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John Wooden: Remembering a Great Coach

“Be prepared and be honest.”

We are gifted with a multitude of inspirational quotes by a man of indescribable strength and character. Raised on a small farm in Indiana, John Wooden’s parents instilled lessons into him that would not only last a lifetime but transform the lives of all he came in contact with.

“Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”

John Wooden is famous for leading the UCLA basketball team to 10 national championships in 12 years. He’s infamous for his character, his values (family, faith, and friends), and his wisdom. Wooden taught his young players at UCLA about personal excellence on and off the court. He taught them discipline, dedication, focus, organization, and leadership. These are not just basketball skills, they are life skills and Wooden’s goal was not to just win championships but to build winning lives.

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts .”

Coach Wooden had a knack for breaking big subjects down to manageable size. Instead of giving his players a giant, bound playbook of information, he would give individual-sized handouts on various topics such as goals, new rules, training suggestions, academic responsibilities, shooting, and rebounding, tipping, just to name a few. Breaking it down into small, bite-size nuggets meant it would be read and digested effectively.

“It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen .”

According to his book, Wooden, A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court, Coach Wooden describes a success pyramid with building blocks of character traits, topped with faith and patience. A deeply devoted Christian man, Coach Wooden did his best to instill a solid foundation of character that created success for his players, his family, and the world. He thrived on teaching life lessons to all who would listen.

“I am just a common man who is true to his beliefs .”

Coach Wooden says he did not need the ten championships to validate him. He was already a success simply because of his effort to produce the very best team he possibly could. He never compared himself higher or lower than anyone else. He believed adversity is the great challenger that makes us stronger and better if we choose to let it. He exemplified the simple ethic that hard work can accomplish unbelievable success.

“Never mistake activity for achievement .”

Farewell Coach Wooden. Even though you’re gone, your legacy will live on forever. Because you were here, we’re stronger, wiser, and better.


Image by MarkMcCarthey

Image by iccsports

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4 Responses to John Wooden: Remembering a Great Coach

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    awesome article! i've read a few others from this writer and all have been well researched.

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    Goals,new rules, training suggestions, academic responsibilities, shooting, and rebounding, tipping, just to name a few which is quite true in real sense.

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