LOS ANGELES -- Hall of Fame coach John R. Wooden, who led
UCLA to 10 national championships, says that for the first time in
nearly three decades he won't present the prestigious collegiate
player of the year award bearing his name, due to a dispute with
the group that sponsors the prize.
The 94-year-old Wooden, however, said he won't contest the use
of his name for the award.
"I don't want anything to interfere with the continuation of
the award," he told The Associated Press on Saturday.
Los Angeles Athletic Club President Steve Hathaway, whose group
sponsors the award in concert with Wooden, said the dispute
concerned Wooden's decision to lend his name to an unrelated award
"As part of its stewardship of the award, the club has a legal
duty to defend its trademarks that protect the award," Hathaway
said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times, which first reported
the story Saturday.
Hathaway said he was "shocked and saddened" by Wooden's
Wooden family agent Mark Humenik said the two sides differed
over how Wooden should be able to use his name. When asked if they
might eventually reach an agreement, he said "never say never."
Wooden retired as UCLA's coach in 1975, after winning the 10
NCAA championships in his last 12 years. The Wooden Award has been
given annually since then.
Past winners include Michael Jordan, David Robinson and Larry
Wooden gave the club the John R. Wooden trademark for the men's
award, as well as one for women's player of the year and one for
"I'm not bitter," Wooden said. "I'm feeling better than I
have a right to feel at my age. I've been blessed."