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We Will Always Call Him Coach

The October 1 edition of UCLA Magazine features a celebration of our beloved Coach John Wooden. The issue will hit mailboxes soon and you can access the online version now by going here.

The feature includes several articles covering the many aspects of Coach's unmatched legacy. These include stories from fellow coaches and players, thoughts on Coach's philosophies and how the Pyramid of Success transcends basketball to all areas of life, reflections on his writings and his outreach to teach children, and a reminder of his intense competitiveness.

To me, the most poignant article, Coaches on Coach, features comments from Wooden's peers in the profession.  Nothing can express the admiration and esteem for Coach like the words of those who follow him and are essentially competing against his legacy even today.   Duke basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski says:

He was as good as any coach ever at sharing his wisdom for basketball, for life and how the two were intertwined.

The comments from notables like Krzyzewski, Nebraska legend and current AD Dr. Tom Osborne, and many others, speak volumes.  It is one thing for a Bruin fan like me to feel this way.  It is another thing altogether to read these words coming from some of the most highly regarded people in the field.  We have seen so many leaders in all walks of life showing their respect and admiration for Coach, and this article wonderfully encapsulates the sentiment.   

Another beautiful article is written by women's gymnastics coach Valorie Kondos Field. It relates the first time she met Coach Wooden, thus beginning a long close relationship between the two champions.

I "nagged" him [husband Bob Field] for days to invite Coach Wooden to dinner. Bobby didn't want to, because he felt Coach must be hounded with constant invitations. I insisted, "He can always say, 'No, thank you.' " Coach indeed appreciated and accepted the offer.

Coach Kondos Field goes on to discuss what she learned from Wooden, and relates some of their final moments together.  Her closing paragraphs will move you to tears.

This issue is can't-miss reading, not just for any Bruin fan, but for anyone at all.  It seems like only yesterday we were in Pauley mourning the passing of our beloved Coach. This feature serves as an excellent reminder that Coach is not really gone.  Although the Seat 1, Row 2, Section 103B will always be empty, John Wooden's humanity and gifts and legacy will always remain.  Each article in the feature has outstanding pieces that can stand alone as testimony to Coach's greatness.  As a whole, they show us that Coach, above all, considered himself a teacher, and that all of us, regardless of our walk of life, are blessed to be his students.  We can continue to learn from him and be inspired by him every day.

Check out the issue for the ongoing tribute to our intergalactic treasure, as well as the many other excellent articles and news items from our University.