RIP: John Wooden, 1910-2010

The Wizard of Westwood, UCLA’s legendary (almost seems not appropriate enough) basketball coach, he of 10 college NCAA basketball championships, the first person enshrined in the basketball hall of fame as both a player and coach, passed away today at the age of 99.

He taught the team game and had only three hard-and-fast rules — no profanity, tardiness or criticizing fellow teammates. Layered beneath that seeming simplicity, though, were a slew of life lessons — primers on everything from how to put on your socks correctly to how to maintain poise: “Not being thrown off stride in how you behave or what you believe because of outside events.”

“What you are as a person is far more important that what you are as a basketball player,” was one of Wooden’s key messages.

If only more college coaches and people were like John Wooden.

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