A leader must convey this to those you lead: a tough fight can bring forth Competitive Greatness. The hard battle inspires and motivates a great competitor to dig deep inside. That's why I relish the challenge a worthy competitor presents. When properly prepared you will rise to your highest level and achieve Competitive Greatness.
— Coach John Wooden
By Carolyn Gray Anderson
His renowned Pyramid of Success is used in boardrooms as well as on the court. It’s cited in articles about sports, psychology, business, education and more. Parents pin it to the walls of their children’s rooms as a source of inspiration.
From 1948 to 1975, John Wooden guided the UCLA men’s basketball team to win 10 NCAA championships in his final 12 seasons, including a record seven in a row from 1967 to 1973. The Bruins won 88 consecutive games from 1971 to 1974 and 38 consecutive NCAA tournament games from 1964 to 1974, both records. Wooden said he was most proud of UCLA’s 19 conference championships. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the first of the 10 championships, a record that holds fast.
But “Coach” was a teacher first and foremost; and, from his retirement in 1975 forward, he was a prolific author and thinker. The John Wooden Global Leadership Award was established on the basis of Wooden’s achievements as a thought leader. Author of numerous books, Wooden lectured widely on leadership tenets gleaned from the simple but crucial lessons of a long and thoughtful life. In addition to unbroken records in college basketball, his legacy comprises a trove of maxims that express the humility, sagacity, respect and care with which Coach built and led teams.