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Summer 2000
Coach!
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They called me the India Rubber Man in high school because every time I went down on the court, I bounced right up. I'm 89 now. I've had my hip replaced and my knees aren't any good. I'm old. I accept it. One of my great-granddaughters said, "Pa Pa, you drive like an old man." I said: "Well, honey, what am I?"

We had a mule named Kate that would always lie down on me. I couldn't get her up. My dad would be working across the field and see what was going on and start walking toward us. Then he'd say, "Kate," and she'd get up and there'd be no problem. He had a way. Like Mr. Lincoln said: "There's nothing stronger than gentleness."

My father gave me a $2 bill for my grade-school graduation and said: "Hold onto this and you'll never be broke." I still have it. A lot of times that's all I've had. But I've never been broke.

When I think of mother, I think of hard work: cooking, canning, mending, washing on the washboard, churning our own butter. I think of perseverance.

People are about as happy as they make their mind to be.

One of the sayings in the seven-point creed that my dad gave me when I graduated from grade school was: "Make each day your masterpiece."

I was saving up to be married and I had $909 and a nickel in the bank. I'll never forget that. I found out I lost it all the day before I was supposed to be married. Two or three top people in the bank had gone through the safety boxes and stolen money. For a while the incident made me distrustful of people. But I got over that. Mr. Lincoln said, "It's better to trust and be disappointed occasionally than to distrust and be miserable all the time." There's something to that.

It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.

The most I made coaching at UCLA was $32,500. Maybe I didn't have a million-dollar contract like Shaquille O'Neal, but he'll never know what it was like to get a good meal for 25 cents.

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