Coach John Wooden offers us words…

7 06 2010

Coach John Wooden passed away this weekend at 99.

"Your character is what you really are..."

Who’s John Wooden?  He won seven straight NCAA Basketball Championships and coached the likes of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton.  He is the only person named to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.

Here’s a few of my favorite quotes from the coach:

  • “Success is peace of mind in knowing you did your best.”
  • “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”
  • “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
  • “Ability may get you to the top but it takes character to keep you there.”
  • “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”
  • “Be more concerned with your character than with your reputation.  Your character is what you really are while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”

– John Wooden

Over the years my dad has spent time with a variety of very influential people.  Around ten years ago he was able to share a few hours with Coach Wooden.  It was a meaningful day for dad who has done his share of coaching basketball.

One of the things that Coach Wooden said on that day struck dad.  He mentioned that he was most proud of one accomplishment – the number of his students that became pastors.

Serving people, in their spiritual journey, is a path work taking!

Thanks Dad and Thanks Coach Wooden!


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2 responses

4 08 2010
Glenda Malmin

Joe Tyre makes a valid point, but an incomplete one in my opinion. Given the sin nature in the human condition, even the best of leaders may find wandering/deserting sheep from time to time.

5 08 2010
Ben Malmin

Very true. Joe Tyre’s comment (from tweet), seen below, is mostly a leadership anecdote to motivate leaders to not be a boss but instead provide people with mission.

“People will not desert a leader; they only desert a boss. People will not quit a mission; they only quit a job.” Joe Tyre

All great leaders have people quit. Maybe true leadership doesn’t show its true character until after a few people have quit.




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