When college coaches made their pilgrimages to see John Wooden, more often than not, it wasn't game strategies they wanted to discuss. They wanted to learn life skills, and the late Hall of Fame coach was one of the best at giving out advice.
St. John's coach Steve Lavin, who hung on Wooden's every word while at UCLA, even benefited from relationship advice that Wooden gave, according to the Los Angeles Times.
He says Wooden was a guiding light as he went from the UCLA job to basketball analyst for ESPN, as he turned down the job at North Carolina State, even as he pondered his eventual Aug. 17, 2007, marriage to [Mary Ann] Jarou.
"He met all my girlfriends," Lavin says, "but when he met Mary, he said she was the one."
Wooden was old, but he wasn't blind.
Wooden was good at coaching, good at golf, and good at marriage given his fabled love story with his wife, Nell. He wrote love letters to her even after her death, identifying love as the secret to living a long life.
That Lavin would have gotten Wooden's wisdom on the matter is great for him, because he got it from one of the best.