John Wooden (1910 – 2010)

Today, a true gentleman and national treasure passed away. Coach Wooden is best known for his 10 national titles for Men’s Basketball at UCLA and for crafting the Pyramid of Success: an instructional model for team building. But he was much more.

In my last year at UCLA, I had the honor and privilege of hearing Coach Wooden talk about his life at a book signing event. Unlike many alumni, Coach Wooden continued to be involved in the UCLA community after retirement, attending every home game at Pauley Pavilion until a few years ago and engaging with students. His most important advice was one he obtained from his own father: “make every day your masterpiece.”

I could go on and on about Coach Wooden’s his humble and faithful life, his great love for his wife, his passion for social justice, his fiery demeanor against bad referee calls, his micromanagement of players’ footwear, and his love for making boys into men of integrity, on and off the court. But then, I’d be writing a novel.

Goodbye, Coach Wooden. Have fun meeting up with Nell in the flash sideways.

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