There have been volumes and volumes written on legendary UCLA men’s basketball Coach John Wooden…..but in this little ole Chiweenie’s opinion….more should be written about the man….for what comprised his very being…..was that of which develops greatness…..for as a coach and as a teacher of men….he came from the highest order of coaches and teachers….cuz all you have to do is take the time and listen to what Coach Wooden has to say….just on this video…..for if you truly listen….and take it to heart….these lessons will carry you throughout the balance of your life.
When Coach is talking about Sidney Wickes….a 6′ 8″ power forward….guarding Jacksonville University’s 7′ 4″ center Artimus Gilmore…..who had a 17 year professional career from 1971 to 1989….and you will get a clear glimpse of Coach Wooden wisdom….yep, a great example of wisdom and courage….and delivered in such an unassuming way. The truth in the world throughout my life…..is the fact that too little people exercise wisdom and courage….much less in a way that the viewer sees that it brings him great joy to believe in the abilities of other people and how they think.
John Wooden’began coaching at UCLA in 1948….and for the first 17 years…..the team practiced in an old warehouse gym….and Wooden swept floors…..and in the early 1960’s he lured a true magician with the basketball to play for him at UCLA….and the legend began….as Hazzard led teams won the national championship in 1964 and 1965,,,,but in 1966, a small school in El Paso, TX known then as Texas Western College….which would later become UTEP….had a coach named Don Haskins….that somehow recruited 5 black kids from 5 metropolitan big cities to come to far West Texas in sunny El Paso….on the Mexican border across from Juarez, MX….and although a medium-large city (large for West Texas)….but certainly not metropolitan….and to play college basketball. Now, just between you and me….that is a recipe for a rich Texas Western College oil man’s or ranch baron’s way of reaching out to the fellas from the big cities in the big cities….and make El Paso look a little more enticing….anyway, Coach Haskins (a Hall of Fame coach) led his Miners with all five starters being black…..to the 1966 National Championship over the University of Kentucky….an all while player perineal NCAA powerhouse….and interrupted Coach Wooden’s string of two titles in a row.
Then came the Lew Alcindor (became Kareem Abdule-Jabbar upon turning pro) era at UCLA….and in 1967….the team of Lew Alcindor, Mike Warren, Lynn Shackleford, Lucious Allen and Kenny Heith strung together 44 straight victories through 1967 and deep into the 1968 season….until that night in the Astrodome in Houston, TX…..where the highly anticipated and hugely watched televised game between the UCLA Bruins vs Houston Cougars…..where they met a Guy V. Lewis team loaded with the Big E….Elvin Hayes. Coach Wooden would later say….”it was one of the great individual nights that he had ever seen” in Wooden words about Elvin Hayes…..as he led his Cougars with 39 points to defeat the Bruins…..ending their win streak. However, in a typical Wooden coached team fashion….when they met again in the NCAA tournament….UCLA put a beat-down on Big E and the Cougs….having a 44 pt lead in the 2nd half. Hall of Fame Houston Coach Guy V Lewis called it “the greatest exhibition of basketball he had ever seen”
This video is priceless to me….as I hold Coach Wooden in the highest of places in my thoughts and actions.