John Wooden

John Wooden


10/10/1910, Hall, Indiana, USA



Birth Name

John Robert Wooden


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Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • John was a prolific writer and published the following books:

      April 1997
      Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court with Steve Jamison

      February 2002
      Quotable Wooden (Potent Quotables)

      September 2003
      They Call Me Coach

      September 2003 - Children's Book
      Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success with Steve Jamison, Peanut Louie Harper, and Susan F. Cornelison (Illustrator)

      April 2004
      My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey with Steve Jamison

      April 2005
      Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organization

      July 2005
      Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success Playbook with Jay Carty

      January 2006 - Children's Book
      Heroes of Beesville with Steve Jamison and Susan F. Cornelison (Illustrator)

      January 2006 - Children's Book
      Adventure Underground (Inch and Miles) with Steve Jamison and and Susan F. Cornelison (Illustrator)

      December 2006
      The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership with Steve Jamison

      May 2007 - Children's Book
      Fiesta (Coach John Wooden for Kids) with Steve Jamison, Bonnie Graves, and Susan F. Cornelison (Illustrator)

      February 2009
      Coach Wooden's Leadership Game Plan for Success: 12 Lessons for Extraordinary Performance and Personal Excellence with Steve Jamison

      August 2009
      Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success: Building Blocks For a Better Life with Jay Carty

      October 2009
      Coach Wooden One on One: Inspiring Conversations on Purpose, Passion and the Pursuit of Success with Jay Carty

      October 2009
      A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring by John Wooden with Don Yeager, and John Maxwell

    • John's final book entitled The Wisdom of Wooden: My Century On and Off the Court (with Steve Jamison) was posthumously released in August 2010.

    • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: It's kind of hard to talk about Coach Wooden simply, because he was a complex man. But he taught in a very simple way. He just used sports as a means to teach us how to apply ourselves to any situation.

    • (from a statement given by his children shortly after John's death)
      Jim Wooden and Nancy Muehlhausen: He has been, and always will be, the guiding light for our family. The love, guidance and support he has given us will never be forgotten. Our peace of mind at this time is knowing that he has gone to be with our mother, whom he has continued to love and cherish.

    • Jamaal Wilkes: He was always the boss. He always knew what to say. Even in the heyday of winning and losing, you could almost discuss anything with him. He always had that composure and wit about him. He could connect with all kinds of people and situations and always be in control of himself and seemingly of the situation.

    • UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero: There will never be another John Wooden. This loss will be felt by individuals from all parts of society. He was not only the greatest coach in the history of any sport but he was an exceptional individual that transcended the sporting world. His enduring legacy as a role model is one we should all strive to emulate.

    • Syracuse Coach Jim Boeheim: When I think of a basketball coach the only one I ever thought of was Coach Wooden. He had a great life and helped so many coaches until well in his 90s. Every time I talked to him he would give me some words of advice. He's the best of all time. There will never be another like him, and you can't say that about too many people.

    • John was the captain of Purdue's basketball teams in the 1931 and 1932 seasons, leading the Boilermakers to two Big Ten Conference titles and the 1932 national championship.

    • John attended Purdue University, where he lettered in both basketball and baseball in his freshman year. His play as a guard on the basketball team earned John All-America honors for three consecutive years from 1930-32.

    • John is the first person to be inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach.

    • John took over as head basketball coach at UCLA in 1948 and coached the Bruins until his retirement in 1975. During his 27 years tenure, he compiled a conference record of 316–67 (.825) and an overall record of 620-147 (.808).

    • John's first college coaching job was at Indiana State University in Terre Haute, Indiana. The university was called Indiana Teacher's College and John coached the team for two years: from 1946 to 1948 compiling a record of 44–15 (.746).

  • Quotes

    • John: There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.

    • John: You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

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

    • John: Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.

    • John: Never mistake activity for achievement.

    • John: Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.

    • John: It's the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.

    • John: It isn't what you do, but how you do it.

    • John: If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.

    • John: Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

    • John: Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.

    • John: 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.

    • John: Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.

    • John: Be prepared and be honest.

    • John: A great leader cannot worry about being well-liked.

    • John: If you've done your job as a coach, you shouldn't have to jump up and down and work for all that attention. If you're the teacher, the game is the test, and you never see teachers running around the classroom during the test. They shouldn't have to.

    • John: Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.

    • John: It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.

    • John: Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.

    • John: The most important key to achieving great success is to decide upon your goal and launch, get started, take action, move.

    • John: Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.

    • (on the secret to his long life)
      John: Not being afraid of death and having peace within yourself. All of life is peaks and valleys. Don't let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.

    • (when asked what he would like God to say to him when he arrived at the Pearly Gates)
      John: Well done.

    • John: What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player.