John Wooden, the greatest coach in the history of college sports, has passed away at 99 years of age. The Wizard of Westwood passed away Friday night of natural causes at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, according to UCLA.
Wooden’s children released a statement shortly after his death, saying:
He has been, and always will be, the guiding light for our family.
The love, guidance and support he has given us will never be forgotten. Our peace of mind at this time is knowing that he has gone to be with our mother, whom he has continued to love and cherish.
Wooden lead UCLA to an amazing 10 NCAA championships in men’s basketball, including an unbelievable streak of seven straight from 1967-1973. He also coached the UCLA team which set an NCAA record with 88 consecutive wins, a streak that still stands to this day.
His coaching career spanned 27 years, in which he won 620 games and coached the likes of Bill Walton and Lew Alcindor, who later became Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, two of the greatest players in NCAA history.
Wooden is currently the only person in history to be inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame as a player and a coach and is known for his “Pyramid of Success” which has become a model to follow for not only basketball coaches, but businesspeople nation wide.
While other college programs were teaching complicated systems for their players to run, Wooden kept to a simple team game and held his players to only three basic rules. He expected his players to never curse, never be late, and never criticize a teammate.
Wooden will forever be remembered as a man who not only taught his players lessons on the court, but taught everyone around him lessons off of it. The Wizard will be sorely missed.
Belal Abdelfattah is BSO’s newest writer and comes from a long background in sports writing at the Sports Authority Blog and The Block Radio. You can follow Belal on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/belal_a