John Wooden – Sports Legend

Posted: 06/06/2010 in Uncategorized
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John Wooden is gone, having passed at 99 on June 4, 2010.  I loved him and except for my parents, no one had a bigger impact on my life than him.

I found John Wooden so interesting that I wrote his biography, The John Wooden Pyramid of Success. Of all I have ever done, I am most proud of writing that book in part because it was also the hardest endeavor I’ve ever taken on as there is so much to learn and then say about this legendary, beloved sports figure.  Focusing on Wooden and his wisdom changed my life for the better in all respects.

Coach Wooden lived a balanced life where family came first, but the work obviously got done and there was time for friends and relaxation.  Love, integrity and class are three words that Wooden personified.

As a basketball coach, his records are not just unequaled, but unapproachable. His UCLA teams won the national championship ten out of a twelve year period, seven years in row, with 88 consecutive victories.   Wooden is widely considered by sports journalists and the public to be the greatest coach of all time in any sport, but he is more proud of being a husband, father and teacher.  His greatest successes were off the court, in life.

Coach Wooden was one of the most respected persons who ever lived, and rightly so.  Awards are named after him, many bestselling books have now been written about and with him.  Wooden exemplified and lived the ideals he promoted. He was the real deal, complete with also truly being humble, kind, personable, charming and witty. He loved people, life, and was a joy to be around. This is why what is being written about him concentrates in him as a person . One commentator observed, that’s the mark of a true man: it is what and how he lived, not his victories by which he is being measured and remembered.

More than anything else, Wooden was a philosopher. His Pyramid of Success, the no-nonsense, brilliant, non-sectarian strategy for living he created is a masterpiece, his magnificent gift to humankind.  Its essence is that, “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become your best.”

Would that we all follow his guidance. The whole world is going to miss him, but his values and legacy shall always remain.


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