Wooden, John 1910–

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Wooden, John 1910–

PERSONAL: Born October 14, 1910, in Martinsville, IN; son of Joshua Hugh and Roxie (Rothrock) Wooden; married Nellie C. Riley, August 8, 1932 (died, 1985); children: Nancy Anne, James Hugh. Education: Purdue University, B.S., 1932; Indiana State University, M.S., 1947. Hobbies and other interests: Reading, writing, family.

ADDRESSES: Home—Encino, CA. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Human Kinetics, P.O. Box 5076, Champaign, IL 61825-5076. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Dayton High School, Dayton, KY, coach, 1932–34; Central High School, South Bend, IN, coach, 1934–43; Indiana State Technical Teachers College (now Indiana State University), Terre Haute, IN, athletic director, basketball coach, and baseball coach, 1946–48; University of California, Los Angeles, basketball coach, 1948–75; lecturer and writer. Executive consultant, Los Angeles Stars, 2001–. Military service: U.S. Naval Reserve, 1943–46; became lieutenant.

AWARDS, HONORS: Named to All-American basketball team, 1930, 1931, and 1932; named College Basketball Player of the Year, 1932; named to All-Time All-American basketball team, Helms Athletic Foundation, 1943; named (as player) to National Basketball Hall of Fame, 1961, (as coach), 1973; named to Indiana State Basketball Hall of Fame, 1962; award for California Father of the Year, 1964 and 1975; College Basketball Coach-of-the-Year Award, Basketball Writers Association, 1964, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1972, and 1973; named Sportsman of the Year, Sports Illustrated, 1973; Whitney Young Award, Urban League, 1973; Velvet Covered Brick Award, Layman's Leadership Institute, 1974; Dr. James Naismith Peachbasket Award, 1974; medal of excellence, Bellarmine College, 1985; Sportslink Pathfinder Award, 1993; named to All-American Academy Hall of Fame, 1994; Forty-for-the-Age Award, Sports Illustrated, 1994; Frank G. Wells Disney Award, 1995; Distinguished American Award, presented by President Ronald Reagan, 1995; Service to Mankind Award, Lexington Theological Seminary, 1995; Theodore Roosevelt Sportsman Award, National Collegiate Athletic Association, 1995; Coach-of-the-Century Award, ESPN-TV, 1999; Presidential Medal of Freedom, presented by President George W. Bush, 2003; numerous other awards.


Practical Modern Basketball, Ronald Press (New York, NY), 1966, new edition, introduction by Bill Walton, Allyn & Bacon (Boston, MA), 1999.

(With Jack Tobin) They Call Me Coach, Word Books (Waco, TX), 1972, revised edition published as They Call Me Coach: The Fascinating First-Person Story of a Legendary Basketball Coach, 1985, new edition, with foreword by Denny Crum, Contemporary Books (Chicago, IL), 1988, new edition, foreword by Bill Walton, Contemporary Books (Chicago, IL), 2004.

(With Bill Sharman and Bob Seizer) The Wooden-Sharman Method: A Guide to Winning Basketball, Macmillan (New York, NY), 1975.

(With Steve Jamison) Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations on and off Court, Contemporary Books (Lincolnwood, IL), 1997.

(With Andrew Hill) Be Quick but Don't Hurry: Learning Success from Teachings of a Lifetime, Simon & Schuster (New York, NY), 2001.

Quotable Wooden: Words of Wisdom, Preparation, and Success by and about John Wooden, compiled by John Reger, TowleHouse (Nashville, TN), 2002.

(With Jay Carty) Coach Wooden: One on One, Regal (Ventura, CA), 2003.

(With Steve Jamison and Peanut Louie Harper) Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success, Perfection Learning (Logan, IA), 2003.

(With Steve Jamison) My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 2004.

(With Jay Carty) Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, Regal (Ventura, CA), 2005.

(With Steve Jamison) Wooden on Leadership, McGraw-Hill (New York, NY), 2005.

(With Swen Nater) John Wooden's UCLA Offense, Human Kinetics (Champaign, IL), 2006.

SIDELIGHTS: John Wooden, one of only two people enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach, is widely acknowledged as the most successful coach in college basketball history. A high-school coach for eleven years before he moved into the college ranks at Indiana State in 1946, Wooden enjoyed a long and spectacular career at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). From 1948 to 1975, he led UCLA to ten national championships, including seven consecutive titles from 1967 to 1973, and he ended his career with another national title in 1975. In that time he coached some of college basketball's greatest players, including Lew Alcindor (who would become Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), Gail Goodrich, Bill Walton, and Sidney Wicks, and he established UCLA as the dominating powerhouse in the Pacific Ten, winning sixteen conference titles.

