May 5, 2001
If Terry Donahue is to Bill Walsh, then what is Steve Lavin? a) Jerry West b) John Wooden c) Phil Jackson d) Dodger Boy HOWARD MATIONG Gardena
February 13, 1993
Like Walt Hazzard and Larry Farmer before him, Jim Harrick uses the time-honored high post offense of John Wooden. I knew John Wooden and Jim Harrick is no John Wooden. Wooden played the game according to the ability of his player and taught the fundamentals of the game above everything else. Jim Harrick either cannot teach or does not understand the fundamentals of either playing or defending against the low post. The point was well summarized in the California game when the color commentator stated, after a missed shot: "Look, all five UCLA players are staring at the basket, not one of them are screening or blocking out under the basket."
February 8, 1997
UCLA has found the true successor to John Wooden in Steve Lavin. Although Lavin has been coach for only half a season, it's already clear his Bruin teams will compete with intensity, represent UCLA well, and usually win. His emphasis on hard work, discipline, conditioning, tenacious defense, rebounding and passing are in the tradition of Wooden. I hope Steve Lavin will be UCLA's coach for the next 30 years. STUART WOLPERT Los Angeles
December 7, 1985
Walt Hazzard's comments about Dean Smith trying to pay back UCLA for what Wooden did to North Carolina in years past merely reflects Hazzard's preoccupations, not reality. UCLA only played North Carolina once during Wooden's tenure, for the 1968 national championship. One game engenders animosity only in petty people like Hazzard. Perhaps that is one reason Scott Williams decided to choose North Carolina. MICHAEL H. KRIMMINGER Santa Monica
October 21, 2000
Two stories in this morning's Times clearly illustrate how badly skewed our values have become the last 25 years. Bill Plaschke's moving tribute to John Wooden shows that when each of us has his life's score tallied, it won't be based on money earned or wealth accumulated. The second story on Shaquille O'Neal's contract extension for $88 million is poles apart from Wooden's life of unassuming humility. Wooden's probably never-to-be-duplicated run of national championships doesn't define him a fraction as much as the hundreds of athletes' lives he permanently touched for the better.
February 16, 1992
Few people dispute former UCLA basketball Coach John Wooden's innate sense of decency, his reputation for building character and the wisdom of his "pyramid of success" teachings. Years ago, superstar Bill Walton informed Wooden that he intended to miss practice to exercise his personal moral obligation of protest by taking part in a demonstration. Wooden responded by telling Walton that he clearly understood Walton's feelings. Wooden pointed out that he too felt certain personal moral obligations, which included the welfare of the whole team and UCLA's entire basketball program--past, present and future.
April 9, 1988
Alas, even Walt Hazzard appears to have fallen into the trap of claiming that former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden performed his wizardry because of the talent of his players. That sounds too much like those who charged over the years that "anyone could have done what Wooden did with those players." The fact is that John Wooden was indeed a wizard. I have long felt that his greatest year was his first at UCLA--1948-49. In that season, he took a team which had ended the previous season in the basement of the Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division and, without recruiting a new player, he captured first place.
October 24, 1998
Congratulations to J.A. Adande for his superlative article (Oct. 14) on John Wooden and his 88th birthday. It highlighted so much that is good about Coach Wooden, well beyond that which we already know from his successes in basketball. Our search for a hero could always end at Pauley Pavilion. Today that search is all the more difficult because of the proliferation of greed, money, drugs and the like in the world of sports. But we still have Coach Wooden, and all that he has given to us both in and out of sports to be thankful for. Thanks, J.A., for bringing it to our attention in such an insightful way one more time.
March 30, 1991
I am tired of my fellow UCLA basketball fans dreaming of the good old days. The constant comparisons of every decent player and team to the 10-of-12 NCAA titles and 88-wins-in-a-row days do an incredible disservice to the program. Coach John Wooden's triumphs have been an albatross around the necks of every post-Wooden player and coach. No college basketball team will ever come close to those feats. North Carolina's Dean Smith, as good as he has been, has won only one NCAA title.