UCLA basketball coach John Wooden dies at age 99

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Tuesday, June 8, 2010

John Wooden at his 96th birthday ceremony in a black suit with a yellow flower attached on the left with UCLA printed cloth hanging behind him.
John Wooden at his 96th birthday ceremony.

Basketball coach John Wooden died at the age of 99 on Friday of natural causes.

Born in 1910, Wooden was the first person to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player (1961) and a coach (1973). Wooden played both college and professional basketball. He helped lead Purdue to the 1932 National Championship. After serving in the United States Navy as a lieutenant for three years in World War II, Wooden first coached at Indiana Teacher's College from 1946 to 1948.

In 1948 Wooden became the coach at UCLA. There he immediately turned a failing team into Pacific Coast Conference (PCC) Southern Division Champions. His 27 seasons with UCLA culminated in 10 NCAA titles in his last 12 seasons, including a record seven in a row from 1967 to 1973.

Spurning a lucrative offer to coach the Los Angeles Lakers to remain at UCLA, Wooden stepped down in 1975 following a final NCAA championship winning season. Following his retirement Wooden embarked in a second career as an motivational speaker and author, becoming known for his "Pyramid of success", a philosophy in which synergistic behaviours reinforce each other to create success in life and basketball.

Wooden leaves behind a son James Hugh Wooden, and daughter, Nancy Anne Muehlhausen. His wife Nellie (Nell) Riley pre-deceased him in 1985 after 53 years of marriage.

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