“A true saint of circumstance and an intergalactic hero”
- Bill Walton (pictured above with Coach Wooden) on ESPN Radio this morning
The greatest basketball coach of all-time and living legend John Wooden turns 99 today.
From the article, our favorites of the 99 fun facts about Wooden:
3. As a boy, one of his role models was Fuzzy Vandivier of the Franklin Wonder Five, a basketball team that dominated Indiana high school basketball from 1919 to 1922.
As Pops can attest, they just don’t make names like that anymore.
22. In 1947, Wooden's basketball team won the Indiana Collegiate Conference title and received an invitation to the NAIB tournament in Kansas City. Wooden refused the invitation, citing the NAIB's policy banning African American players. A member of the Sycamores' team was Clarence Walker, an African American from East Chicago, Ind.
30. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame both as a player (class of 1961) and as a coach (1973). He was the first person ever enshrined in both categories, later joined by Bill Sharman and Lenny Wilkens.
43. Inclement weather in Minnesota prevented Wooden from receiving the scheduled phone offer from the Golden Gophers. Thinking they had lost interest, Wooden accepted UCLA's offer instead.
44. Minnesota contacted Wooden right after he accepted the position at UCLA, but he declined because he had given his word to the Bruins.
48. He won five titles without Lew Alcindor or Bill Walton.
51. Another quote from Wooden: "Talent is God given; be humble. Fame is man given; be thankful. Conceit is self given; be careful."
79. Wooden's "Pyramid of Success" has become an organizational and inspirational tool for coaches everywhere.
80. The foundation for Wooden's "Pyramid of Success" is Industriousness, Friendship, Loyalty, Cooperation and Enthusiasm.
81. The peak of the Pyramid is Competitive Greatness.
99. One more quote from Wooden: "Don't give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you."
… and a special BwD bonus 100: Streets in our hometown of Placentia, CA are named after both Nell (his late wife) and John Wooden.