Unforgettable life lessons from the man ESPN named its “Coach of the Century”
“A good teacher or coach must not only understand others, but himself or herself as well.”
In this captivating book, beloved basketball coach John Wooden reveals the educational journey he took throughout his legendary life, from his earliest days on a small Indiana farm to the glory of his historic record-setting UCLA dynasty. Throughout My Personal Best, Coach Wooden introduces us to the men and women who shaped him and the many important life lessons they taught along the way.
You’ll meet his father, Joshua, the honest, straight-shooting farmer who urged his son, “Don't try to be better than somebody else, but never cease trying to be the best you can be.” His mother, Roxie, a hardscrabble survivor who taught her children the value of faith and sacrifice. And his wife, Nellie, the high-school sweetheart (and ukulele virtuoso) who inspired him courtside through many games and who continued to be his inspiration throughout his life.
You’ll also meet Coach’s own coaches, such as Principal Earl Warriner, the feisty disciplinarian who guided Wooden through his first games and left him with the lesson that “no player is bigger or better than the team.” High school coach Glenn Curtis, otherwise known as the Ol' Fox, who taught Wooden the poetry of basketball. And Purdue’s Piggy Lambert, whose unbending principles and love for his team became Wooden’s model of what a great coach and teacher could be.
Last but not least you’ll meet many of the students and players who became, in the end, Coach’s greatest teachers of all.
This treasure trove of all things Wooden also includes rare, never-before-seen photos from Coach’s private collection. Pairing these priceless photos with evocative personal stories, this modern sports classic encompasses the arc of Wooden’s achievements and the spirit of his All-American experience, one that will serve as inspiration to anyone who aspires to be a coach--not only on the court but in every arena of life.
"John Wooden is a living legend because he practiced what he preached--the code of ethics which created America's strength."
--Phil Jackson, head coach, Los Angeles Lakers
"Most of what I know, what's made me a smart man, has come from John Wooden."
--Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer
"A man of John Wooden's accomplishments and integrity would stand out in any era, but now, almost three decades after he coached his last game, he is in some ways an even more striking figure."
"John Wooden is a 'philosopher-coach' in the truest sense: a man whose beliefs, teachings, and wisdom go far beyond sports and ultimately address how to bring out the very best in yourself and others in all areas of life."
--Bill Walsh, three-time Super Bowl champion coach
"John Wooden's teaching is timeless."-
-Bill Walton, Naismith Basketball Hall of Famer, NBC analyst
“Whether it be on or off the court, John Wooden has been the personification of class and intellect as player, coach, and person for over seventy years. This book is a treasure.”
--Howard Garfinkel, codirector, Five-Star Basketball Camp
“There has never been a finer coach in American sports than John Wooden. Nor a finer man.”
--Rick Reilly, Sports Illustrated
John Wooden (1910-2010)
, guided the UCLA Bruins to ten NCAA basketball championships over a 12-year period, including four perfect seasons and an 88-game winning streak. He was named ESPN’s “Greatest Coach of the 20th Century” and voted “#1 Coach of All Time” by The Sporting News
. Sports Illustrated
said it best when they said: “There’s never been a finer man in American sports than John Wooden, or a finer coach.” In 2003 John Wooden was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Steve Jamison is America's foremost author and authority on the life and philosophy of John Wooden. Mr. Jamison is a consultant to the UCLA Anderson Scool of Business’ John Wooden Global Leadership Program. He has collaborated with Coach Wooden on an award-winning PBS presentation as well as several books, including his final book, The Wisdom of Wooden: My Century On and Off the Court.