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Coach for life

JOHN WOODEN: 1910-2010 : JOHN WOODEN: OCTOBER 14, 1910
- JUNE 4, 2010

Wooden is reunited with his love, leaving us with so much

June 05, 2010|BILL PLASCHKE

1965: UCLA beats Michigan for title No. 2. In the fall, Wooden has his eye on a prized recruit from Power Memorial in New York. He even uses Jackie Robinson to put a good word in about the program. When Lew Alcindor decides to enroll at UCLA, he becomes the first transcontinental college basketball star. Many believe Alcindor's 1965-66 freshman team could have beaten any varsity team in the country.

1967: Wooden and UCLA win their third NCAA championship.

1968: In front of 52,693 fans in the Astrodome, coaches the first televised collegiate game in prime time. Wooden's No. 1-ranked Bruins, led by Alcindor, lose, 71-69, to No. 2 Houston, led by future Hall of Famer Elvin Hayes. UCLA later beats North Carolina to win its fourth national championship.

1969: UCLA becomes the first school to win three straight national titles and Wooden gets No. 5 in victory over his alma mater, Purdue.

1970: Jacksonville falls in final as Bruins celebrate sixth NCAA title and fourth in a row.

1971: Defeating Villanova, Bruins win seventh NCAA title, the fifth straight.

1972: Another perfect season (30-0) and national title (eighth) with win over Florida State.

1973: Inducted into basketball Hall of Fame as a coach, the first to do so as player and coach. Named Sports Illustrated's "Sportsman of the Year."

1974: Notre Dame ends UCLA's 88-game winning streak. Win over Memphis State is for ninth NCAA championship.

1975: After UCLA wins in overtime against Louisville in the semifinals of the NCAA tournament, Wooden decides to tell his players he will retire at the end of the season. A 92-85 victory over Kentucky gives Wooden his 10th national title. "He has been college basketball," then-UCLA athletic director J.D. Morgan says on the day Wooden announces his retirement. "He has been the game. He's compiled records nobody is going to equal."

1977: UCLA's Marques Johnson is the first player presented with the John R. Wooden Award, given to the "most outstanding college basketball player in the United States." Not only is the player's performance taken into account by a national panel of sportswriters, but also his character.

1985: His wife of 53 years, Nell, dies. John is first sports figure to receive the Bellarmine Medal of Excellence. One of the past recipients is Mother Teresa, whom Wooden once said he would most like to have dinner with along with Jesus Christ and Abraham Lincoln.

1994: UCLA beats Kentucky, 82-81, in the first John Wooden Classic. During the same season, the Bruins win their first NCAA title since Wooden's final-game victory over Kentucky in 1975.

1999: Named by ESPN as the greatest coach of the 20th century.

2003: Nell and John Wooden Court dedicated at Pauley Pavilion on Dec. 20 against Michigan State. President George W. Bush presents Wooden with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor an American can receive.

2009: Wooden is selected as the "Greatest Coach in American Sports History" by the Sporting News.

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