creed as I live my life. They served him well, and I think it would be the best way to remember him.