John Wooden

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John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910June 4, 2010) was a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (1961) and a coach (1973). He was the first person ever enshrined in both categories; only Lenny Wilkens and Bill Sharman have since been so honored. He was awarded the presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003. He led UCLA basketball program from 1948 until 1975. He was the coach for UCLA winning 10 championships in 12 years. He is also famous for his pyramid of success.


Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court[edit]

  • Failure is not fatal but failure to change might be.
    • Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections on and Off the Court
  • Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.

They Call Me Coach[edit]

  • Learn as if you were to live forever; live as if you were to die tomorrow
    • They Call Me Coach, John Wooden, 1988
  • The main ingredient of stardom, is the rest of the team.
    • They Call Me Coach
  • Young people need models, not critics.
    • They Call Me Coach
  • Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be thankful. Conceit is self-given; be careful.
    • They Call Me Coach

Interview on Charlie Rose[edit]

  • Winning breeds winning.
  • You should never try to be better than someone else, you should always be learning from others. But you should never cease trying to be the best you could be because that’s under your control and the other isn’t.
    • Interview on Charlie Rose, quoting his father
  • Success is peace of mind attained only through self-satisfaction and knowing you’ve made the effort, do the best of what you’re capable.
    • Interview on Charlie Rose
  • Make each day your masterpiece.
    • Interview on Charlie Rose, quoting his father
  • The outstanding coach is a teacher that gets all his squad to accept the role that he considers to be the most important for the welfare of all.
    • Interview on Charlie Rose
  • You control the terms of the conflict. Make them play your game. Don’t try to play theirs.
    • Interview on Charlie Rose, reported by Bill Walton
  • The four laws of learning are: the first is demonstration of what you want. The second is the criticism of the demonstration. The third is the imitation of the correct model, and the fourth is repetition, over and over until it becomes habit where is you don’t think about it.
    • Interview on Charlie Rose
  • Don’t beat yourself. That’s the worst kind of defeat you’ll ever suffer.
    • Interview on Charlie Rose, reported by Bill Walton
  • I’ll have him out of there before he hit the floor.
    • Interview on Charlie Rose
  • I do not have the right, Bill, but I do have the right to say who is going to play on my team and we’re going to miss you.
    • Interview on Charlie Rose, about Bill Walton's right to wear his hair long

IBM Linux Commercial[edit]

  • A player who makes a team great is more valuable than a great player. Losing yourself for the group, for the good of the group, that’s teamwork.
    • IBM Linux commercial


  • Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.
    • Wooden only repeated a common aphorism (e.g. Interview on Charlie Rose, reported by Bill Walton), which was already in circulation as early as the 1920s, when he was a youth.[1]

External links[edit]

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