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Monday, May 23, 2011
John Wooden's family signs with IMG

By Diamond Leung

The family of John Wooden has signed on with IMG Worldwide to manage the endorsements, licensing and media opportunities involving the late Hall of Fame coach. The company announced Monday it will represent Wooden's name, voice, likeness, image and signature on memorabilia and apparel as well as film and television programs that highlight his philosophies.

"We are very pleased to have a company of IMG’s reputation working to expand the Wooden global brand," Nan Muehlhausen and Jim Wooden, the coach's children, said in a statement. "Our dad touched millions of people around the globe with his simple, direct approach to life and he has provided his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren with a blueprint for success that we feel should be shared with as many people as possible."

Clearly, taking control of Wooden's name is a meaningful thing for the family. In 2005, Wooden withdrew his support for the John R. Wooden Award because of a feud with the family that runs the Los Angeles Athletic Club over the usage of his name. The coach was no longer presenting the award named after him because of all this.

From the Los Angeles Times:
Muehlhausen, acting with the backing of her father and brother, wanted more say in the proceedings, more control of the use of John Wooden's very famous name.

The Hathaways responded that they had received the rights to use Wooden's name from Wooden himself, 30 years ago, and that if they didn't protect that trademark, they might lose it.

So, while John Wooden himself has stayed gracefully above the fray, as is his tendency and right at 95, the Hathaways and the rest of the Woodens are not saying many nice things about one another.

The dispute appeared to end after Wooden's death, as Jim Wooden presented the Wooden Award to Jimmer Fredette this year. The whole episode showed just how seriously the family took his naming rights, and now IMG is in place to handle the legalese and the business of properly preserving Wooden's legacy.

"It is a distinct honor to represent the Family of Coach John Wooden," Babette Perry, vice president of IMG broadcasting West Coast, said in a statement. "With all of the challenges facing today's world, his legacy is as important to our society as ever before. We live in a time when Coach Wooden's teachings on morality, integrity, and values serve as an example to people of all ages."