Topic Fully Dedficated to Coach John Wooden, his Wisdom, his Century On and Off the Court Coach John Wooden: His Wisdom and His Century On and Off the Court John Robert Wooden
(October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010) was an American basketball player and coach. Nicknamed the "Wizard of Westwood", he won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period — seven in a row — as head coach at UCLA, an unprecedented feat.
Within this period, his teams won a record 88 consecutive games. He was named national coach of the year six times.
As a player, Wooden was the first to be named basketball All-American three times and he won a national championship at Purdue.
Wooden was named a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player (inducted in 1961) and as a coach (in 1973), the first person ever enshrined in both categories. Only Lenny Wilkens and Bill Sharman have since had the same honor.
He was one of the most revered coaches and was beloved by his former players, among them Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton.
Wooden was renowned for his short, simple inspirational messages to his players, including his "Pyramid of Success." These often were directed at how to be a success in life as well as in basketball.
Early life and playing career
Born in 1910 in the town of Hall, Indiana, Wooden moved with his family to a small farm in Centerton in 1918. As a boy one of his role models was Fuzzy Vandivier of the Franklin Wonder Five, a legendary basketball team that dominated Indiana high school basketball from 1919 to 1922.
After his family moved to the town of Martinsville when he was 14, he led the 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.
After graduating in 1928, he attended Purdue University and was coached by Ward "Piggy" Lambert. He helped lead the Boilermakers to the 1932 National Championship, as determined by a panel vote rather than the NCAA tournament, which did not begin until 1939. John Wooden was named All-Big Ten and All-Midwestern (1930–32) while at Purdue, and he was the first player ever to be named a three-time consensus All-American.
He was also selected for membership in the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. Wooden is also an honorary member of the International Co-Ed Fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. Wooden was nicknamed "The Indiana Rubber Man" for his suicidal dives on the hardcourt. He graduated from Purdue in 1932 with a degree in English.
After college, Wooden spent several years playing professionally with the Indianapolis Kautskys (later the Indianapolis Jets), Whiting Ciesar All-Americans, and Hammond Ciesar All-Americans while teaching and coaching in the high school ranks. During one 46-game stretch he made 134 consecutive free throws. He was named to the NBL's First Team for the 1937–38 season.
In 1942, during World War II, he joined the Navy. He served for nearly three years and left the service as a lieutenant.
In 1961, he was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame for his achievements as a player.
Wooden was born to Roxie Anna and Joshua Hugh Wooden. He had three brothers: Maurice, Daniel, and William. He had two sisters, one of whom died in infancy and was unnamed and another, Cordelia, who died from diphtheria at age 2.
Wooden met his future wife, Nellie (Nell) Riley, at a carnival in July 1926. They married in a small ceremony in Indianapolis in August 1932 and afterward attended a Mills Brothers concert at the Circle Theatre to celebrate. John and his wife had a son, James Hugh Wooden, and a daughter, Nancy Anne Muehlhausen. Nellie died on March 21, 1985 from cancer.
Wooden remained devoted to Nellie until his own death decades after hers. He kept to a monthly ritual — health permitting — on the 21st of every month, when he would visit her grave then write a love letter to her. After completing each letter, he placed it in an envelope and added it to a stack of similar letters that accumulated over the years on the pillow she slept on during their life together. Wooden only stopped writing the letters in the last months of his life due to failing eyesight.
In mourning Nellie's death, Wooden was comforted by his faith. He was a devout Christian, considering his beliefs more important to him than basketball: "I have always tried to make it clear that basketball is not the ultimate. It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior." Wooden's faith strongly influenced his life. He read the Bible daily and attended the First Christian Church. He said that he hoped his faith was apparent to others: "If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me."
Wooden coached two years at Dayton High School in Kentucky. His first year at Dayton marked the only time he had a losing record (6–11) as a coach. 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 over 11 years, two at Dayton and nine at Central, was 218–42.
Indiana State University
After World War II, 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. In addition to his duties as basketball coach, Wooden also coached baseball and served as athletic director, all while teaching and completing his master's degree in Education.
