Wooden a good one!

Posted by Andy Durham on June 7, 2010 at 4:17 pm under College | 4 Comments to Read

One of the good guys, that was Coach John Wooden(who died over the weekend at age 99), and they were talking about the coach on the Jim Rome Show today and the comments were good from Bill Walton, Kareem Abdul Jabbar(Lew Alcindor), Gail Goodrich, Kobe Bryant, Doc Rivers and others….

One man, very close to the UCLA basketball program, said that is very rare to have a person quite like Coach Wooden pass your way in life, and that we won’t see anyone like him come through in our lifetimes again…..You only see one man, such as Wooden, and he has come and gone……

I would like to hear what Dick Enberg is saying about all this……He was with the “Wizard of Westwood”, back in the 60’s and 70’s when the Bruins were winning those 10 NCAA basketball titles and Dick Enberg could tell us something about the legendary coach, John Wooden….

Wooden was a good one and as Bill Walton said over the weekend, “Coach Wooden showed us how to do it and now it is up to us to go out and get the job done”…….


  • Bob Lowe said,

    I grew up in Whittier, CA– 30 miles from UCLA. An uncle turned me onto UCLA basketball at age 9. I was hooked. The home game used to be replayed at 10 p.m. and I never missed a game.

    John Wooden’s teams were disciplined and efficient: The Bruins’ press could turn a close game into a blowout in an instant. More importantly, his teams won with class.

    When Austin Carr and Notre Dame ended a winning streak in 1971, I was shattered. My family still reminds me today that I cried after that defeat.

    I was upset when the Irish stopped an 88-game streak in 1974, but by then I was able to hold back the tears. Later that year, UCLA blew a big lead to NC State in the NCAA semifinals here in Greensboro.

    Wooden’s Pyramid of Success and inspirational quotes touched so many of us–and not just basketball fans. Respect, personal responsibility, humility, hard work, self- satisfaction: classic Wooden attributes, which resonate in 2010 as much as they did back in the day.

    Although Wooden despised the name “Wizard of Westwood,” the man was a giant in Southern California and beyond. He may have chosen coaching as a profession, but saw himself as a teacher.

    If John Wooden had opened a ministry, I would’ve been the first at his church door.

  • Andy said,

    It was unreal the talent that they had out there back in the days….

    Curtis Rowe, Sidney Wicks, Keith “Silk” Wilkes, Ralph Drollinger, Henry Bibby, Swen Nater, Gail Goodrich, Terry Driscoll, Alcindor, Walt Hazzard, and it Walt that later coached the team at some stage, Wooden’s infamous assistant Gary Cunningham and the names go on and on….

    I remember when Swen Nater got to the ABA and he was unbelieveable after backing up Walton most of the time in college…..Nater was All-ABA with the San Diego Conquistadores and he later on did very well in the NBA too….The big man could score and he was one heck of a rebounder too…Nater played some at forward when he got a chance in college and he rebounded there too, but he still didn’t play a ton because Walton was there…Nater was a 14 rebound per game man in the ABA….But it was like, Joe Ferguson being Steve Yeagar’s backup or Bill Plummer backing up Johnny Bench…Walton had the spot and Nater had to wait till he got to the pros to show what he could do and it was almost the same thing for Ralph Drollinger…

    I spoke with both Drollinger and Nater a few years back in a phone conversation and they were good guys….

  • Bob Lowe said,

    Andy,

    Truly impressed with your Bruin knowledge!

    The fans and media got their wish as Nater and Walton played together, but only on a few occasions for a few minutes. They were both true centers.

    I’ll throw a few more names out there: Pete Trgovich, Andre McCarter, Larry Farmer, Gavin Smith, Terry Schofield, Marques Johnson, Richard Washington and Brett Vroman.

    Don’t forget Wooden was most proud that all of his players graduated and were successful–not just in hoops–after leaving Westwood.

  • Andy said,

    Bob, I was thinking about another former Bruin last night and was wondering if he played for Coach Wooden.

    That would be Dave Meyers and his sister Anne played for the Bruins and later married former Dodgers pitcher Don Drysdale, who died early…..

    I believe Anne got drafted by the Indiana Pacers of the NBA as a lark pick, but I may be wrong about that…

    I still to this day was surprised that Gary Cunningham did not get the first shot at the job after Coach Wooden stepped down and they gave the spot to Gene Bartow and after a few other guys held the seat they finally let Gary have his turn, but by then the conditions just were not right for Cunningham…..