Thursday, April 7, 2011
Coach Wooden by Pat Williams (with Jim Denney)
I love reading biographies/autobiographies of great leaders. I figure if I “do” what they did, I should “get” what they got (or at least close to it!). The reason I like to read biographies of athletic coaches (especially college coaches) is because I am a mother. I am the mother of a son who is NOW 27 years old. But there was a time when he was a very young 18 years old – heading off to college (WITHOUT ME!). I want to know as much as possible about the leaders given the privilege to influence the lives of our youth (even if they aren't mine!).
Not only did I learn a lot about the principles of Coach Wooden’s all-around success (The 7 Principles that shaped his life and will change yours), but I was inspired by the MAN/FATHER/LEADER he was. I also learned what an amazing basketball coach he was (for those who don’t follow college basketball, he coached the UCLA Bruins for twelve years – ten of which ended as NCAA National Champions-a record unmatched by any other coach in history! He was selected number one on the Sporting News "Fifty greatest coaches of all time in all sports") and the numerous men he influenced!
Without giving away his “principles”, I thought I would provide some quotes from the book that stood out to me.
Tony Dungy states:
“He didn’t just coach teamwork and preparation and strategy. He coached character and attitude and ideals.”
A poem that Coach Wooden popularized:
“Talent is God-given: be humble. Fame is man-given: be thankful. Conceit is self-given: be careful.”
“Coach Wooden didn’t just teach basketball-he taught life. He taught the fundamentals of good character, integrity, a strong work ethic, and teamwork-all the qualities necessary to success in life.”
“Though he was demanding and put his players through rigorous workouts, he was never personally demeaning, he never disciplined in anger, and he never used profane language.”
Pat Williams (the author) states:
As one of Coach’s former student managers told me, “Here’s the deal with John Wooden: There was only one of him. The John Wooden on the practice floor was the same John Wooden in the locker room. The John Wooden in the locker room was the same John Wooden on the campus. And the John Wooden on the campus was the same John Wooden at home.”
“After spending time with Coach Wooden, I always wanted to take my “game” to the next level. After being with him, I always wanted to ratchet up my faith, my prayer life, my integrity, and my wisdom. I wanted to be more like Coach. I wanted him to be proud of me. I wanted him to know how much he meant to me and how much he had impacted my life.”
And finally, what Coach John Wooden wrote about his father, Joshua Hugh Wooden (the man who made a huge impact on his life!):
“Joshua Hugh Wooden died long before the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) won a men’s college basketball championship. Do I wish he’s lived to see me coach a team to a national title? Yes, but it wouldn’t have mattered so much to him. His priorities were different. Material things and public notice meant little. Education was important. Family was important. Outscoring someone in a basketball game, even for a national championship, had much less significance. Dad lived long enough to see me accomplish what was important to him. Nevertheless, he was responsible for the things that happened to me as a coach. Therefore, it surprises people that I received hardly any basketball instruction from Dad-no tips on jump shots, free throws, or anything else. He seldom attended games and was only slightly interested in results. His concern and guidance were deeper.”
Another thing that impressed me about this amazing man/coach were the “truths” he shared over the course of his life. They became known as “Woodenisms.” As a matter of fact, there is an entire appendix dedicated to the most memorable maxims. I thought I would list a couple of my favorites:
Character - Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.
Praise and Criticism - You can’t let praises or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.
In closing, Coach would provide his principles to others - especially the youth he encountered. I think I am going to do the same thing! Watch out America-Coach Wooden LIVES ON!
Available February 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.