In 1947, Wooden's basketball team won the Indiana Intercollegiate Conference title and received an invitation to the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) National Tournament in Kansas City. Wooden refused the invitation, citing the NAIB's policy banning African American players. One of Wooden's players was Clarence Walker, an African-American from East Chicago, Indiana.
That same year, Wooden's alma mater Purdue University wanted him to return to campus and serve as an assistant to then-head coach Mel Taube until Taube's contract expired. Then, at that time, Wooden would take over the program. Citing his loyalty to Taube, Wooden declined, as this would have effectively made Taube a lame-duck coach.
In 1948, Wooden again led Indiana State to the conference title. The NAIB had reversed its policy banning African-American players that year, and Wooden coached his team to the NAIB National Tournament final, losing to Louisville. This was the only championship game a Wooden-coached team ever lost. 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.
On Nov 8, 2008; Indiana State officially named the floor at Hulman Center The Nellie and John Wooden Court in honor of the legendary coach and his late wife, Nellie. The ceremony included taped comments from Coach Wooden and the participation of members of his 1946-47 and 1947-48 teams. The Sycamores christened the newly-named floor by defeating the Albion College (MI) Britons in an exhibition game.
After the 1947–48 season, Wooden became the head coach at UCLA, after negotiating for a three-year contract. UCLA had actually been his second choice for a coaching position in 1948. He had also been pursued for the head coaching position at the University of Minnesota, and it was his and his wife's desire to remain in the Midwest. But inclement weather in Minnesota prevented Wooden from receiving the scheduled phone offer from the Golden Gophers. Thinking that they had lost interest, Wooden accepted the head coaching job with the Bruins instead. Officials from the University of Minnesota contacted Wooden right after he accepted the position at UCLA, but he declined their offer because he had given his word to the Bruins.
Wooden had immediate success, fashioning an "instant turnaround" for an undistinguished, faltering program. In 1948, he took a UCLA team that had a 12–13 record the previous year and transformed it into a Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) Southern Division Champion with a 22–7 record, the most wins in a season for UCLA since it started playing basketball in 1919. He surpassed that number the next season with 24–7 and a second Southern Division Championship and PCC outright, and won a third and fourth straight Southern Division Championship his first four years. Up to that time, UCLA had collected a total of two such championships the previous 30 years.
In spite of these achievements, Wooden reportedly did not initially enjoy his position, and his wife did not favor living in Los Angeles. When Mel Taube left Purdue in 1950, Wooden's inclination was to return and finally accept the head coaching job there. He was ultimately dissuaded when UCLA officials reminded him that it was he who had insisted upon a three-year commitment during negotiations in 1948. Wooden felt that leaving UCLA prior to the expiration of his contract would be tantamount to breaking his word.
By the 1955-56 season, Wooden had established a sustained success at UCLA. That year, he guided the team to its first undefeated PCC conference title, and a 17-game winning streak that came to an end only at the hands of Bill Russell's University of San Francisco team in the 1956 NCAA Tournament. However, UCLA was unable to advance from this level over the immediately ensuing seasons, finding itself unable to return to the NCAA Tournament as the Pete Newell-coached teams at the University of California, Berkeley took control of the conference at the end of the decade.
Also hampering the fortunes of Wooden's team during that time period was a probation imposed on all UCLA sports in the aftermath of a scandal involving illegal payments made to players on the school's football team, along with USC, Cal and Stanford, resulting in the dismantling of the PCC conference.
By 1962, with the probation no longer in place, Wooden had righted the basketball program's ship and returned his team to the top of the conference. This time, however, they would take the next step, and in so doing, unleash a run of dominance unparalleled in the history of college basketball. A narrow loss, due largely to a controversial foul call, in the semifinal of the 1962 NCAA Tournament convinced Wooden that his Bruins were ready to contend for national championships. Two seasons later, the final piece of the puzzle fell into place when assistant coach Jerry Norman persuaded Wooden that the team's small-sized players and fast-paced offense would be complemented by the adoption of a zone press defense.
