Saturday, June 5, 2010

John Wooden Has Died

Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden, who won ten NCCAA basketball championships at UCLA in a 12 year stretch from 1964 to 1975, has died. He was 99. You can read his New York Times obituary HERE. When I first arrived at UCLA in the late 1980s, he was still an actively revered figure on campus, and a regular presence.  You would never have guessed that he had retired more than a decade earlier, after the 1975 season. 

He was famous for all those championships, of course, and for having won a record 88 consecutive games at one point from 1971 to 1974.  But as he got further away from the game and as his former players aged into adulthood, another aspect of his legacy became much more prominent: the broader life lessons that he imbued in his players along the way.  Here are a few of his more famous sayings:
  • Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are. 
  • Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.
  • Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.
  • If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over.
  • Never mistake activity for achievement. 
  • Be quick, but don't hurry.

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