- NAME: John Wooden
- OCCUPATION: Basketball Player, Coach
- BIRTH DATE: October 14, 1910
- DEATH DATE: June 04, 2010
- Did You Know?: A snowstorm prevented University of Minnesota officials from calling John Wooden to offer him the head basketball coach position before he accepted the UCLA job in 1948.
- Did You Know?: John Wooden became the first person to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and as a coach.
- EDUCATION: Purdue University, Martinsville High School, Indiana State Teachers College
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Hall, Indiana
- PLACE OF DEATH: Los Angeles, California
- Full Name: John Robert Wooden
- AKA: John Wooden
- Nickname: The Wizard of Westwood
Best Known For
American college basketball coach John Wooden won a record 10 national championships over a 12-year span at UCLA.
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Born on October 14, 1910, in Hall, Indiana, John Wooden became an All-American guard at Purdue University. After stints as a high school coach and teacher, he took over as head basketball coach at UCLA in 1948 and led the Bruins to a record 10 national championships. The first person to be inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach, Wooden died in Los Angeles on June 4, 2010.
"All of life is peaks and valleys. Don't let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low."
Basketball coach John Robert Wooden was born on October 14, 1910, in Hall, Indiana. His upbringing on a farm with no electricity and little money instilled a strong work ethic, but Wooden also found time for fun by playing basketball in a barn with his three brothers.
Wooden moved with his family at age 14 to the nearby town of Martinsville, where he met the love of his life, Nell Riley. He also became a star basketball player at Martinsville High School, leading the team to the Indiana State championship in 1927.
Wooden earned three straight All-America selections as a guard at Purdue University and was named team captain as a junior. He graduated with honors and a degree in English after winning the College Basketball Player of the Year Award and Purdue was voted national champions in 1932.
Wooden was offered $5,000 to join a barnstorming tour with the New York Celtics after graduating, but instead married Riley and settled in as an English teacher and coach of multiple athletic teams at Dayton High School in Kentucky. In his first year, the basketball team went 6-11; it would be the only losing season of his coaching career.
In 1934, Wooden returned to Indiana to teach English and coach basketball, baseball and tennis at South Bend Central High School. During this time, he formulated the principles of his seminal "Pyramid of Success," teaching model, aiming to inspire his students and teams to derive the most from their potential.
After serving as a Navy lieutenant during World War II, Wooden became the athletic director, as well as the coach for the basketball and baseball teams at Indiana State Teachers College in 1946. His basketball teams won back-to-back Indiana Collegiate Conference titles and notched an impressive 44-15 record over two seasons.
Wooden took over as basketball coach for the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1948, hardly a sought after position given that the team lacked a proper playing arena and facilities. But the former college champion instilled some much-needed discipline into his players, forbidding them from cursing and criticizing each other, and UCLA won three Pacific Coast Conference titles in his first eight seasons.
Wooden was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1960, but his impact on the game was far from finished. He led UCLA to a perfect 30-0 record and the national championship in 1963-64—which earned him Coach of the Year honors—and then oversaw a second championship the following season.
Beginning in the 1966-67 season, the Bruins embarked on the most dominant run in college basketball history.
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