How to Be Like Coach Wooden: Life Lessons from Basketball's Greatest Leader
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John Wooden is an American icon. Since he announced his retirement thirty years ago, “Coach” remains one of our country's most popular and heroic figures. What John Wooden accomplished as basketball coach at UCLA will never be repeated—eighty-eight victories in a row, ten national championships—but what makes his legacy even more amazing is how he did it: with honor, integrity and grace. In his research for How to Be Like Coach Wooden, Pat Williams recounts well over 800 interviews. The result is an inspiring motivational biography about a great hero of basketball and one of the most amazing leaders in history. How to Be Like Coach Wooden is the next dynamic book in the How to Be Like "character biography" series, which focuses on drawing out important lessons from the lives of great men and women. In this book, readers will learn from Coach Wooden, a beacon of honesty, goodness and faith. Wooden cared about winning in basketball, but he cared more about winning in life.
About the Author
Pat Williams is senior vice president of the Orlando Magic and author of more than 40 successful books including 4 books in the How to Be Like series.
David Wimbish a creative supervisor for Russ Reid Company, an advertising agency in Pasadena, California he has written over 30 books on a variety of subjects. A long-time admirer of Coach Wooden, he and his wife live in La Verne, CA.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
BUILD ON A SOLID FOUNDATION
When the whirlwind passes by, the wicked is no more. But the righteous has an everlasting foundation.
If You Want to Be Like Coach: Be a Person of Character
It was his life that changed my life.
―Swen Nater, coached by Coach Wooden at UCLA
I have a problem. How do I even begin to sum up a giant of a man like John Wooden? That's the question that gnawed at me as I began working on this book.
How do I sort through thousands of wonderful stories about John Wooden and decide which ones don't make the final cut?
How do I even begin to tell you about the impact this incredible man has had on just about everyone who has had the privilege of knowing him?
Well . . . I could begin by telling you that John Wooden is one of only three people ever to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and a coach. (The other two are Lenny Wilkens and Bill Sharman.)
I could mention that he was a first-team All-American for three straight seasons at Purdue University in the early 1930s―the first college basketball player ever to receive such an honor.
I could start by telling you that he was the NCAA College Basketball Coach of the Year six times! But instead I think I'll start back in 1948.
That was the year a young coach by the name of Wooden had put together a pretty good basketball team at Indiana State University. That team included a young man by the name of Clarence Walker. Walker wasn't one of the starting five, but he came off the bench to help Indiana State win an invitation to the NAIA basketball tournament in Kansas City. Thirty-two teams were invited, and one of them would emerge as the small-college national champion.
But there was a problem.
Walker was black.
Remember that this was just the year after Jackie Robinson joined the Brooklyn Dodgers and was subjected to death threats and verbal abuse for breaking the 'color barrier' in Major League Baseball. Racism was rampant in Indiana and most of the rest of the nation.
Tournament officials called Wooden and told him that his team was invited, but Walker wasn't. 'We've never had a black person play on the Kansas City Municipal Auditorium floor,' they said―only they didn't say 'black person.'
Now that tournament was a big deal, especially to a young man just starting out in his coaching career. But John Wooden didn't even have to think about it.
'If I can't bring Clarence, we're not coming,' he said.
Fine. Indiana State was disinvited from th