John Wooden, who died at the age of 99, was considered as one of the greatest coaches in history of any sports not only because of his achievement, but also with the lessons he etched in the hearts of his former players.
The legendary coach, who was born on October 4, 1910, has a lot of success during his tenure with the UCLA Bruins. He recorded an amazing feat by winning ten NCAA National Championships in his 12-year stint with the Bruins. During that period, the man known as the “Wizard of Westwood” guided his team to an 88-game winning run, which was one of the most remarkable achievements in World Basketball History.
His incredible feat with UCLA is still unmatched by any other coach in history. Unsurprisingly, he was inducted in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1961 and as a coach in 1973 to become the first ever person to be awarded in both categories. The former Navy man was also awarded by former President George W. Bush in 2003 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest Civilian Honor in the USA.
Wooden molded a lot of players that had a lot of success in their careers. One of them is Lew Alcindor who latter changed his name to Kareem Abdul Jabbar but Wooden still calls him as “Lewis”. The Wooden-Jabbar tandem produced three NCAA titles for UCLA and has only dropped two games during Kareem’s three-year stint with the Bruins.
Jabbar expressed his admiration and said that Wooden is not a coach to them; he’s like a father to all of his players. He also said that the legendary coach is a complex man but they taught them in a simple way.
During his coaching days, Wooden always stressed the importance of playing as a team. In his years with the Bruins, they played as as if they are a family which led to a lot of success for them.
One of the notable philosophy of Wooden is his “Pyramid of Success” which teaches ways on winning in basketball and in life. In this work, he said that success is in the apex of the pyramid and hard work should be done to achieve that.
“The cornerstones of success to me, in anything are hard work and enjoy what you’re doing. So one cornerstone is industriousness and the other is enthusiasm,” said John Wooden in his work.
For Wooden, success is the peace of mind resulted from knowing that you did your best to become what a person is capable of becoming.
This kind of Philosophy in Basketball in Life will be more remembered than his achievements because without it, Wooden and his players like Jabbar, Bill Walton, and Gail Goodrich will not be achieving all the success that they are enjoying.
John Wooden, a man of knowledge and a great teacher, will be forever remembered for all his contributions in the game of basketball and will be an inspiration to all the coaches and players around the World.