He was known as a wizard – the Wizard of Westwood. I am not sure how that moniker came to be attached to him, except that this pithy alliteration well described his mastery of the the basketball court as coach of the UCLA Bruins. But that nickname seems to have rung true for another reason. By all accounts the influence of Coach John Wooden‘s ‘spell’ left his former players, and others around him, better for having had him around.
An era has passed. In a way it is odd to say this, since the John Wooden era of coaching ended more than 35 years ago. But the era ended completely with the passing of Coach Wooden, who went to be with his Lord, and his long-departed wife, Friday evening.
Still, even in his parting, Wooden influence will continue to live in those he coached, and through those whose lives have been enhanced through the life & leadership lessons Wooden took a lifetime to craft, and which he devoted to sharing in his retirement years: Wooden’s Pyramid of Success.
Despite his nickname, there is nothing ‘magical’ about the Wooden Way. His success formula is rooted in integrity, discipline, loyalty, and hard work. And unlike many of the self-help principes on the market, Wooden’s philosophy was woven in his Faith.
In summary: Wooden was more than just a coach. He was a godly man who was on a mission to bless those around him.
As a father of a son, entering college, who aspires to be a coach, I can think of no example I would rather have influence him, in that endeavor, than that which John Wooden embodied.
John Wooden’s legend will be long remembered. John Wooden’s character & principles will continue to speak for generattion to come.