John Wooden was a coach through and through. Keeping college basketball in the nation's mindset while the NBA gained popularity, John built the most consistent, successful program in the history of college basketball. At UCLA, he won a record 10 national championships and groomed such future NBA greats as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. Dubbed the “Wizard of Westwood,” the city in which UCLA is located, John was always a dignified man.
TIP - IN
John almost didn't end up at UCLA. He was ready to accept the head coaching job at the University of Minnesota because his wife wanted to stay in the Midwest, but telephone outages due to bad weather prevented Minnesota from offering him the job. John thought they were no longer interested, so he accepted the UCLA position.
John's career college coaching record was 885-203, winning a little more than 80 percent of his games. He coached 27 seasons at UCLA, stepping down in 1975. He won seven national championships in a row — 1966–1973 — and amassed a record of 38 NCAA tournament wins in a row. John also set the regular-season wins-in-a-row record with 88. He is also the only coach to guide four undefeated teams (all four went 31-0), and he was the first person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame as both a player and coach.
As a player, John captained Purdue for two successful years as a guard, winning a pair of Big 10 titles and the 1932 national championship. Before beginning his college coaching career, John taught English at South Bend Central High School, near the Notre Dame campus, and coached the high school to a record of 218-42. His incredible journey then took him into the military, as an officer in the Navy for three years during World War II. After the war, he served as athletic director, coach, and teacher at Indiana Teachers College, later renamed Indiana State University — the college where Larry Bird would eventually star.
Follow the Rules!
If you want your team to win, it helps to have a great coach. This coach is very tough. Can you see how these players can get through the obstacle course?
THIS COACH HAS WHEELS
Why was Cinderella such a bad basketball player? Her coach was a pumpkin!