50 Interesting Facts About John Wooden

41. Under the leadership of Wooden, the Bruins had a resurgence that made it clear that a new home was needed. The Bruins games were played in the Men’s Gym since 1932. The seating capacity was 2400; however, the city fire marshal restricted the capacity to 1500 in 1955. Therefore, the Bruins were forced to relocate the games to venues around Los Angeles like the Pan Pacific Auditorium at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena to attract bigger crowds.

42. At the urging of Wooden, Pauley Pavilion, which is a much bigger on-campus facility was constructed to coincide with the 1965–66 season. The structure was christened in November 1965, commemorated by a special game that pitted the UCLA freshmen against the UCLA varsity.

Coach John Wooden with Kareem Abdul Jabbar
Coach John Wooden with Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Image credit – rocor

43. It was freshman season for Lew Alcindor, who later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Back then, freshmen could not play on the varsity team. In the pre-season poll, UCLA was ranked number 1. The varsity team suffered a 75–60 loss at the hand of the freshmen; this was a formidable indication of future happenings.

44. During the 1967–1968 season, a rule change was established primarily because of towering play of Alcindor close to the basket. They outlawed the dunk shot and it was not reestablished until the 1976–1977 season, which was shortly after Wooden retired.

45. UCLA had a winning streak of 47 games, which they took to the Astrodome in Houston. While there, the Bruins faced the Guy Lewis-led Houston squad in the Game of the Century. It was the first nationally televised college basketball game in the nation during the regular season.

46. UCLA was beaten by Houston 71–69. In an interview after the game, Wooden acknowledged that the team needed to start over. For the remainder of the year, UCLA was unbeaten and in the semi-final of the NCAA tournament, the team thrashed Houston 101–69 to get to the national championship.

John Wooden - The Wizard of Westwood.
John Wooden – The Wizard of Westwood. Image credit – Michael Li

47. It was during his stint with the Bruins that Wooden was dubbed “Wizard of Westwood,” a nickname he personally disdained. With UCLA, he achieved enduring fame by winning 620 games in 27 seasons, while capping 10 NCAA titles in his final 12 seasons.

48. Wooden was gifted a Bruin powder blue Mercedes to commemorate his retirement. Based on his own words, Wooden declined an offer from owner Jack Kent Cooke to serve as coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, which paid as much as 10 times what he was being paid by UCLA.

49. At a particular point in his career, his teams won a men’s basketball record of 88 consecutive games from the NCAA.

50. On six occasions, Wooden was appointed national coach of the year.

Remembering John Wooden
Remembering John Wooden. Image credit – Kaje

John wooden’s quotes

1. “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

2. “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.” 

3. “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” 

John Wooden's quote about quality
John Wooden’s quote about quality. Image credit – Next TwentyEight

4. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” 

5. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” 

6. “Passion is momentary; love is enduring.” 

7. “You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” 

8. “Friendship is two-sided. It isn’t a friend just because someone’s doing something nice for you. That’s a nice person. There’s friendship when you do for each other. It’s like marriage – it’s two-sided.” 

9. “Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.”

10. “Just try to be the best you can be; never cease trying to be the best you can be. That’s in your power.” 

11. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”

12. “Never mistake activity for achievement.” 

13. “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

14. “I think you have to be what you are. Don’t try to be somebody else. You have to be yourself at all times.” 

15. “The most important thing in the world is family and love.”

16. “I had three rules for my players: No profanity. Don’t criticize a teammate. Never be late.”

17. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”

18. “Make each day your masterpiece.“

19. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” 

20. “Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” 

21. “Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” 

22. “Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.”

23. “Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.” 

John Wooden's quote about character and reputation.
John Wooden’s quote about character and reputation. Image credit – EvelynGiggles

24. “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.”

25. “It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.” 

26. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”

27. “Well, if you’re true to yourself you’re going to be true to everyone else.” 

