UCLA to unveil Wooden statue

Updated: October 12, 2012, 10:39 PM ET
By Peter Yoon | ESPNLosAngeles.com

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA will unveil a statue of legendary coach John Wooden during a ceremony Oct. 26 outside of newly renovated Pauley Pavilion.

Several members of the Wooden family and the Edwin W. Pauley family will be on hand to unveil the statue, designed and created by renowned sculptor Blair Buswell.

"The statue is a monument to a man who touched countless lives and showed us what it means to lead with integrity, humility, compassion and commitment," UCLA chancellor Gene Block said in a statement. "The legacy of the late coach Wooden transcends athletics, our campus and the local community. I speak for many when I say with pride that his image will forever grace the main entrance to Pauley Pavilion."

The statue ceremony at 2:30 PT will lead into a weeklong celebration of the reopening of Pauley Pavilion after its $136 million renovation. The week features a variety of events for fans, alumni, students, faculty and staff that will pay tribute to a facility that has been home to 39 NCAA championship teams.

Wooden, who passed away in 2010 at age 99, won 10 national championships at UCLA, including eight after the 1965 original opening of Pauley Pavilion.

Pauley has been shut down for 18 months while it received a modernization and makeover, and the final touch is the Wooden statue. The arena officially will reopen Nov. 9 for the men's basketball season opener against Indiana State, the school at which Wooden began his collegiate coaching career.

"All of us at UCLA certainly feel an incredible debt of gratitude to coach Wooden for his extraordinary contributions to our athletic program and university as a whole," UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero said. "It is extremely fitting to commemorate coach's legacy with an iconic statue that will serve as the main gathering place for generations of Bruin fans and welcome all visitors to 'The House that Wooden Built.'"

Peter Yoon

ESPNLosAngeles.com

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