John Wooden, the legendary Wizard of Westwood, passed away today at the age of 99. The long time UCLA coach still has the record of 10 National Championships as a coach, including seven in a row, and eight straight final fours, also records, plus the one he won as a player at Purdue, where he was a multi-time All-American. The Bruins also won 88 straight games from 1972 thru 1974, still a record.
Wooden was 620-147 in his 27 seasons with UCLA, and 885-203 in his career, including 47 NCAA tournament games, an .813 overall winning percentage that also remains unequaled.
Nestor at Bruins Nation has all the details.
I learned how the game of basketball watching the teams Wooden and then Ralph Miller put on the floor, where ideas like being able to shoot, rebound, run, and play defense were just assumed. So did an entire generation, and college basketball went to a whole new level, as a nation was forced to step up their game because of what the Bruins accomplished under Wooden's guidance.
True legends, the kind that change their game, don't come along that long, but Wooden not only was one, he trained a few more of them, most notably then Lew Alcindor, who became known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Walton.
While it was always a challenge to play UCLA, it was also a privilege, because it was a test against the best.
UCLA, the (then) Pac-8, and all of college sports, not just basketball, has truly lost a treasure.
Beaver Nation, Building The Dam, and Oregon St. join with our brothers and sisters across the conference in extending our condolences to the Wooden family, UCLA and Bruin Nation.