Farewell, Wizard of Westwood: John Wooden Passes Away At Age 99

Legendary college basketball coach John Wooden died Friday night, leaving behind a legacy that influenced all corners of the sports world.

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Bloggers Around SB Nation Offer Their Thoughts On John Wooden

SB Nation's UCLA blog, Bruins Nation, prepared a fitting tribute for John Wooden following the passing of the legendary Bruins coach. But of course, John Wooden wasn't simply a Bruin. He was an exceptional and example-setting human being. Plenty of our other blogs are offering tributes on Saturday.

First up: our WNBA blog, Swish Appeal, spoke to Ann Meyers-Drysdale, general manager of the Phoenix Mercury and vice president of the Phoenix Suns.

"I'm crying inside, but my heart is happy that he's with Nellie. And I think that's what he's wanted all along -- didn't know it'd be this hard because I'd been expecting it. I just know that he's at peace and that's what we were all hoping for. The fact that he was with us 99 years is very impressive and he knew what was going on. The stories were always incredible. You could never spend enough time in his presence -- he just made you feel like a better person. So, love him, miss him, but I know he's happy."

The Lakers are in pursuit of an NBA Finals win, but our Lakers blog, Silver Screen and Roll, still took time out to offer some thoughts on Wooden. Dexter Fishmore explains why Wooden was so important, not just to the UCLA program, but to basketball as a whole.

If you're reading this, it's because the sport of basketball is important to you. You wouldn't be on this site if the game hasn't brought you enormous pleasure and satisfaction over the years. For that you should thank Coach Wooden. He was a strategic and tactical innovator, and the empire he built at UCLA helped the sport grow and become the cultural institution it is today.

Our Louisville Cardinals blog, Card Chronicle, lists some of the greatest John Wooden quotes. One of the best that we didn't include in our earlier list:

Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.

Our Kentucky blog, A Sea of Blue, appreciates Wooden as much as anyone, but cautions that we should be careful to keep his legacy accurate and honest.

Admire Coach Wooden.  But don't compare eras.  The explosion of coaching salaries is not the fault of Calipari, or Calhoun, or Krzyzewski.  Do not claim that modest income was a Wooden legacy -- it was not.

How much money would Jack Nicklaus have made today if his career had begun at the same time as Tiger's?  Coaches like Wooden, Rupp, and Dean Smith laid the foundation for the huge coaching salaries of today, not by the money they made, but by the success of their programs.

Let's remember Wooden for the right reasons, not fake ones.

USC fans aren't exactly fast friends with UCLA fans, but our USC blog, Conquest Chronicles, does not hesitate to express its appreciation of the UCLA icon.

Even as a USC fan, there's no questioning Wooden's success. Alleged relationship with Stan Gilbert aside, Wooden had a run of success in Westwood that will remain unparalleled in the college basketball world. Florida winning back-to-back titles under Billy Donovan this decade was a rarity. Try winning seven in a row.

But Wooden's legacy is much more than just winning. From the pyramid of success, to the innumerable quotes and life lessons, and to the strong character he exhibited on and off the court, Wooden embodied everything that a college sports coach and teacher should be. "A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment," Wooden said.

There are sure to be more reactions and tributes from our SB Nation blogs. When a personality of this magnitude passes, it means something to all of us.


College Basketball World Reacts To John Wooden's Death

Some of the names most often associated with college basketball have spoken regarding the death of John Wooden at the age of 99.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar:

"It's kind of hard to talk about Coach Wooden simply, because he was a complex man. But he taught in a very simple way. He just used sports as a means to teach us how to apply ourselves to any situation. He set quite an example. He was more like a parent than a coach. He really was a very selfless and giving human being, but he was a disciplinarian. We learned all about those aspects of life that most kids want to skip over. He wouldn't let us do that."

Mike Kryzysewski

"Today, we've lost a giant in all of sport with the passing of Coach Wooden. Quite likely, his accomplishments as a college basketball coach will never be matched. Neither will the impact he had on his players or the greater basketball community. Many have called Coach Wooden the 'gold standard' of coaches. I believe he was the 'gold standard' of people and carried himself with uncommon grace, dignity and humility. Coach Wooden's name is synonymous with excellence, and deservedly so. He was one of the great leaders - in any profession - of his generation. We are blessed that the sport of basketball benefitted from his talents for so long. Coach Wooden and his wisdom will be sorely missed."

Dick Vitale:

I was saddened to learn of the passing of Hall of Fame coach John Wooden on Friday night.

When you talk about the definition of the word "class," you could go to Webster's Dictionary and there should be a picture of Coach Wooden right there. He handled himself with such dignity, the way he treated people.

