John Wooden, one of three current Basketball Hall of Famers to be enshrined as both a player and a coach passed away Friday evening in California at the age of 99. Wooden, was inducted as a player with the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1961 and as a coach in 1973.
In a statement released by John L. Doleva, President & CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Doleva said, “Like the inventor of the game, James Naismith, John Wooden was a teacher, a mentor, a philosopher and a friend to all he met. He understood the very special nature of the game and motivated his players and his competition to be their very best on and off the court. He will be sadly missed by the entire basketball community but his life will be celebrated for its impact on both basketball and mankind.”
Wooden, born October 14, 1910 in Martinsville, Indiana played his college basketball at Purdue University where he earned the nickname “Indiana Rubber Man” for his suicidal dives on the court. He was a three-time Helms Athletic Foundation All-America from 1930-1932 and led Purdue to the 1932 National Championship. Prior to becoming the coach at UCLA, Wooden started his coaching at the high school level before moving on to Indiana State. While at UCLA, Wooden would lead the Bruins to four 30-0 seasons and 88 overall consecutive victories. The Bruins won 19 PAC 10 Championships and won 38 straight NCAA Tournament games. Under his guidance the Bruins would win ten National Championships including seven in a row and would compile a 149-2 home record. He was named the NCAA College Basketball Coach of the Year six times, The Sporting News Sports Man of the Year in 1970, and the Sports Illustrated Man of the Year in 1973. During his 40 years of coaching he compiled a 885-203 record.