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.