Somewhere in Babylon
- Jan 12, 2010
- Reaction score
- Somewhere in Babylon...
- Political Leaning
(CNN) -- He was known as the Wizard of Westwood, the architect of a dynasty at UCLA that will never be equaled. But John Wooden leaves behind a legacy much larger than victories on a basketball court.
Wooden died Friday of natural causes at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. He was 99. His 100th birthday would have been October 14.
Wooden had been admitted to the hospital on May 26. Funeral services will be private, but the family said there would be a public memorial at a later date, with a reception for former players and coaches.
Wooden was born on a farm in Martinsville, Indiana, in 1910 and learned to play basketball on an iron hoop that his father had forged and attached to the barn.
He went to college at Purdue, winning All-America honors three times and leading the Boilermakers to the 1932 national collegiate championship.
After marrying his high school sweetheart and life-long love Nell following his graduation, Wooden coached at the high school level and at Indiana State before being hired by UCLA in 1948. His coaching methods, like his upbringing, seemed like something out of a Norman Rockwell painting: Simple, yet elegant.
"If there's anything you could point out where I was a little different, it was the fact that I never mentioned winning," he once said.
In 27 years at UCLA, his Bruins won an unprecedented 10 national championships in 12 years, including seven straight from 1967 to 1973. UCLA also captured 19 conference titles and set an NCAA record with 88 consecutive wins over four seasons, but Wooden was more proud of his player's accomplishments off the court.
"I think that's the factor from which I have received the greatest satisfaction and pleasure. The fact that practically all of my players did get their degrees and practically all of them have done well in whatever their chosen profession might be," he said.
Legendary basketball coach Wooden dies - CNN.com