Monday, June 7, 2010

Life Lived Well, Basketball, and Coach John Wooden

It takes 10 hat.
UCLA basketball coach (for 27 years)--the legendary John Wooden died at Friday (June 4) of natural causes at the age of 99. He would have turned 100 on Oct. 14. This guy was known for authentic caring, integrity, and all the good stuff. Wooden was the first person (one of only two) inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.  Everyone speaks of him in superlatives. (One person lamenting the loss on TV stated that he inspired greatness and was the very best "without every bullying or using filthy language." (The fact that this is mentioned tells of of the current state of things.)

I liked the comment one sportscaster made, that Coach Wooden's teams were the last which used the bank shot. You  know I am a fan of the bank shot; it is the humble shot with the best mathematical probability.

In a statement from the university: "This is a sad day at UCLA," said 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. His 'Pyramid of Success' (see below)  hangs in my office to remind me every day of what it takes to be an effective leader. He was truly a legend in his own time, and he will be a legend for generations to come."

Bill Walton said, " "The joy and happiness in Coach Wooden's life came from the success and accomplishments of others. He never let us forget what he learned from his two favorite teachers, Abraham Lincoln and Mother Theresa, "that a life not lived for others is not a life."

an interesting site:
(click to read more: Among the accolades :
 "Coach Wooden never tired of telling us that once you become a good person, then you have a chance of becoming a good basketball player."
 "He was known for reciting his father's "two sets of three" -- "never lie, never cheat, never steal" and "don't whine, don't complain, don't make excuses" -- and a "seven-point creed," also passed along by his father. The point Wooden used most in his coaching, he said, was "make each day your masterpiece." Still, Wooden was probably best known for his famed "Pyramid of Success," which he began developing in the 1930s. He said that it was "the only truly original thing I have ever done."
At the base of the five-level pyramid are industriousness, friendship, loyalty, cooperation and enthusiasm. The next levels up are self-control, alertness, initiative and intentness; condition, skill and team spirit; and poise and confidence. At the pinnacle is competitive greatness, which he defined as performing at one's best ability when one's best is required, which, he said, was "each day." 
"Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable," Wooden once said in explaining the pyramid. Wooden also promoted his "12 Lessons in Leadership," including Lesson 11: Don't look at the scoreboard. But while Wooden was high-minded in his approach to coaching, he also was practical. He famously began each season with a coaching session on dressing properly that included showing his players how to put on their shoes and socks the right way. 
"This is a game played on your feet," he said. "If you get blisters, you can't play the game."

12 lessons in leadership

Whenever a man of integrity leaves the planet, i always wonder if the balance is tipped too heavily; are there men of great humility, wisdom and integrity to take his place?

1 comment: