The Sporting News is celebrating the birthday by sharing comments from Dan Guerrerro, Ben Howland and others provided during event honoring Coach as the greatest of all time. To commemorate the day, the LA Times posted 99 things about john Wooden. Some of the choice bullets include:
27. Wooden turned down an offer to coach the Lakers from owner Jack Kent Cooke that may have been 10 times what UCLA was paying him.
31. Another quote from Wooden: "The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team."
91. Another quote from Wooden: "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."
99. One more quote from Wooden: "Don't give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you."
You can read rest of it here.
UPDATE (N): Not surprisingly lot of coverage on this story today locally and nationally. The official site posted birthday wishes from the Big Red (whose piece to the Coach was published in the Daily News):
"I wanted to write and wish you the happiest of birthdays as you hit # 99 this year," Walton wrote. "Go for it all, Coach. You deserve the best and so much more. Bask in the glory and bathe yourself in the kindness and glowing warmth that is always coming your way.
"It is so neat that your birthday always immediately precedes the start of the basketball season--sort of the natural progression of things, I guess. Cake, song and laughter one day, practice the next. I remember vividly a couple of your recent birthday parties that I was most fortunate to be able to attend. I am well aware that you don't much care for this sort of thing---with all the attention and focus on you-- but the time at VIPS when Jamaal Wilkes had the birthday hat and party favors, and you got up to leave early because you were so embarrassed. We were gratefully able to drag you back to the breakfast table that day when we convinced you that if Jamaal had a hat on and was blowing a horn in the restaurant while we all sang Happy Birthday that it had to be all about the love that we have for you."
Later in his letter, Walton writes, "Coach, you gave us everything in your life that you had, including the gift of life itself. You always made it so much fun, it was always such a joyous celebration with you. And we want that celebration to roll on forever."
The Big Fella:
"Because of Coach Wooden's mentoring I have never felt uncomfortable being a scholar in addition to being an athlete," said Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the greatest player in the history of the game who starred on three NCAA championship teams and earned numerous NCAA Player of the Year and All-America honors playing for Coach Wooden. "The graduation rate of athletes who played for Coach Wooden is over 65%. You will not find a more successful accomplishment for any NCAA coach who has ran a program as long as Coach Wooden did. It is his most cherished achievement and he feels that his "boys" are the jewels in his crown. "I am very proud to be one of his `boys' and I want to wish him and his family thanks and congratulations for what they have accomplished and what they have meant to my life. Happy Birthday Coach. May Allah bless you and yours."
And Mike Warren:
"Having had him as a basketball coach, the experience was unparalleled. As my coach, I learned how to play basketball well, but as a friend and as an extraordinary example for me over the last 35 years or so, I have learned how to live my life better. He is uniquely special and is truly one of the great men in American History. I love him and I honor him by saying, Happy Birthday, Coach. There will never be another human being like you. May God continue shining His light on you."
Jill Painter from the Daily News has a write up on Coach's Birthday featuring quotes from Coach's daughter:
"We're just happy to have him. Every day with my dad is a gift," said Nan Muehlhausen, Wooden's daughter. "You never know what's going to happen, whether you're 99 or 29. Reaching 99 is special."
And Ben Howland:
"The greatest thing about Coach Wooden is that not only is he the greatest coach in the history of the sport, but he's equal to that as a person. He's probably the nicest person I've ever met. He's so giving and so unselfish of himself with his former players and family."
Painter almost ruins the piece by including quotes from Chetey Petey who shamelessly tries to claim a piece of UCLA's legacy (but whatever).
Lastly,ESPN's Rick Reilly had this sit down with the Coach: