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Saturday, June 5, 2010
Coaching fraternity speaks on John Wooden

By Diamond Leung

John Wooden
John Wooden taught and influenced generations of coaches and players.
Jim Boeheim, Syracuse: "When I think of a basketball coach the only one I ever thought of was Coach Wooden. He had a great life and helped so many coaches until well in his 90s. Every time I talked to him he would give me some words of advice. He's the best of all time. There will never be another like him and you can't say that about too many people. It's a sad day but he had such an unbelievable run. I can't tell you what he's done for game of basketball and it's not just the wins. It's the attitude and the way he carried himself. I just can't say enough about him."

Jim Boylen, Utah: "Thoughts and prayers go out to John Wooden's family. I've always admired his humility and ability to teach. He'll be missed but never forgotten."

Jim Calhoun, Connecticut: "My reaction is sadness, yet at this point we have to celebrate maybe the most important guy in the history of the game. There has been no greater influence on college basketball, not just about the game but the team. He's the greatest coach in college basketball, if not all basketball, from the standpoint of all of us trying to emulate what he's done. He gave so much to basketball and education. In my opinion if he's not as important as Dr. Naismith, he's right next to him."

Billy Donovan, Florida: "John Wooden was a great coach and a great man. He was a man of humility who embodied the best in character and values, and exemplified what coaching is all about. I was fortunate enough to be honored with the Wooden Award in April, an award that now takes on added significance to me personally. I found out that I was being honored on his 99th birthday. To have the opportunity to go out to Los Angeles and see firsthand how great an impact he still has is something I will always be honored and humbled to be a part of. His legacy will endure forever."

Kerry Keating, Santa Clara: "It is rare that a single person can touch and impact so many different people in a lifetime and to be able to be one of those persons is a privilege. Coach Wooden was a great coach, the best ever, an even greater person and will continue to eternally impact not just basketball, but society as well. There will never be another like him, God Bless John Wooden, and prayers to his family. Thank you, Coach."

Mike Krzyzewski, Duke: "My memories -- just the fact he always treated me with grace and respect, which he didn't have to do. I enjoyed my relationship with Coach Wooden because he was always so free sharing his wisdom -- and not just on college basketball."

Steve Lavin, St. John's: "Coach Wooden leaves all of us a lasting legacy from a lifetime devoted to goodness. Coach believed the court was his classroom and basketball was a metaphor for life. He was an eternal learner and teacher. He was the best friend and mentor one could hope for and it is difficult to imagine a college basketball season without John Wooden being with us."

Kevin McKenna, Indiana State: "John Wooden is an icon in college basketball coaching. The success he enjoyed at Indiana State early in his coaching career began a strong tradition of Sycamore basketball that has continued for over 60 years. It's a privilege for our teams to compete on a floor that is named in he and his wife, Nell's, honor inside Hulman Center. In addition to his mastery of coaching the game of basketball, I've read and studied his ‘Life Lessons' books which we try to apply to our personal lives and the Sycamore basketball program each day. We are keeping all of his family and numerous friends in our thoughts during this difficult time."

Matt Painter, Purdue: "There isn't a more respected, influential and genuine figure in the history of the game than Coach Wooden. This is a tremendous loss, but his legacy will live on through the countless people whom he touched over the years."

Lorenzo Romar, Washington: "Many men and women have impacted their profession in a positive way. Not many have impacted their profession and impacted people's lives away from their profession. John Wooden is the most humble, most wise man that I have ever met. Those that have spent any time with him were around a legend."