Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Happy 99th Birthday, John Wooden!

I don't usually mention sports in an educational blog, However today is an exception. "The Wizard of Westwood," John Robert Wooden celebrates his 99th birthday. I have always admired Coach Wooden's approach to coaching and the life skills that he taught his players. Please read a few of the many valuable quotes that can be attributed to Coach Wooden over the past 99 years. Also, take a look at his "Pyramid of Success" and "12 Lessons in Leadership" at the end of this post.  Happy birthday Coach Wooden!

Official Sports Report: October 14, 2009
Commentary Exclusive to Oklahoma State OSR
by Todd Donoho

The greatest American coach in any sport is celebrating his 99th birthday this week. John Wooden was born on October 14, 1910, in southern Indiana.

Don’t take my word he is the greatest sports coach ever. ESPN recently polled coaches, athletes and media members to name the greatest sports coach ever. John Wooden was #1. Number two on the list was so far behind, it doesn’t even matter.

One of the great privileges of my life was getting to know Coach Wooden personally. I’ve sat and talked with him in his California condo. I have been honored to introduce him for numerous speaking engagements. He is the greatest sports figure I have ever interviewed, and I have talked with or interviewed many, if not most, of the top sports figures in the past 30 years.

Coach Wooden is also the greatest speaker I have ever heard. After you hear John Wooden speak, you become a better person. His wisdom is second to none. He can quote prose and poetry. He can quote Bible scriptures. His message is a message that everyone should hear. His “Pyramid of Success” should be on the wall of every classroom in America.

Here are some of Coach Wooden’s famous quotes that are 99 years in the making:

--You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.

--Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.

--There are many things that are essential to arriving at true peace of mind, and one of the most important is faith, which cannot be acquired without prayer.

--The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.

--The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.

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

--Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.

--Never mistake activity for achievement.

--It's what you learn after you know it all that counts.

--It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.

--If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

--Don't let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.

--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.

--Ability is a poor man's wealth.

--I'd rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.

After reading the above quotes, do you now wonder how Wooden’s UCLA teams won 10 national basketball championships in 12 years? Do you now wonder how his teams won 88 consecutive games? Do you wonder why he is considered the greatest American sports coach of all time?

I didn’t think so.

Happy Birthday Coach.

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