28. “There’s as much crookedness as you want to find. There was something Abraham Lincoln said – he’d rather trust and be disappointed than distrust and be miserable all the time. Maybe I trusted too much.” 

29. “Young people need models, not critics.”

30. “You can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. And you can win when you’re outscored.”

31. “Well, your greatest joy definitely comes from doing something for another, especially when it was done with no thought of something in return.”

32. “Just do the best you can. No one can do more than that.” 

33. “Be prepared and be honest.”

34. “Somebody asked me – you know, how come it took you so long to win a national championship? And I said, ‘I’m a slow learner; but you notice when I learn something, I have it down pretty good.” 

35. “When you hurry you’re more apt to make mistakes. But you have to be quick. If you’re not quick you can’t get things done.” 

36. “Ability is a poor man’s wealth.” 

37. “I worry that business leaders are more interested in material gain than they are in having the patience to build up a strong organization, and a strong organization starts with caring for their people.”

38. “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”

39. “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.” 

40. “It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”

41. “Love is the most important thing in the world. Hate, we should remove from the dictionary.” 

42. “Earn the right to be proud and confident.”

43. “Nothing will work unless you do.”

44. “It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.” 

45. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”

46. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” 

47. “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating…too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living they forget to make a life.”

48. “Tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember a story.”

49. “You can do more good by being good than any other way.” 

50. “Never lie, never cheat, never steal.”

51. “It is the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”

52. “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”

53. “Never try to be better than someone else. Learn from others, and try to be the best you can be. Success is the by-product of that preparation.”

54. “If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.”

55. “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.”

56. “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” 

57. “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” 

58. “Discipline yourself, and others won’t need to.”    

59. “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.”

60. “Listen if you want to be heard.”

61. “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”

62. “The best competition I have is against myself to become better.”

63. “All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.”

64. “I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.”

65. “Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.”

John Wooden – quick facts

NameJohn Robert Wooden
NicknamesWizard of Westwood
The Indiana Rubber Man
Born14 October 1910, Hall, Indiana, United States
Died4 June 2010, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, United States
ParentsFather: Joshua Hugh Wooden
Mother: Roxie Anna Wooden
WifeNellie Riley
(m. 1932–1985)
SiblingsDaniel Wooden
William Wooden
Maurice Wooden
Harriet Cordelia Wooden
ChildrenJames Hugh Wooden
and Nancy Anne Muehlhausen
Team coachedUCLA Bruins men's basketball (Head coach, 1948–1975)
Height1.78 m or 5 feet 10 inches
AwardsPresidential Medal of Freedom 2003
Sports Illustrated Sportsperson of the Year 1972
Naismith Outstanding Contributor to Men's Basketball 1983
Head coaching record664–162 (college basketball)
7–7 (college baseball)
Accomplishments and honorsAs player:
Helms and Premo-Porretta National championships (1932)
As head coach:

10× NCAA Champion (1964, 1965, 1967–1973, 1975)
12× NCAA Regional – Final Four (1962, 1964, 1965, 1967–1975)
15× Pac-12 champion (1950, 1952, 1956, 1962-1965, 1967-1975)
3× PCC Tournament champion (1953–1955)
Awards (as player)As player:
3× Consensus All-American (1930–1932)
Helms Player of the Year (1932)
Big Ten Medal of Honor (1932)
NBL scoring leader (1933)
All-NBL First Team (1938)
Basketball Hall of FameInducted in 1960 & 1973
College Basketball Hall of FameInducted in 2006
Books by John Wooden1. Wooden on Leadership: How to Create a Winning Organizaion
2. Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court
3. Coach Wooden's Pyramid of Success
4. Coach Wooden's Leadership Game Plan for Success: 12 Lessons for Extraordinary Performance and Personal Excellence
5. My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey
6. The Wisdom of Wooden: My Century On and Off the Court
7. Coach Wooden One-On-One
Official websitehttp://www.coachwooden.com/
Table last updated15/05/2021