By Barbara Olenyik Morrow
In 1948, at age thirty-seven, wood moved west, as did many american citizens within the post-World conflict II period. He took over the top basketball task on the college of California at l. a., a college with nearly no basketball culture. He took his relations and his training talents with him. He additionally took his midwestern values. For the following six a long time he remained in Southern California, making a basketball dynasty at UCLA and solidifying his position as one of many carrying world’s greats. while he died on June four, 2010, on the Ronald Reagan UCLA clinical heart, he was once 4 months shy of his hundredth birthday.
Wooden’s luck as a school trainer was once extraordinary and, in natural numbers, unbelievable. From 1964 to 1975, he led the UCLA Bruins men’s basketball group to 10 nationwide Collegiate Athletic organization nationwide basketball championships, together with seven in a row—a feat which could by no means be matched. in the course of that string of championships, he coached the Bruins to 4 ideal 30–0 seasons, an NCAA men’s checklist that also stands. He additionally coached UCLA to an eighty-eight-game profitable streak, yet one more unmatched men’s checklist. Over the process his twenty-seven seasons at UCLA, he mentored All-Americans resembling Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and invoice Walton, earned the distinction of legions of avid gamers, and encouraged numerous would-be roundballers and coaches alike.
These achievements placed wood within the corporation of mythical coaches in the course of the box of activities. Even in that elite corporation, he fared in particular good. In 2009 wearing information journal requested multiple hundred coaches and activities specialists to call the best trainer of all time in any activity. now not unusually, training giants similar to the fairway Bay Packers’s Vince Lombardi, Notre Dame’s Knute Rockne, the Boston Celtics’s purple Auerbach, and long island Yankees’s Casey Stengel ranked within the most sensible ten; wood stood at no 1 the list.
Long prior to that score, besides the fact that, awards and honors flowed Wooden’s method. In 1973 he was once inducted into the Naismith Basketball corridor of popularity as trainer, making him the 1st to be venerated as either a participant and a trainer. (He bought the dignity as a participant in 1960.) In 1977 collage basketball’s annual player-of-the-year award was once named for him. The NCAA bestowed its maximum honor, the Theodore Roosevelt award, on wood in 1995. And in 2006 the nationwide Collegiate Basketball corridor of popularity in Kansas urban, Missouri, commemorated him as a member of the founding type, besides basketball inventor medical professional James Naismith.
Accolades additionally poured in from open air the activities international. In 2003 President George W. Bush presented wood the Presidential Medal of Freedom, American’s optimum civilian honor. years later, Indiana bestowed on him its maximum honor, the Sachem, an award spotting a life of excellence and advantage. In prior a long time, entities starting from provider golf equipment to faith-based enterprises to universities rushed to salute not just his accomplishments but additionally his character.
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Hardwood Glory: A Life of John Wooden by Barbara Olenyik Morrow