Coaching legend John Wooden to headline May 17 event

For Immediate Release
May 5, 2000


Tom Craig, Director of Media and Community Relations
(915) 674-2692

Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden, who led UCLA to an unprecedented 10 national championships during his tenure, will be the keynote speaker at a May 17 luncheon at Abilene Christian University to recognize area coaches. ACU's Center for Building Community is sponsoring Wooden's visit to Abilene.

Dr. Gary McCaleb, executive director of the Center for Building Community, made the announcement Thursday at Abilene Christian University. The May 17 luncheon will be at ACU's Teague Special Events Center, starting at 11:45 a.m.

"Coaches play such a strong role in the fiber of every community. They are the men and women who work with our children on a daily basis, McCaleb said. "So many people today can look back and say what a tremendous influence one of their coaches had on their lives."

Tickets to the event can be purchased for $10 per person by calling (915) 674-2156. An eight-person table can be purchased for $75 by calling the same number. The deadline for purchasing tickets is noon on May 15. Seating is limited, and no tickets will be sold at the door.

"We'd like every coach in Abilene and the surrounding area to come out so we can thank them for molding our children," McCaleb said.

Wooden's name is legendary in coaching circles, not only for his commitment to winning, but also for his commitment to helping shape the lives of his players. Wins aside, most of his former players still credit him for being the major influence on their lives.

His style, thought to be out of date, created a dynasty, and it led his players to an uncommon devotion to their coach. One of his former African-American players was once asked about racial tensions on the team, and he responded by saying, "You don't know our coach. He doesn't see color. He just sees ballplayers."

And he saw plenty of good ones in his career, as Wooden's unparalleled record suggests.

Ten times between 1964 and 1975 Wooden led the Bruins to the national championship, including seven straight from 1967-1973. After a North Carolina State championship in 1974, Wooden closed out his magnificent career in 1975 when his team beat Kentucky, 92-85, in San Diego.

But the national championships tell only part of the Wooden coaching story.

Included in the string of seven straight championships is one of the most amazing win streaks in all of sports: 38 straight NCAA Tournament victories.

In addition, there is the all-time NCAA consecutive winning-streak record of 88 games over seasons, which included 30-0 seasons in 1971-72 and 1972-73. UCLA also won 149 of 151 games in Pauley Pavilion during his Bruin tenure.

Wooden is the only coach to compile four undefeated seasons of 30-0, and his Bruin teams captured 19 Pac-8 Conference championships.

He is also the only person to be inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach.

Now 89 years old, Wooden has been out of coaching for 25 years, but his career won-loss percentage of .813 (885 victories against just 203 losses) is unequaled. In 27 years as the Bruins' coach, Wooden's teams registered 620 wins and only 147 losses.

As a player at Purdue University, Wooden was a three-time all-America selection (1930-32) and in 1932 was named college basketball's "Player of the Year." He captained the Boilermakers to two Big Ten titles and the 1932 NCAA Championship.

Wooden was a six-time national Coach of the Year (1964, 1967, 1969, 1970, 1972 and 1973), was named the "Sports" Man of the Year by The Sporting News in 1970, was named the "Sportsman of the Year" by Sports Illustrated in 1973, and just last year was named the "Greatest Coach of the 20th Century" by ESPN.






*High School




Indiana State












*Wooden coached for two seasons at Dayton, Ky., High School and nine seasons at South Bend, Ind., High School. He then coached two seasons at Indiana State before becoming the UCLA head coach in 1957.

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If you are a member of the media who would like more information about this release, please contact Tom Craig, director of media and community relations, at or call 915-674-2692 (cell phone: 665-5469).

Last update: May 5, 2000
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