Life and Times
1910: Born in Hall, Ind., on Oct. 14.
1932: Wooden named college basketball Player of the Year while at Purdue University.
1932: Marries Nell Riley, his high school sweetheart.
1946–47: After serving in the U.S. Navy during World War II, appointed athletic director and basketball and baseball coach at Indiana Teachers College (now Indiana State University).
1948: Hired as UCLA basketball coach; Bruins win Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division title in his first year.
1950: Leads UCLA to team’s first NCAA tournament.
1956: UCLA completes a perfect league season (16-0), the first of eight under Wooden’s leadership.
1960: Wooden inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.
1962: UCLA reaches NCAA Final Four for the first time.
1964: UCLA defeats Duke to win first NCAA title; finishes season with unbeaten 30-0 record.
1964: Wooden named NCAA college basketball Coach of the Year; receives the honor again in 1967, 1969–70 and 1972–73.
1965: UCLA defeats Michigan to win second NCAA title.
1967: UCLA wins third NCAA title, defeating Dayton.
1968: In first nationally televised college basketball game, UCLA loses to Houston.
1968: UCLA becomes first school to twice win back-to-back NCAA titles, defeating North Carolina for its fourth national championship.
1969: UCLA defeats Purdue to win fifth NCAA title, becoming first school to win three straight championships.
1970: Bruins win sixth NCAA title, the team’s fourth in a row, defeating Jacksonville.
1971: UCLA’s NCAA record-setting 88-game winning streak begins.
1971: Bruins win seventh NCAA title, their fifth straight, defeating Villanova.
1972: UCLA, with 30-0 record, wins eighth NCAA title and their sixth straight, defeating Florida State.
1973: UCLA breaks NCAA consecutive-win record with 61st straight victory.
1973: Bruins defeat Memphis State to win ninth NCAA championship, the team’s seventh straight, becoming the first school to win back-to-back NCAA titles with perfect 30-0 records both years.
1973: Wooden named Sports Illustrated’s “Sports’ Man of the Year.”
1973: Wooden inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a coach, the first person to be inducted as both player and coach.
1974: UCLA’s 88-game winning streak ends with loss to Notre Dame.
1974: Wooden named California Grandfather of the Year by the National Father’s Day Committee.
1975: Wooden announces his retirement after UCLA defeats Louisville in NCAA semifinal, March 29.
1975: In Wooden’s final game, on March 31, UCLA beats Kentucky to win 10th NCAA title in 12 years. In his final nine years as coach, Wooden compiled a 259-12 record and won eight NCAA championships.
1977: First John Wooden Award, given to the nation’s best college basketball player, goes to UCLA senior forward Marques Johnson.
1985: Wooden becomes first sports figure to receive the Bellarmine Medal from Bellarmine University; other recipients have included Mother Teresa and Walter Cronkite.
1985: After 53 years of marriage, Wooden’s wife, Nell, dies.
1994: Wooden named to Sports Illustrated’s “40 for the Ages.”
1995: Wooden presented Reagan Distinguished American Award.
1997: Wooden’s “Wooden: A Lifetime of Observations and Reflections On and Off the Court” (with Steve Jamison) is published.
1999: ESPN names Wooden “Greatest Coach of the 20th Century.”
2003: Wooden awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor.
2003: Wooden’s “Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success,” a book for children (with Steve Jamison, Peanut Louie Harper, and Susan F. Cornelison), and “Coach Wooden One-on-One” (with Jay Carty) are published.
2003: Basketball court at UCLA’s Pauley Pavilion is dedicated as Nell and John Wooden Court.
2004: Wooden’s “My Personal Best: Life Lessons from an All-American Journey” (with Steve Jamison) is published.
2005: Wooden’s “Wooden on Leadership” (with Steve Jamison) is published.
2006: Wooden inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame as a charter member.
2006: Wooden’s “The Essential Wooden: A Lifetime of Lessons on Leaders and Leadership” (with Steve Jamison) is published.
2006: U.S. Post Office in Reseda, Calif., is named Coach John Wooden Post Office.
2008: Wooden becomes first basketball figure to be inducted into the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum’s Court of Honor.
2009: Wooden named greatest coach of all time by the Sporting News.