The most respected elder in sports was described as a teacher of instilling spiritual and inspirational messages, which transcended beyond sports and sharpened the intellect of athletes who were willing to accept unsolicited advice from the late John Wooden.

At the age of 99, he was the strongest and active man, still impacting the lives with his famous principles and direction that brightened the minds of young lives to educate and influence young athletes.

The death of an idolized legend, which touched lives with his consequential discipline and teaching methods, symbolizes the lost of a man who believed and advocated the meaning of integrity and success. His religious theories instructed and cultivated the lives of student athletes, liberal in helping young people accomplish dreams and fulfill prosperity.

We all mourn the death of Wooden, the admirable man with a contiguous and untouchable legacy engraving a piece of eminence and will always live within the hearts of former players and alumni’s, including student athletes who never were privileged to learn from the voice of a wise man amongst an era when he coached collegiate basketball. It’s worth considering that we are lamenting the death of a man who insisted that he was a teacher more than a college basketball coach, and won 10 national championships, seven consecutive from 1967 and 1973, and garnered an 88-game winning streak, along with four 30-0 seasons.

He was still blessed to have the strength and independence of writing love letters after his wife, Nellie, died of cancer in 1985. Ever since her death, he never recovered and wrote love letters often as a way to express sanity and vent about his wife’s lost. But now, he has departed for the heavens after withstanding longevity and having exuberance as an elderly man, with a shrewd mind to still offer wisdom and ingenuity.

He was born on October 14, 1910 in Hall, Indiana, where he was raised as a humbled and selfless gentleman, only later to coach a renowned program in collegiate sports. Eternally, he’ll be remembered and greatly appreciated for his famous principles, called the “Pyramid of Greatness,” a phrase no longer discovered in an indiscipline or muddle generation, indifferent of the useful concepts that emphasized the priorities of a priceless life.

His inspirational structure was humane, constituted from his father’s kindhearted and accessible advice. “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books—especially the Bible—build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.” From his father’s advice, Wooden was devoted and shared his moral knowledge in a wealthy environment in Los Angeles. In addition, he eluded the rural livings of Indiana and traveled to California, harvesting as the greatest legend to thrive at UCLA with his methodological and spiritual beliefs.

This is a notable explanation to why he’ll always be greatly appreciated and hallowed, not only for the unbelievable championship streaks, but for uplifting one of the most recognized schools and translating the culture of college hoops. He exposed proper beliefs for achieving and reaching a pinnacle in goals, touching the lives of Bill Walton, Marques Johnson, Jamaal Wilkes, and Lucious Allen, and the spacious campus of UCLA when he was hired in 1948 for a yearly salary of $6,000. He never took the word “student” out of student athlete, but emphasized discipline and molded his players with his pleasant and diplomatic standards, which resulted in his first National Championship at UCLA in 1964.

There was Jerry West, the one legend who expressed his thoughts eloquently. “Forget his accomplishments, he’s a great man,” said West. “He was one of the greatest men I’ve ever been around in my life. He was more than just a basketball coach.”

It’s perfectly fine to suggest that he transcended more than just college sports, but was the most essential individual in basketball and all of sports in general. Yes, it’s fair to admit that his name is greater than James Naismith. As a beloved coach, he touched and taught many people in Southern California, where he stood as the superior voice near the beach and where the sun beams. Back in 1948, he drove with Nell and the kids to Southern California, admired and revered by most people for his incredible and savvy coaching.

Winner of 10 titles in 12 years will be remembered as one of his greatest and memorable accomplishments. That said, he’ll never be unrecognizable with all the astounding memories, such as when he rode a 75-game winning streak and two national titles in the season. Amid an indescribable streak, Walton, the hippie and a star player who wore long hair and a brushy beard and had returned for his senior season, after he had deeply admired and idolized Wooden, who was unmatched and won 10 NCAA titles between 1964-1975.

Therefore, he’s acknowledged as the greatest college basketball coach ever, after he died Friday night of natural causes. It’s not easy to win an unprecedented 10 National Championships and achieve his brilliant conquest at a storied program during the turbulence in the 60s and 70s when the U.S. was at war and bearing a horrendous crisis.

He was a religious, conservative, and intelligent man, but more than anything a great teacher.


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