UCLA mourns John Wooden

June, 4, 2010
6/04/10
11:45
PM ET
John Wooden
John Wooden won 620 games over his 27-year career.
UCLA chancellor Gene Block addressed a letter to the school community Friday night regarding the loss of legendary coach John Wooden at age 99.

"With the passing of John Wooden, we have lost a true giant and a gentleman, an individual who was perhaps more closely identified with UCLA than any other person in our university’s history," Block wrote. "Coach Wooden was an unparalleled motivator and an inspiration to people throughout the world. Those of us who were fortunate enough to meet him will forever be touched by his unfailing wisdom and generous spirit."

Read the rest of the letter, and below you'll find other statements from the UCLA community.

Nan and Jim Wooden on their father:

"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."

UCLA coach Ben Howland:

"The loss of John Wooden saddens the UCLA community and beyond. Coach Wooden, in life and in death, is and always will be the UCLA men's basketball head coach. His basketball successes and championships were an element of his magnificent, far-reaching life.

"Coach Wooden's timeless teachings, philosophies and 'Pyramid of Success' not only influenced the lives of his players but the lives of millions of people around the world. Friendship, loyalty, team spirit and competitive greatness are not just building blocks in his 'Pyramid of Success' -- it's how Coach Wooden led his own life and taught others to live. Always the teacher and mentor, throughout his life, Coach Wooden was so giving of himself and his time to everyone.

"Coach Wooden was a wonderful person and great friend who is truly a national treasure. His legacy and legend will continue to live on in each of us striving to be the "best that we are capable of becoming" as athletes, coaches, teachers, parents and human beings."

UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero:

"There will never be another John Wooden While this is a huge loss for the Bruin family, Coach Wooden's influence reaches far beyond Westwood. Coach was a tremendously significant figure. This loss will be felt by individuals from all parts of society. He was not only the greatest coach in the history of any sport but he was an exceptional individual that transcended the sporting world. His enduring legacy as a role model is one we should all strive to emulate.

"I can still recall my first interactions with Coach Wooden when I was a member of the UCLA baseball team and he was in the midst of his incredible run of championships. While attending those basketball games was certainly a highlight for me, what stands out even more was Coach making the effort to come to our baseball games to cheer for us, and what a special feeling that was for our team. Since then, I have had the unique opportunity to develop a close personal relationship with Coach Wooden over the years. That's something I will treasure for the rest of my life."

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