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John Wooden

Born: 1910-10-14 - Died: 2010-06-04
Cause of Death:
Natural Causes

Death Summary: Wooden was admitted to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center May 26th, 2010 for dehydration. He died later, June 4th, due to natural causes.

Who was John Wooden : John Wooden is a basketball legend, who's credentials as a coach are unmatched throughout the history of the sport. He boasts 10 national championships; the next in line on the men's side of the sport is Adolph Rupp and Mike Krzyzewski who've each won four. He was born in Hall, Indiana and would live in the state through his college career.

Mostly renowned for his coaching, Wooden was also an exemplary player. He played for Purdue University, and led the team to the 1932 national championship. He was named All-Big Ten and All-Midwestern from 1930-32. Wooden would be the first player to be named a three time All-American. Wooden would go on to play professionally, while also using his degree in English to teach.

Wooden's coaching career would begin in high school, for Dayton, Ky. His first year coaching would mark the only time in his career that he received a losing record (6-11). His collegiate coaching career would begin at Indiana State University, where along with duties as a coach he was the school's athletic director. During this time he worked towards his master's degree in education, and taught as well. In 1947, his team won the Indiana Collegiate Conference title and was invited to the NAIB National Tournament. He would decline the invite due to the NAIB banning African American players. As one of his own players was African American.

Following the 47-48 season, Wooden left for UCLA. In his first season, he turned around a 12-13 team, to a 22-7 record with a Pacific Coast Conference championship. In 1950, Wooden was close to leaving UCLA for an opening at Purdue. He decided against it, as he believed leaving before his contract expired was the same as going against his word.

In 27 seasons, Wooden accrued 620 wins, 10 NCAA titles, with seven of those titles coming in a row from 1967-73. He had four perfect seasons, and won 38 straight games in the NCAA tournament.

Off the court, Wooden was known as a very devout christian. He never made more than $35,000 a year, and not once during his tenure at UCLA asked for a raise. Wooden would turn down a coaching role with the Los Angeles Lakers, who were offering to pay him ten times what UCLA paid. After coaching, Wooden became a well renowned motivational speaker. Numerous corporations, and schools would seek him out to speak.

Wooden's honors are too numerous to list. He has many courts, rec centers, and other buildings named in his honor. The most notable being Nell & John Wooden Court, in Pauley Pavilion where the UCLA Bruins play. Wooden requested his wife's name come first, as he believed his wife always came first in his life. In 2003, Wooden received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor possible.

John Wooden is survived by his son, James and daughter, Nancy.
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