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Wooden : A Coach's Life
by Seth Davis


Overview -

A provocative and revelatory new biography of the legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, by one of America's top college basketball writers

No college basketball coach has ever dominated the sport like John Wooden. His UCLA teams reached unprecedented heights in the 1960s and '70s capped by a run of ten NCAA championships in twelve seasons and an eighty-eight-game winning streak, records that stand to this day.  Read more...


 
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More About Wooden by Seth Davis
 
 
 
Overview

A provocative and revelatory new biography of the legendary UCLA coach John Wooden, by one of America's top college basketball writers

No college basketball coach has ever dominated the sport like John Wooden. His UCLA teams reached unprecedented heights in the 1960s and '70s capped by a run of ten NCAA championships in twelve seasons and an eighty-eight-game winning streak, records that stand to this day. Wooden also became a renowned motivational speaker and writer, revered for his "Pyramid of Success."

Seth Davis of "Sports Illustrated" and CBS Sports has written the definitive biography of Wooden, an unflinching portrait that draws on archival research and more than two hundred interviews with players, opponents, coaches, and even Wooden himself. Davis shows how hard Wooden strove for success, from his All-American playing days at Purdue through his early years as a high school and college coach to the glory days at UCLA, only to discover that reaching new heights brought new burdens and frustrations. Davis also reveals how at the pinnacle of his career Wooden found himself on questionable ground with alumni, referees, assistants, and even some of his players. His was a life not only of lessons taught, but also of lessons learned.

Woven into the story as well are the players who powered Wooden's championship teams - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton, Walt Hazzard, and others - many of whom speak frankly about their coach. The portrait that emerges from Davis's remarkable biography is of a man in full, whose life story still resonates today.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780805092806
  • ISBN-10: 0805092803
  • Publisher: Times Books
  • Publish Date: January 2014
  • Page Count: 591

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Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2013-11-11
  • Reviewer: Staff

Wooden, who coached the UCLA men’s basketball team to 10 NCAA championships in the 1960s and ’70s, is a more supple and conflicted man than his oaken reputation suggested, according to this probing biography. In this hefty but well-paced account, Sports Illustrated scribe Davis (When March Went Mad: The Game That Transformed Basketball) provides entertaining play-by-play and color commentary on Wooden’s dynasty-building, key games, and the grueling, authoritarian methods—players were even instructed on the correct technique for donning shoes and socks—he used to impart his innovative fast-break system. Davis also unearths the nasty competitive streak beneath Wooden’s saintly image, and shows how his old-school creed of hard work, clean living, and gentlemanly deportment warped under the pressure of high-profile competition and Vietnam-era nonconformism, forcing him to bend the rules for indispensable players and tolerate the influence of a seamy booster. Woven through the narrative is the usual psychodrama that basketball seems to incubate more than any other sport—capped by a shrieking Wooden rage at a showering player—and vivid depictions of Wooden’s complex relationships with superstars Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. As Wooden’s rock-ribbed principles confront chaotic times and compromising circumstances, Davis paints an unusually rich and illuminating portrait of the coaching mission. Photos. (Jan.)

 
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