I do not know of anyone who did not have great respect for John Wooden. Coach Wooden was not a controversial figure; his quote, “Make each day your masterpiece” is something that I have written on a piece of paper on my desk. When I give speeches, I tell my audiences that by studying inspirational messages like that of Coach Wooden, in time, you will live them and they will become a part of you.
Coach Wooden did a 20 year study on what one phase of basketball was the most important to winning games. Going into the study, Coach thought it might be defense or rebounding. The study revealed it was “shot selection.”
John Wooden’s most famous protege was Hall of Fame Coach, Denny Crum. Denny played for Coach Wooden at UCLA and was an assistant there before taking the head coaching job at Louisville.
I covered some Louisville basketball games for CBS and AP Radio and always enjoyed listening to Coach Crum speak about Coach Wooden. Denny spoke of the physically demanding practices Coach Wooden had and how meticulous Coach Wooden was since he took notes about every practice.
Coach Wooden had great players. Lew Alcindor(Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) and Bill Walton are at the top of the list. For all the success that John Wooden had, I admired the fact that he always talked about the importance of having good players. Some coaches egos get so big that they think it is all about them.
Coach Wooden’s players respected his calm demeanor. He felt that since he was calm his players wouldn’t panic when they fell behind in games.
With the New Year beginning and with many of us making resolutions, let’s do our best to, “Make each day our masterpiece” in both our professional and personal lives.