The result was a dramatic increase in scoring, giving UCLA a powerhouse team that went undefeated on its way to the school's first basketball national championship.
Wooden's team repeated as national champions the following season before the 1966 squad fell briefly, finishing second in the conference. However, the Bruins' 1967 incarnation returned with a vengeance, reclaiming not only the conference title, but the national crown, and then retaining it every season but one until Wooden's retirement in 1975.
Wooden coached what would prove to be his final game in Pauley Pavilion on March 1, 1975, in a 93–59 victory over Stanford. Four weeks later, following a 75–74 overtime victory over Louisville in the 1975 NCAA Tournament semifinal game, Wooden announced that he would retire immediately after the championship game. His legendary coaching career concluded triumphantly, as his team responded with a win over Kentucky to claim Wooden's first career coaching victory over the Wildcats and his unprecedented 10th national championship.
In 2004, a 93-year old Wooden stated that he wouldn't mind coming back as an assistant who could help players with practices and other light duties.
During his tenure with the Bruins, Wooden became known as the "Wizard of Westwood" (although he personally disdained the nickname) and gained lasting fame with UCLA by winning 620 games in 27 seasons and 10 NCAA titles during his last 12 seasons, including seven in a row from 1967 to 1973. His UCLA teams also had a record winning streak of 88 games and four perfect 30–0 seasons.
They also won 38 straight games in NCAA Tournaments and 98 straight home game wins at Pauley Pavilion. Wooden was named NCAA College Basketball's "Coach of the Year" in 1964, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973. In 1967, he was named the Henry Iba Award USBWA College Basketball Coach of the Year. In 1972, he shared Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsman of the Year" award with Billie Jean King. He was named to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach in 1973, becoming the first to be honored as both a player and a coach.
"He never made more than $35,000 a year salary (not including camps and speaking engagements), including 1975, the year he won his 10th national championship, and never asked for a raise," wrote Rick Reilly of ESPN. He was given a Bruin powder blue Mercedes that season as a retirement gift. According to his own writings, Wooden turned down an offer to coach the Los Angeles Lakers from owner Jack Kent Cooke that may have been ten times what UCLA was paying him.
&lt;A HREF=&quot;http://ws.amazon.com/widgets/q?ServiceVersion=20070822&amp;MarketPlace=US&amp;ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Febastats-20%2F8003%2Fb67ffa25-17c9-4907-b7be-38a8fd80af2c&amp;Operation=NoScript&quot;&gt;Amazon.com Widgets&lt;/A&gt;
Criticism of Wooden with regard to his stewardship of the UCLA basketball program has most often focused on his failure to investigate or curtail his players' involvement with Sam Gilbert, a UCLA booster who was a prominent figure in the players' circle in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s.
A 1981 investigation by the Los Angeles Times found that Gilbert had regularly arranged to procure items such as automobiles, clothing and airline tickets for UCLA players, and in so doing, apparently committed numerous violations of NCAA regulations. The investigation did not uncover evidence that Wooden had explicit personal awareness of Gilbert's activities. However, Gilbert's overall influence in the lives of the players was so well-known, the Times reporters concluded that if Wooden was not cognizant of the specifics of Gilbert's favors for players, it was only because Wooden made no effort to discover those details.
For his part, Wooden acknowledged that he had always felt uneasy about Gilbert's relationship with the players, but steadfastly denied having knowledge at the time of anything done by Gilbert that was in violation of NCAA regulations.
He also asserted that both he and UCLA athletic director J.D. Morgan had advised players to steer clear of Gilbert, but that ultimately they could not control the players' or Gilbert's actions. Given what later came to light, however, Wooden granted that he may have had "tunnel vision" and that he perhaps "trusted too much". Nonetheless, Wooden said that his "conscience [was] clear" with regard to his own role in the matter.
Read the full article at
Wiklipedia, The Free Encyclopedia
Visit: eBA Portal, Blog, Encyclopedia, Clinics, eBA System Book, eBA on Google +, Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeBA & eBA Store
keywords= basketbal,basketball coaching, basketball training,Coach John Wooden,Wooden's Wisdom and Century On and Off the Court