John Wooden

June 8, 2010

99 year old former UCLA coach John Wooden passed away Friday.  While most of his greatest accomplishments occurred before I was born, I have a deep appreciation for what he stood for.  In a world where “winning at all costs” is a mantra taught to amateur and professional athletes alike, Wooden preached something different: giving it our all and doing our best.  I love that he believed that success wasn’t about trophies, awards or even money and status.  He believed that only we can determine success for ourselves.  While he was coaching, Wooden emphasized practice and the process of becoming the best team possible more than he emphasized winning.  This philosophy, ultimately, led to his and his teams’ success.

Success is peace of mind that is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming. — John Wooden

Wooden compiled an amazing 620 – 147 record and ten world championships in his 27 years as coach of the UCLA Bruins.  But I admire and appreciate that Wooden thought of himself as a teacher first.  He taught his players lessons that could applied to their lives just as much as they could be applied to game situations.  In other words, he made sure his players were well-rounded, decent human beings.

For more about John Wooden’s life, check out his official website, his wiki page and his TED talk.

1 Lori June 8, 2010 at 8:39 pm

Hi Tim,
I watched the TED video a couple of days ago. Even though I hadn’t known much about John Wooden prior to his death, his speech at TED (in 1991) was jaw-dropping and unforgettable. I’m glad I got to know him now and that his will be not be forgotten.

I’m so happy you’ve posted about Mr. Wooden — he’s an inspiration to me. I agree, by putting his teaching role first as an English teacher, this spoke volumes to me.

Great post, my friend.

2 Lance June 8, 2010 at 8:57 pm

The more I know of Mr. John Wooden, the more respect I have for him in every aspect of the life he lived. One of my favorite videos of him – one where he talks about LOVE – in an ESPN interview in late 2009 I believe (I watched it originally a few months ago):

What an amazing human being he was…

And what a wonderful way to highlight him here.

3 Tim June 9, 2010 at 7:47 am

Hi Lori: Thank you so much for your feedback about the John Wooden TED talk…I got through the first third of the vid but had to run. I know I’ll have to get back to that. I did, however, watch a large amount of JW YouTube videos and was amazed at his life and his profound influence on others, especially his players. The other day, I went to the library to take out one of John Wooden’s books…the guy checking out the book, a little younger than me, asked me about Wooden. We talked briefly about him and its good to know that decades later, he’s still a very relevant person to know about. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on Coach Wooden.

Hi Lance: Thanks for sharing your thoughts and a link to that video. Wow, powerful stuff! That is a great video about love and he’s a great example. In my post, I failed to mention that he was married for more than 50 years…which is an accomplishment that’s right up there with all of the championship teams that he’s coached. I’m glad the video also touched on loyalty, which seems to be fading a bit these days.

4 Ryhen Satch June 9, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I honestly don’t know who John Wooden is, but the way you describe his philosophy in life made me want to find out more about him. I’m going to watch the video right after submitting this comment. Thanks for sharing Tim, and I hope that everything is fine on your side of the planet.

Peace and respect,
.-= Ryhen Satch´s last post…Positive Affirmations: The Power Of Positive Thinking =-.

5 Tim June 10, 2010 at 7:29 am

Hi Ryhen: Ha ha…while I’ve known of John Wooden for a while…like you, I’m just learning to understand and appreciate his great legacy now. He really was an amazing coach and teacher. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and enjoy the videos!

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