UCLA Basketball

John Wooden: The Greatest Head Coach Ever Will Live on Forever

WESTWOOD, CA - JANUARY 29:  Former coach John Wooden of the UCLA Bruins watches as the Bruins take on the University of California Golden Bears at Pauley Pavilion January 29, 2009 in Westwood, California. UCLA won, 81-66.  (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
James WalkerAnalyst IIJune 5, 2010

Coach John Wooden, the legendary college basketball coach, passed away on Friday, June 4, 2010 in a Los Angeles hospital.  He had been in grave condition for a few days.

I have to admit that my heart had weighed heavy the last few days knowing that Coach Wooden may finally pass on.  At age 99, he led a life of such high morals and values that should be taught not only to athletes but to all people.

Ask any person that spent any time with Coach Wooden.  He put others before himself, the team before the individual, and morals and values before any selfish want or need.

Think of today's most popular coaches: Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari, Phil Jackson, Urban Meyer, Mack Brown, Pete Carroll, Joe Paterno—all great in their own right, but every single one of them would tell you that Coach John Wooden was a mentor in some way.

Coach Wooden was known for a few quotes in his lifetime.  Here are just a few:

"A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment."

"If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?"

"Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful."

"You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one. "

And my all-time favorite quote:

"Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."

Coach Wooden had a reputation of being a great basketball player and coach, but it was his character that made him a great man.  I hope that one day another man can match Coach Wooden's level of integrity, but I'm afraid that may be impossible.

R.I.P., Coach.

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