Legendary College Basketball Coach John Wooden: Unmatched after 99 Years

When it comes to college basketball coaches, there is probably no name more legendary across the boards than that of John Wooden. Born in the one-horse hamlet of Hall, Indiana, some ten miles northwest of Martinsville and 25 miles southwest of Indianapolis, John Robert Wooden will remain a legend as long as the game of basketball is played.

Wooden prefers to be called “Coach” to “legend,” but there are experts in the field who say his accomplishments will never be matched. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame not only as a coach, but also as a player, the first luminary in history to have been so honored.

Coach John Wooden names some of his best players in this video interview.


No other collegiate basketball coach has come near Wooden’s records, the most astonishing of which was winning ten NCAA Championships in the space of twelve years. Numerous athletic and educational facilities have been named after John Wooden, including the gymnasium at Martinsville High School, his alma mater. Wooden is the recipient of a Presidential Medial of Freedom, presented by George W. Bush; this is the highest honor available in the nation to a civilian. There’s even a U.S. post office called the Coach John Wooden Post Office, in Reseda, California.

In this video, you’ll see some great basketball plays, and hear a brief summation of John Wooden’s stunning career accomplishments.


John Wooden’s accomplishments are so myriad, they are nearly impossible to summarize. During his career as a college basketball head coach, he put up a win-loss record of 885-203, still unequaled today. Under his leadership, the UCLA Bruins took home an unprecedented seven NCAA championships in a row from 1967 to 1973, and a record-breaking ten NCAA championships overall. Wooden’s UCLA basketball teams still hold the record for the most appearances (16) in the Final Four, nine of which were consecutive, and the highest number of wins, at twenty-one.

As a player, he made 134 free throws in a row. He played professionally, and his name is on the roster of the NBL’s very first team. Even in golf, he’s a record-holder: He is one of only four golfers to hit both a hole in one and a double eagle during the same golf round.

And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

The numbers, however, do very little toward describing the man himself, whose influence as the “Wizard of Westwood” will live on for generations to come. His sayings, as well, will doubtless continue to reverberate like a basketball being taken down the court by his most famous player, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Here’s the famous John Wooden applying his values to successful investing in an articulate and interesting video.


Wooden moved with his family at the age of fourteen to nearby Martinsville, Indiana, where his name is by far the most recognizable on the list of well-known and famous people from Martinsville. His role model was Fuzzy Vandivier, one of the Franklin Wonder Five, and Wooden himself led his team to three consecutive high school state championships. He went on to a National Championship, playing with the Boilermakers at Purdue University, where he took his degree in English in 1932.

Wooden’s coaching career extends through Kentucky’s Dayton High School, South Bend Central High, Indiana State University and, most lauded, UCLA, from 1948 through 1975.

While this remarkable man is the winner of a long list of honors, the one he says he is most proud of was bestowed by his place of worship, the First Christian Church, which named him “Outstanding Basketball Coach of the United States.”

Coach John Wooden wrote or co-authored seven books between the years 1997 and 2009. He is known for his overall goal to coach for people, rather than for points.

John Wooden married his childhood sweetheart Nellie, who died in 1985, one of the great love stories of all time. Born in 1910, Wooden is still alive at this writing, and practicing what he preached during every year of his splendid, unparalleled career.

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