John Wooden, the legendary coach of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA), was immortalized outside the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion, home of the program he turned into an NCAA powerhouse in the 1960s and 1970s, with a 400-lb, 8-foot bronze statue that his family helped fine-tune before final production. His daughter, Nan, asked that his right earlobe be made slightly larger and had the jacket under his arms smoothed out because the early models made him look heavier than he really was.
The statue was unveiled in front of the current men’s basketball team, the UCLA band, and cheerleaders, as well as family, friends and many former players and dignitaries. The common consensus was the Coach Wooden would have shot down the idea of giving any time and attention to such an event as he didn’t like drawing attention to himself.
As a player, Wooden was a three-time All-American at Purdue, where he won his first National Championship. In 1961 he was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and then also as a coach in 1973. Only two others have been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach, Lenny Wilkens, and Bill Sharman.
Wooden passed away in 2010, four months and 10 days shy of his 100th birthday. He had retired from the top spot in the UCLA men’s basketball program in 1975 with 10 National Championships, including seven in a row from 1967-1973. He finished his career with a 664-162 record overall, 620-147 at UCLA.