Wooden at the celebration of his 96th birthday
|Date of birth:||October 14, 1910|
|Place of birth:||Hall, Indiana|
|Date of death||June 4, 2010 (age 99)|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Basketball Hall of Fame (as coach)|
John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910 - June 4, 2010), was a retired American Hall of Fame basketball coach. Wooden was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (Class of 1961) and a coach (Class of 1973). He was the first person ever enshrined in both categories; only Lenny Wilkens and Bill Sharman have since been so honored. He is widely regarded as the greatest college coach in history and his 10 NCAA National Championships while at UCLA are unmatched.
Martinsville High School
As a high school student, Wooden played in Indiana where he led the Martinsville High School team to the state championship finals for three consecutive years, winning the tournament in 1927. He was a three time All-State selection.
Purdue University1928 he entered Purdue University, where he played for legendary coach Ward "Piggy" Lambert.
Wooden established a new scoring standard with an unheard-of 12.1 points per game his senior season. In his last game as a Boilermaker, he equaled his own single-game record with 21 points in a 53-18 victory over Chicago. Wooden was the first guard ever to lead the Big Ten Conference in scoring.
He was a three-time All-American guard and a member of Purdue's 1932 Helms Foundation national championship team. The Helms Foundation also named Wooden the Player of the Year for 1932. John Wooden was named All-Big Ten and All-Midwestern (1930-32) while at Purdue University. Wooden was nicknamed "The Indiana Rubber Man" for his suicidal dives on the hardcourt.
He excelled off the court as well. During the first semester of his senior year in 1932, his grade point average stood 19th in a student body that numbered 4,675. He graduated from Purdue in 1932 with a degree in English.
After college, Wooden spent several years playing professionally with the Indianapolis Kautskys (who later became the NBA Indianapolis Jets) and Whiting Ciesar All-Americans, while teaching and coaching in the high school ranks. In the 1932 National Basketball League championship game Wooden poured in 21 points, but the Kautskys succumbed to the Akron Firestone Non-Skids, 32-31 before a crowd of 4,000 in Indianapolis. During one 46-game stretch with the Kautskys he made 134 consecutive free throws. In the 1932-33 season Wooden led the NBL in scoring and in the 1937-38 season he posted the highest scoring average.
He retired from active play in 1939 to devote his full attention to coaching and his family.
In 1942 he enlisted in the Navy where he gained the rank of lieutenant during World War II.
Wooden coached two years at Dayton High School in Kentucky. His first year at Dayton would be the only time he would have a losing record (6-11). After Dayton he returned to Indiana, teaching English and coaching basketball at South Bend Central High School until entering the Armed Forces. His high school coaching record was 218-42.
Indiana State University
After the war, Wooden coached at Indiana State Teacher's College (now Indiana State University) in Terre Haute, Indiana from 1946 to 1948, succeeding his high school coach, Glenn Curtis, who became head coach of the professional Detroit Falcons. Wooden also coached baseball and served as athletic director. While working at Indiana State he earned a Master's Degree.1947, Wooden's basketball team won the conference title and received an invitation to the NAIB National Tournament in Kansas City. Wooden refused the invitation citing the NAIB's policy banning African American players. A member on the Indiana State Sycamores' team was Clarence Walker, an African-American athlete from East Chicago, Indiana. In 1948 the NAIB changed this policy and Wooden guided his team to the NAIB final, losing to Louisville. That year, Walker became the first African-American to play in any post-season intercollegiate basketball tournament. John Wooden was inducted into the Indiana State University Athletic Hall of Fame on February 3, 1984.
UCLA1967 to 1973. His UCLA teams also had a record winning streak of 88 games, four perfect 30-0 seasons, and won 38 straight games in NCAA Tournaments. In 1967 the Henry Iba Award USBWA College Basketball Coach of the Year. In 1972, he received the Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year.
Nicknamed "The Wizard of Westwood," Wooden retired immediately after his 10th title in 1975. John Wooden coached what would be his final game in Pauley Pavilion March 1, 1975 in a 93-59 victory over Stanford. Four weeks later he would surprisingly announce his retirement following the NCAA semi-final victory against the University of Louisville and before his 10th National championship victory against Kentucky.
UCLA had actually been Wooden's second choice for a coaching position in 1948. He was also pursued for a coaching position by the University of Minnesota, and it was his and wife Nellie's desire to remain in the Midwest. Inclement weather prevented Wooden from receiving the scheduled phone offer from the U of M, and thinking they had lost interest, Wooden accepted the UCLA position.
He was married to his wife Nellie for 53 years, until her death in 1985.
Seven Point Creed
John Wooden's Seven Point Creed, given to him by his father Joshua upon his graduation from grammar school:
- Be true to yourself.
- Make each day your masterpiece.
- Help others.
- Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
- Make friendship a fine art.
- Build a shelter against a rainy day.
- Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.
Wooden also has authored a lecture and a book about the Pyramid Of Success. The Pyramid of success consists of philosophical building blocks for winning at basketball and at life. He is also the author of several other books about basketball and life.
- "Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming."
- "Be quick, but don't hurry."
- "Talent is God – given. Be humble. Fame is man - given. Be grateful. Conceit is self - given. Be careful."
- "A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself in the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork."
- "Sports don't build character, they reveal it."