John Wooden, 1910 - 2010

Posted: Saturday, June 05, 2010 by Travis Cody in

John Wooden, legendary basketball coach, passed yesterday.  He was 99. 

There will be many articles written and programs produced to tell you about Coach Wooden's legacy in the sport of college basketball.  Today I just want to express my deep gratitude that my life was impacted by the man.

My respect and admiration for Coach is unlimited.  Not just because of his incredible legacy as a basketball coach, but also for his perspective and philosophy on life and what it means to be a man of integrity.

I never met Coach Wooden, but I learned so much from him.  Here are some of the things he said in the course of his life.

Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Be prepared and be honest. 

Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.  

Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.  

If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?  

Never mistake activity for achievement. 

Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.  

The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.  

What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player. 
Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.  

You can't let praise or criticism get to you. It's a weakness to get caught up in either one.

You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.  

Some of the influences in our lives are thrust upon us.  But we also get an opportunity to find and follow other influences.  I've been fortunate that I was exposed early and often to a man like John Wooden, even though that exposure was remote.

John Robert Wooden
14 October 1910 - 4 June 2010



  1. Rest in Peace Coach.

  1. Jeff B says:

    Wow, those are quotes of a wise man.

  1. Jeni says:

    Thanks so much Trav for posting this -especially all the quotes attributed to him. Any or all of them would be very wise words for all of us to emulate.

  1. Dianne says:

    those quotes are wonderful
    I knew very little about him other than he was loved and respected

    he has a kind face

    peaceful journey Coach

    lovely post Travis

  1. Anonymous says:

    Proper tribute, Trav! I think you shared some inspiring quotes - all worth taking to heart. I didn't know the Coach, but I heard about his death on the news. RIP . . .

  1. Words of wisdom from someone in his 99th year are not to be taken lightly.

    Here's my favorite from the quotes you shared, Travis:

    'If you don't have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?'

  1. Wonderful tribute. May he rest in peace.