John Wooden to speak at K-State

MANHATTAN, Kan.  ESPN has called John Wooden "the greatest coach ever in any sport, not just college basketball."

In a lecture sponsored by the Kansas State University athletic department and the president's office, Coach John Wooden will share his views on how to achieve life success. He will speak at 10:30 a.m., Wednesday, April 11, in McCain Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Wooden will discuss his "Pyramid of Success," which Coach Wooden calls his philosophical building blocks for winning at basketball and at life. He is author of several books on leadership and achieving success.

"We are delighted to bring Coach Wooden to speak at K-State," said President Jon Wefald. "With our emphasis on leadership, John is bringing insight into how leaders succeed. The president's office is partnering with the athletics department to bring him to K-State to share his message."

Wooden's lecture is part of the Leaders in Residence Program of K-State's Leadership Studies and Programs.

Wooden was the first of only three people named to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and as a coach. As an All-American player, he led Purdue to one national championship and two Big Ten Championships. As a coach, the "Wizard of Westwood" won 10 NCAA titles at UCLA during his tenure there from 1948-75, including seven consecutive (1966-73).

In 27 years as Bruin coach, his teams registered 620 wins, and only 147 losses while earning far more national honors than any other university. Wooden is the only coach to compile four undefeated seasons of 30-0 and his Bruin teams captured 19 conference championships.

Born in Martinsville, Ind., Oct. 14, 1910, Wooden attended high school there and won all-state prep honors in basketball three consecutive years, leading Martinsville High to the Indiana state title in 1927 and runner-up in 1926 and 1928. A street in Martinsville and the high school gymnasium bear his name.

At Purdue University, he won letters in basketball and baseball his freshman year and later earned All-American honors as a guard on the basketball team from 1930-32. He captained Purdue's basketball teams of 1931 and 1932 and led the Boilermakers to two Big Ten titles and the 1932 national championship.

Wooden's name was inscribed on Purdue's academic honor roll and he was awarded the 1932 Big Ten Conference medal for outstanding merit and proficiency in scholarship and athletics.

Shortly after graduating from Purdue in 1932, he began his teaching career at Dayton High School in Kentucky where he coached numerous sports. After two years, he returned to Indiana where he coached basketball, baseball and tennis at South Bend Central High School and taught English for nine years. His 11-year prep coaching record was 218-42.

World War II interrupted his coaching career as he served as a full lieutenant in the U.S. Navy from 1943-46. Following his discharge in 1946, he went to Indiana Teachers College (now Indiana State University) as athletic director, basketball and baseball coach for two seasons prior to moving to UCLA.