UCLA coaching legend Wooden dies at 99

THE SPORTS NETWORK

, Last Updated: 11:28 PM ET

Los Angeles, CA - Legendary UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden passed away Friday at the age of 99.

The time of death was 9:45 p.m. (et) of natural causes. His 100th birthday would have been Oct. 14.

Wooden coached the Bruins from 1948-1975 and claimed 10 national championships over a 12-season stretch, including a record seven straight from 1967 to 1973. The Bruins also put together an incredible streak of 88 straight victories from 1971-1974. He also had four perfect 30-0 seasons and at one point won 38 consecutive games in the NCAA Tournament.

During his time with the Bruins, Wooden provided guidance for future NBA talent such as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Jamaal Wilkes, Sidney Wicks and Marques Johnson.

"This is a sad day at UCLA," said UCLA chancellor Gene Block. "Coach Wooden's legacy transcends athletics; what he did was produce leaders. But his influence has reached far beyond our campus and even our community. Through his work and his life, he imparted his phenomenal understanding of leadership and his unwavering sense of integrity to so many people."

A long and successful coaching career for the Indiana native began back in 1932 at Dayton High School in Kentucky. He moved on to a bigger profile high school job at South Bend Central High School in Indiana, where he also coached baseball and tennis. His first foray into the college ranks came with Indiana State.

Yet, his legacy remains the Wizard of Westwood.

"There will never be another John Wooden," said UCLA director of athletics Dan Guerrero. "While this is a huge loss for the Bruin family, Coach Wooden's influence reaches far beyond Westwood. Coach was a tremendously significant figure. This loss will be felt by individuals from all parts of society."

He was the first person to become a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach. He amassed 620 victories and his teams won 19 conference championships during his decorated tenure.

Born in Martinsville, Indiana on October 14, 1910, Wooden went on to graduate from Purdue University in 1928. As a player, he helped lead the Boilermakers to the 1932 national championship. He came to be known as the "Indiana Rubber Man" for his suicidal dives and ability to bounce back after a physical play on the court.

He also spent many years playing professional ball while teaching and coaching at the high school level. Wooden, who played in the National Basketball League, was enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1960 and as a coach in 1973.

Wooden was a lieutenant in the Navy from 1943 to 1946. He then taught at Indiana Teachers College, now called Indiana State. He coached for two seasons at the school and incredibly never had a losing season there or at UCLA.

Wooden concluded his 40 years as a head coach, high school and college, in 1975 with an 885-203 overall record (a percentage of .813), which is unmatched. He went 620-147 at UCLA. Even more amazing, UCLA won 149 of 151 games in Pauley Pavilion during his Bruin tenure.

Wooden's "Pyramid of Success" is still used by several coaches across the country and also in business. Wooden identified 25 behaviors he believed were necessary to achieve his idea of success, building from loyalty, cooperation and enthusiasm, all the way to the top of the pyramid - competitive greatness.


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