John Wooden

A Coach's Life

By Seth Davis John Wooden is widely regarded as the best college basketball coach in history, winning 10 NCAA championships at UCLA.  He is unusual in that he is in the National Basketball Hall of Fame, both as a player and as a coach.  He was an outstanding high school player in Indiana, and then later at Purdue.  He eventually became the coach at UCLA, where he had outstanding success, including coaching Lew Alcindor and later Bill Walton.  Wooden died a few years ago at age 99, having had an incredible impact on the sports world and beyond.

Wooden was a strong believer who was devoted to his wife.  He is an excellent model of a man who was committed to his family, a man of integrity and character.

This is a well-written biography, probably the definitive biography of Wooden.  The author is favorable towards Wooden but doesn’t idolize him, and recognizes some of his flaws.  For example, Wooden could be way too hard on the referees, and many of his players had disappointing experiences with him.  This is a solid biography, though I couldn’t say it’s a great one.