We’ve all read hundreds of features and columns about John Wooden’s career, but sometimes, all the adjectives and vivid descriptions aren’t enough.
So let the numbers do the talking for UCLA’s legendary men’s basketball coach.
- Wooden won 10 NCAA tournament titles, all in a 12-year span. No other coach has more than four.
- UCLA won seven of those in a row, from 1967-73. No other team has won more than two straight.
- The Bruins’ 88-game win streak from 1971-74 and 38-straight NCAA tournament games from ’64-74 are both NCAA records. For good measure, UCLA also had streaks of 47- and 41-straight wins. (San Francisco is second with 60 consecutive wins; Duke won 13 straight tournament games.)
- He never had a losing season.
- Wooden had four unbeaten seasons. No other coach has more than one.
- He won 80.4 percent of his games (664-162) during 29 seasons, which ranks third all-time, behind Clair Bee and Adolph Rupp.
- He was the first person in the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and coach. (He was a star at Purdue. During one 46-game stretch, he made 134 consecutive free throws.)
And, some fun facts from this L.A. Times story, “99 Things about John Wooden“
- His top salary while coach at UCLA was $35,000.
- At UCLA, Wooden became known as the “Wizard of Westwood,” though he disliked the nickname.
- Inclement weather in Minnesota prevented Wooden from receiving the scheduled phone offer from the Golden Gophers. Thinking they had lost interest, Wooden accepted UCLA’s offer instead.
- Perhaps most telling is this final stat. Think about this the next time a coach “can’t win the big one”: He coached 15 seasons at UCLA before winning his first NCAA championship.
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