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John Wooden: A Legend Passes On

A great coach but an even greater man, the Hall of Famer dies at the age of 99

Hall of Famer John Wooden, who died Friday just four months shy of his 100th birthday, was most known as the greatest coach who ever lived, leading UCLA's men's basketball team to 10 national championships, including an astonishing seven straight from 1967 to 1973, a stretch that included 88 consecutive victories.

That's how he's most remembered. But perhaps he'll be best remembered as a mentor, a friend, a loving husband and father, and a source of endless wisdom and grace to hundreds of players, thousands of coaches, and millions of fans and admirers through the decades and around the world. Wooden has long said that his wisdom came primarily from two sources—his earthly father, Joshua Wooden, and from his heavenly Father.

Wooden, a devout Christian, read his Bible daily. His favorite passage was 1 Corinthians 13—truths he has especially embraced since the death of Nellie, his wife of 53 years, on March 21, 1985. In the 25 years since, Wooden has written a love letter to Nellie on the 21st ...

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