John Wooden came about as close to sainthood as one can get without sprouting wings. On June 4, 2010, the former UCLA coaching legend passed away, taking with him 99 years of wisdom.
I never got the chance to meet Wooden, but one evening with the Pusch Ridge (Tucson) Christian Academy boys' basketball team told me everything I needed to know about the hall-of-fame coach and fabled humanitarian -- a man who literally re-sculpted the hoops world.
The Lions got a chance to sit with Wooden in the coach's living room during a Southern California tournament in early 2005. I can just imagine the scene as players, coaches and parents sat on the floor in silence as the coach waxed philosophically about the game he loved and the life we should all aspire to live.
I loved this particular story for the magnificient quotes that I was able to get from those fortunate to sit down with the man who led the Bruins to the most improbably dynasty in all of college sports. Turns out, the sit down with Wooden worked.
The struggling Lions turned their season around immediately and in somewhat remarkable fashion.
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By Christopher C. Wuensch