For quite a few more reactions, check out Bruins Nation.


VIDEO: Vin Scully Pays Tribute To John Wooden

Vin Scully, the Dodgers' longtime announcer and a living legend in the sports world in L.A., paid tribute to the passing of another legend, John Wooden, during the broadcast of the Dodgers-Braves game Friday night.

As always, no one says it better than Vin.


Our UCLA Blog Mourns John Wooden's Passing

Just a brief note: SB Nation's UCLA blog, Bruins Nation, is especially mournful of the passing of John Wooden. They've switched the blog to a black-and-white appearance in light of Friday night's news.

Reactions from Bruins fans are already pouring in. If you'd like to pay your respects, head on over to Bruins Nation.


The Ten Best John Wooden Quotes

John Wooden retired seven years before I was born. I've observed the greatness of the likes of Bobby Cox and Phil Jackson as it unfolded, but not Mr. Wooden's. I can't speak as someone who watched him as he coached, because I didn't, and I can't speak as a UCLA fan, because I'm not. And yet, his quotes hold a place in my consciousness.

Quotes are dangerous things. By definition, they're reductive, hyper-simplistic, and usually pithy. That being said, John Wooden's brief segments of observations -- and he produced many of them -- are valuable.

Without further comment, I present my ten favorite quotes from a man who spent 29 years of his life guiding young people, and another 35 sharing what he learned.

10. The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.

9. If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything. I'm positive that a doer makes mistakes.

8. Adversity is the state in which man mostly easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.

7. Never mistake activity for achievement.

6. Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.

5. Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.

4. Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.

3. Ability is a poor man's wealth.

2. Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.

You can't live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.


Family Of John Wooden Releases Statement On His Death

The children of legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden have released a statement on their father's death. From Nan and Jim Wooden:

We want to thank everyone for their love and support for our father. We will miss him more than words can express.   He has been, and always will be, the guiding light for our family. The love, guidance and support he has given us will never be forgotten.  Our peace of mind at this time is knowing that he has gone to be with our mother, whom he has continued to love and cherish.   We wish to express our gratitude for your support and appreciate your respecting our privacy.

For UCLA fans reaction to the unfortunate news, visit Bruins Nation.


John Wooden, Legendary Basketball Coach, Dead At 99

On Friday night, we have terribly sad news to pass along: John Wooden, arguably the most iconic coach in the history of American sports, has passed away at the age of 99 following a series of health complications. From the LA Times:

Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, whose teams won seven consecutive NCAA championships and had a record winning streak of 88 games, died Friday. He was 99.

We use the word "legendary" all the time. This time, we mean it. Wooden was a figure, both professionally and personally, who was universally appreciated by anyone who has ever appreciated the game of basketball. He might just be on the top of a very, very short list.

His passing is sad, but the man lived ninety-nine happy years. Rest in peace, sir. To find reactions from UCLA fans, check in with our own UCLA blog, Bruins Nation.


John Wooden 'Resting Comfortably' In Hospital, According To UCLA

Contrary to previous reports that UCLA coaching legend John Wooden is in “grave condition,” the university says he is “resting comfortably,” according to an official release on Friday.

The release also says that Wooden was admitted to the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on May 26 due to dehydration.

UCLA will be providing an additional update on Wooden’s condition later Friday afternoon.


UCLA Confirms John Wooden's Hospitalization, Can't Comment On Anything Else

UCLA has confirmed via a press release that legendary basketball coach John Wooden has been hospitalized.

The campus has been authorized to confirm that Coach Wooden is a patient at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Per the wishes of the Wooden family, UCLA will not comment on his condition.

No one from the Wooden Family or UCLA staff is available for interviews regarding Coach Wooden.

UCLA had previously been silent on the matter citing the wishes of the Wooden family. However, swirling rumors and apparent misinformation more than likely caused them to make this statement.

UCLA fans have been gathering at SB Nation's Bruins Nation to discuss memories of Wooden and offer up thoughts on "Coach".


John Wooden Reportedly In 'Grave Condition' At UCLA Hospital

John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood and head coach of UCLA basketball from 1948-1975, a career that included 10 National Championships in a 12-year span, is reportedly "battling" for his life at UCLA Medical Center, according to SB Nation's UCLA blog, Bruins Nation

Bruins Nation cited a source who said that this would "likely be the last time" Wooden would be hospitalized, adding, "He has stopped eating, and they do not believe he will survive through the weekend."

The news regarding Wooden is also being reported by KCBS 2 in Los Angeles, which is saying the legendary coach is in "grave condition." The report adds that Wooden, 99, "hasn't eaten in the last couple days and is very ill."

More news and reaction as it happens, both here in this StoryStream and at BruinsNation.

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