PURDUE UNIVERSITY MEN'S BASKETBALL: Wooden remembered
Sunday, June 06, 2010 8:01 PM
WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue University and the college basketball world lost one of their pillars on Friday with the passing of the iconic John Wooden. The legendary player and coach passed away on Friday night in Los Angeles.
"All of us at Purdue, past and present, are immensely saddened by the death of John Wooden, and we send our deepest regrets to his loved ones and friends," Purdue president France A. Córdova said. "Coach Wooden has been a member of the Purdue family since he studied and played here eighty years ago. He lived a life of true leadership, steady and amazing excellence, and unfailing kindness to others. There was no one like Coach Wooden. He leaves a lasting imprint."
The first person to be enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach, and one of only three to do so, Wooden took up the game that would later rename its collegiate player of the year award after him in 1918.
After his family moved from Centerton to Martinsville when Wooden was 14, he led Martinsville High School to a state title in 1927 and runner-up finishes in 1926 and 1928. He was a three-time all-state selection.
Following high school, Wooden enrolled at Purdue and continued to craft his legend under Lambert's guidance. He wasted no time in winning his first championship at the collegiate level, averaging 8.9 points per game to lead the Boilermakers to the 1930 Big Ten title and earn the first of his three-straight consensus All-America honors.
With an average of 12.2 points per game in his senior season, Wooden led Purdue to a 17-1 record , a Big Ten crown and, most importantly, the lone national championship in program history. In his final game, Wooden equaled his own single-game scoring record with 21 points in a 53-18 win over Chicago that wrapped up the national title.
Wooden was named National Player of the Year and earned his third-consecutive consensus All-America honor in 1932, becoming the first three-time consensus All-American in college basketball history. Wooden was also a three-time first-team All-Big Ten and All-Midwestern selection during his time with the Boilermakers.
After coaching high school basketball for 11 years, he enrolled in World War II.
Following his discharge in 1946, Wooden went to Indiana Teachers College (now Indiana State University), as athletic director, basketball coach and baseball coach for two years.
After the 1947-48 season, Wooden negotiated a three-year contract to take over as head coach at UCLA, where he became widely regarded as the greatest coach the game has ever seen.
During his tenure with the Bruins, Wooden became known as the "Wizard of Westwood" and gained lasting fame with UCLA by winning 620 games in 27 seasons. His last dozen seasons in Westwood saw Wooden win 10 NCAA titles, including seven in a row from 1967-73. His UCLA teams posted four perfect 30-0 seasons, had a record 88-game winning streak, won 38-straight NCAA Tournament games and produced a record 98-game home winning streak. UCLA was 149-2 at Pauley Pavilion during Wooden's tenure with the Bruins.
Wooden was named National Coach of the Year in 1964, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 and 1973. He finished his collegiate coaching career with a 664-162 (.804) record, including a 620-147 (.808) mark at UCLA.
Wooden was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1961 and a coach in 1973, becoming the first person ever to be enshrined in the hall in both capacities.