CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 5, 2010 |
John Wooden, the UCLA basketball coach who became an icon of American sports while guiding the Bruins to an unprecedented 10 national championships in the 1960s and '70s and remained in the spotlight during retirement with his "Pyramid of Success" motivational program, has died. He was 99. Wooden died Friday evening of natural causes at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the university announced. He had been hospitalized since last week for dehydration. Though the stern, dignified Midwesterner's fame extended beyond the sports world, it was Wooden's achievements during 27 seasons at UCLA that put him in the company of such legendary coaches as the Green Bay Packers' Vince Lombardi and Notre Dame's Knute Rockne.
June 13, 2010 |
1) He was born in Hall, Ind., on Oct. 14, 1910. 2) Wooden led Martinsville High to the Indiana state title in 1927. 3) One of his role models was Fuzzy Vandivier of the Franklin Wonder Five, a basketball team that dominated Indiana high school basketball from 1919 to 1922. 4) He was a three-time high school all-state selection. 5) Wooden met his future wife, Nell Riley, at a carnival in July 1926. 6) They married in August 1932. Afterward, they attended a Mills Brothers concert to celebrate.
March 8, 2008
I am the pastor of First Presbyterian Church of Encino, the church which Coach John Wooden regularly attends. I speak here on my own behalf, and not on behalf of Coach Wooden, Nan Muehlhausen, or any other member of the Wooden family. Thank you for attempting to lay out the facts of what transpired the day that Coach Wooden suffered his injury and was hospitalized. I hope that your article has defused any misunderstanding. At the same time, I am deeply troubled that this matter has been aired publicly at all. As a pastor, I deal every day with families who are facing the very difficult questions surrounding the care of elderly persons.
June 10, 2010 |
If all who were touched by John Wooden could attend his memorial, the Rose Bowl wouldn't be big enough. … The principled, Indiana-bred Wooden was "so square," Jim Murray once wrote, "he was divisible by four." … Wooden was a smoker — he picked up the habit while serving in the Navy during World War II — but never smoked during the season and had quit altogether by the time he retired in 1975. … He did not drink. … His musical tastes ran to Lawrence Welk and the Mills Brothers, the latter of whom he saw perform on his wedding night.
June 13, 2010 |
I have so many memories of Coach Wooden, but the one that's most vivid for me came in 1964 when we were playing Duke for the national championship — the first UCLA championship. We're 29-0 at the time and the No. 1 team in the country, but Duke is still favored. In the locker room before the game, Coach gets up for his pregame talk. He says, "We got here playing a certain way — making this a 94-foot game. How many of you remember who finished second last year?" No one raised their hand.
June 6, 2010 |
Every generation needs its Socrates, and now ours is gone. John Wooden coached us through life, and we learned a few things about basketball along the way too. As he got older of body, he got younger of mind. He never yelled, but when he spoke, the room fell silent. He told us things that didn't slap us in the face, but crept slowly into our hearts and minds until, fully absorbed, we understood. In life, he was both an inspiration and a crutch. As rotten as things could get, as much as evil and cheating and laziness prevailed, there was always Wooden to look to for hope and guidance.