Saying goodbye to Coach Wooden

It is difficult to write about Coach John Wooden in the past tense. We lost him last Friday at the age of 99. His record of 10 NCAA basketball championships (seven in a row) as head coach of the UCLA Bruins will never be broken.

John Wooden was not only the greatest college basketball coach of all time, he also was a sage off the court, especially about the tenets of leadership.

Here are some of my favorite life-lesson quotes from Coach Wooden:

  • “Make each day a masterpiece.”
  • “Ten hands make a basket.”
  • “All of life is peaks and valleys. Don-t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.”
  • “Learn as if you were to live forever, live as if you were to die to tomorrow.”
  • “Little things make big things happen.”
  • “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

The legacy of John Wooden is set in stone. He practiced what he preached. His impact on the business world matched his influence in college sports.

I was recently at a business conference held by one of America’s top brands. Coach Wooden and his leadership principles were referenced countlessly by the presenters.

Recently asked what he would like God to say when he arrived at the pearly gates, Coach Wooden replied, “Well done.”

Well done indeed.