June 4, 2010
A look at the life of John Wooden:
1910- Born in Martinsville, Ind.
1927-29 – Leads Martinsville H.S. to one Indiana state title and two runner-up finishes, earning all-state honors all three seasons.
1930-32 – Wins letters in basketball and baseball his freshman year at Purdue and earns All-America honors from 1930-32. He captained the Boilermakers in 1931 and 1932 and led them to two Big Ten titles and the 1932 national championship.
1932 – Wooden is awarded the Big Ten medal for outstanding merit and proficiency in scholarship and athletics.
1932 – Marries Nell Riley and accepts a teaching and coaching position at Dayton (Ky.) H.S. His first team goes 6-11, the only losing record Wooden ever has as a player or coach.
1934- Coaches basketball, baseball and tennis and teaches English at South Bend Central H.S. He finishes his 11-year prep coaching career with a 218-42 record.
1943-46 – Serves as a Lieutenant in the Navy during World War II.
1943 – Wooden is selected to the all-time All-American Basketball team by the Helms Athletic Foundation.
1946 – Following his discharge from the service, Wooden accepts position as athletic director and basketball and baseball coach at Indiana Teachers College, now known as Indiana State. His first team won the Indiana Collegiate Conference and received an invitation to the NAIB tournament in Kansas City, but Wooden, who had a black player on his team, refused the invitation because the NAIB had a policy banning African Americans. The rule was changed the next year, and Wooden led Indiana State to another conference title.
1948 – Accepts position as head basketball coach at UCLA.
1960 – Inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.
1964 – Wins the first of his 10 national titles at UCLA with a 98-83 win over Duke. The Bruins post the first of four 30-0 seasons under Wooden.
1964 – Inducted in the inaugural class of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.
1965 – Pauley Pavilion is opened and Wooden recruits New York City big man Lew Alcindor to play at UCLA. Alcindor, who changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after graduation, leads the Bruins to three national titles and just two losses over three seasons.
1966 – UCLA wins the first of a record seven straight NCAA titles.
1967 – Wins the first of a record five AP coach of the year awards.
1969 – Martinsville names a street and the high school gymnasium after Wooden.
1973 – Inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach, the first person inducted in more than one category.
1973 – UCLA ends its run of consecutive NCAA championships and saw its record of 38 straight NCAA tournament wins.
1973 – Is named Sportsman of the Year by “Sports Illustrated.”
1974 – The Bruins’ record 88-game winning streak is snapped with a 71-70 loss at Notre Dame.
1975 – Announces after 75-74 NCAA semifinal win over Louisville that he is retiring after 27 seasons as head coach at UCLA. After winning the 10th national title under Wooden with a 92-85 win over Kentucky, Wooden’s overall career record stood at 885-203, including 620-147 at UCLA. His record in 12 Final Four appearances was 21-3.
1977 – The John Wooden Award is presented for the first time to the national player of the year, UCLA’s Marques Johnson.
1985 – Nell Wooden dies after 53 years of marriage.
1985 – Is presented the Bellarmine Medal of Excellence. He is the first sports figure to be honored following such winners such as Mother Teresa and Walter Cronkite.
1994 – Inducted into GTE/Academic All-America Hall of Fame.
1995 – Presented with NCAA’s Theodore Roosevelt Sportsman Award.
2002 – Elected as a charter member of the Pac-10 Hall of Honor.
2003 – Presented the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the country’s highest civilian honor, at the White House.
2003 – UCLA names the court at Pauley Pavilion after John and Nell Wooden.
2009 – Wooden is selected as the “Greatest Coach in American Sports History” by “The Sporting News.” Former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi was second in the voting of a 118-member panel with Alabama football coach Bear Bryant third, the NBA’s Phil Jackson fourth and pro football’s Don Shula fifth.