Saturday, June 5, 2010

John Wooden known for more than basketball

John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood, the greatest to ever coach the game of basketball, who turned boys into men, not just coached athletes, died on Friday.

As one who played basketball through high school and college, the name Wooden is the gold standard among players and coaches.

Wooden's many accomplishments
Winner of 10 consecutive NCAA Championships at UCLA, this feat will stand forever

Won 88 consecutive games

Coached NBA hall of famers like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton

40 years of coaching at the high school and college level with only one losing season--his first year.

More than a basketball coach
Coach Wooden was more than a college basketball coach; he was a father, married to the same woman for over 40 years

Rick Reilly of Sport's Illustrated tells an impressive story of Wooden's devotion to his wife. This article is worth reading!

On Tuesday the best man I know will do what he always does on the 21st of the month. He’ll sit down and pen a love letter to his best girl. He’ll say how much he misses her and loves her and can’t wait to see her again. Then he’ll fold it once, slide it in a little envelope and walk into his bedroom. He’ll go to the stack of love letters sitting there on her pillow, untie the yellow ribbon, place the new one on top and tie the ribbon again.

The stack will be 180 letters high then, because Tuesday is 15 years to the day since Nellie, his beloved wife of 53 years, died. In her memory, he sleeps only on his half of the bed, only on his pillow, only on top of the sheets, never between, with just the old bedspread they shared to keep him warm.

A Man of deep faith
He also said, "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.

Coach Wooden once said. “It is of small importance in comparison to the total life we live. There is only one kind of life that truly wins, and that is the one that places faith in the hands of the Savior.” Wooden’s faith strongly influenced his life and career as a legendary basketball coach. He read the Bible daily and was faithful in church. He said that he hoped his faith was apparent to others. Said Wooden, “If I were ever prosecuted for my religion, I truly hope there would be enough evidence to convict me.”