During his time off the court, Coach Wooden has produced several books, including an instructional volume and an autobiography, and after leaving UCLA he published numerous other volumes. His first book, Practical Modern Basketball, serves as an introduction to basketball methods and tactics. Wooden followed this book, which appeared in 1966, with They Call Me Coach, a 1972 autobiography—since revised—that recounts his successes as a basketball coach and includes recollections of his earlier triumphs as a player at Indiana State University, where he earned All-American status in the early 1930s. Barbara J. McKee, writing in Kliatt, noted Wooden's emphasis on team play, self-discipline, and physical conditioning and affirmed that "we could all learn something from [Wooden's] philosophy of life." Another reviewer, Charles Farley, wrote in the Library Journal that They Call Me Coach is "intriguing and sometimes inspiring."

In 1975, the same year that he ended his career with another national championship, Wooden teamed with another basketball player, Bill Sharman, to write The Wooden-Sharman Method: A Guide to Winning Basketball, an instructional volume emphasizing sportsmanship, preparation, and self-discipline. Library Journal reviewer Milton E. Mitchell deemed the book "thoughtfully produced," and a Kirkus Reviews critic summarized it as "unarguably sound."

In 1997, Wooden collaborated with Steve Jamison to produce Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations on and off Court, in which the coach reiterates his strategies and techniques for maximizing the likelihood of success in basketball and in life. Ron Marinucci, in a Book Report appraisal, described Wooden as "a lifetime of observations and reflections," and William H. Hoffman, in a Library Journal assessment, stated that it is "derived from a lifetime of learning and achievement." Four years later, Wooden joined Andrew Hill, a former UCLA player, in writing Be Quick but Don't Hurry: Learning Success from Teachings of a Lifetime, another volume providing what a Publishers Weekly reviewer called "life and business mentoring." Wooden later explained his philosophy in a Los Angeles Magazine interview, where he contended: "There's no secret. There's no key. It's just sticking to the things you believe in, your treatment of all those people under your supervision, the attempt to be fair in your treatment of them. And recognizing the fact that everyone is different." Curry Kirkpatrick, writing in Sport, called Wooden "a national treasure."

In 2001, more than twenty-five years after he retired from coaching, Wooden—at age ninety—became an executive consultant for the Los Angeles Stars of the American Basketball Association. "I hope as a consultant, I'm not an adviser," Wooden said at a press conference covered by the Jefferson City News Tribune. "I'm certainly not going to try to tell anybody else how to do their job."

Wooden published his first book for children in 2003. In Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success, two friends embark on a magical journey and learn what it takes to succeed. Julie Roach of the School Library Journal noted that, while the book strives to teach children about success, kids might find consider it too "preachy."

Wooden turned his attention back to adult audiences with My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey. In this self-portrait, Wooden uses examples from his coaching experiences to discuss how to integrate dignity into one's life. Booklist writer Wes Lukowsky commented that while Wooden is saying nothing that readers have not heard before, most will appreciate the "wonderful anecdotes" found between the pages.

In Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success, published in 2005, Wooden outlines the techniques he used during his coaching career to ensure success on the court. He shows the reader how to apply these methods to everyday life. Michael J. Carson, writing for Reviewer's Bookwatch, felt that the book was "a personal, in-depth look" at the steps that made Wooden successful.



Booklist, June 1, 2004, Wes Lukowsky, review of My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey, p. 1686.

Book Report, September-October, 1997, Ron Marinucci, review of Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations on and off Court, p. 50.

Jefferson City News Tribune, February 3, 2001, "At Age 90, John Wooden Takes New Job."

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 1975, review of The Wooden-Sharman Method: A Guide to Winning Basketball, p. 391.

Kliatt, April, 1989, Barbara J. McKee, review of They Call Me Coach, p. 65.

Library Journal, April, 1973, Charles Farley, review of They Call Me Coach, p. 1186; July, 1975, Milton E. Mitchell, review of The Wooden-Sharman Method, p. 1342; April 15, 1997, William H. Hoffman, review of Wooden, p. 87.

Los Angeles Magazine, February, 1995, Bob Ellison, "The Wizard Speaks," interview with John Wooden, p. 88.

Publishers Weekly, February 26, 2001, review of Be Quick but Don't Hurry: Learning Success from Teachings of a Lifetime, p. 71.

Reviewer's Bookwatch, May, 2005, Michael J. Carson, review of Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success.

School Library Journal, March, 2004, Julie Roach, review of Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success, p. 188.

Sport, January, 1998, Curry Kirkpatrick, "Same as He Ever Was," p. 70.


Basketball Hall of Fame Web site, http://www.hoophall.com/ (May 31, 2002).

Coach John Wooden Home Page, http://www.coachjohnwooden.com (January 4, 2006).