John Wooden dead at 99 - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

John Wooden dead at 99


Los Angeles - Basketball coaching legend and Indiana native John Wooden has died.

The former UCLA coach had reportedly been hospitalized since May 26, suffering from dehydration. He was 99.

 Wooden grew up in Martinsville, Indiana, and led Martinsville High School to the state basketball finals three years in a row. Wooden went on to become a star basketball player at Purdue University, leading the Boilermakers to a national title in 1932. He spent two years coaching at Indiana State University before becoming head coach at UCLA, leading them to 10 national titles between 1948 and 1975. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1960.

 Wooden was in Indianapolis a few years ago and talked with Eyewitness News about how his Hoosier values have contributed to his success.

 "I try to get across the idea that my dad tried to get across to me," he said. "Try to be yourself. Never try to be better than someone else, and never cease trying to be the best you can be. If you do that, you can always have peace with your heart. And if you don't have peace with your heart, you don't have much of anything.

"That's the idea I tried to get across as a teacher, and to all the people under my supervision. Just do the best you can do everyday. Nobody can do anymore than that."

Wooden still has many friends in central Indiana.

Bill Pfister has known Wooden for more than 50 years since his days at ISU and said they talked every few weeks. Pfister said Wooden's character was what set him apart.

"He comes from a Wooden tradition," Pfister said. "(At games) He always got a seat on the aisle and never refused an autograph. He wouldn't say anything bad about anybody.

"(As a coach) If a guy was out of line, he didn't discipline him in front of everyone, but after practice. He was good to them; he was strict with them, but still treated them right."

Wooden would have turned 100 years old in October.







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