Summer 2000 Coach!
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he did a remarkable thing. Just past noon, a photographer arrived
to take a portrait. The photographer told Coach Wooden that he would
set up a small studio outside and be ready to shoot in half an hour.
I looked at my watch. It was 12:12. The photographer left and Coach
Wooden and I continued talking. Then, without so much as a glance
at his watch or a clock, Coach stood up and said: "It's time to
meet the photographer." I looked at my watch; it was 12:42, 30 minutes
on the nose.
was at that moment that I came to understand how, in his 27 years
as the Wizard of Westwood, John Wooden had led UCLA to a phenomenal
NCAA record-setting 88 straight wins and 10 national titles in 12
seasons. Yes, great athletes came to Westwood to play for him-Walt
Hazzard '78, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar '69 (then known as Lew Alcindor),
Sidney Wicks '71, Bill Walton '74, Marques Johnson '77, to name
just a few-but that was not the whole story. Sure, there was his
well-known Pyramid of Success. But there was more to it than that.
Year after year, I suddenly understood, he had taken young, talented
men and blended them into teams that could, on the court, control
time and space.
walked outside to meet the photographer. It could've been his millionth
photo shoot, but Coach was as cheery as if it were the first. Afterward,
we came back inside and talked some more. I asked him how I could
help my children get the best out of themselves. When I returned
home, I imparted his wisdom to my kids. Three months later, my 5-year-old
son would be reminding his little sister: "Be quick, but don't hurry."
what I'd come for.
I left Coach Wooden at the end of the day, I knew a lot more about
life and my place in it than I did the day before. In fact, I walked
away wondering what might have become of my life had John Wooden
been my mentor when I was coming up.
then, in no particular order, are words of life and wisdom straight
from the mouth of Coach John Wooden. Feel free to pass them on.