Rest in peace coach. John Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010


Friday night, the great coach John Wooden passed away.   He was taken to the hospital Thursday night.    Vin Scully paid tribute to him during the TV broadcast.  We can only hear Vin on the radio during the first three innings but the tribute was played back in the Diamondvision.  Vin made me cry watching this tribute.   Here is the youtube: 



I wish I had this blog two years ago when I went to the John Wooden Vin Scully event and I would have written about.  Is time like this that I like having the blog.   Here is what I said last October a day after his birthday:

Happy belated birthday to John Wooden!  He turned 99 yesterday!

I have seen John Wooden at Dodger Stadium catching a game and visiting with Vin Scully. 

I was also lucky that I went to see John Wooden and Vin Scully last year at the “Scully & Wooden For The Kids” event.    It was an unforgetable night hearing Vin and Coach share their many stories.  

Coach conversations always include  inspiring poems he recites from memory. Here is one example:

“No written word nor spoken plea
Can teach our youth what they should be,
Nor all the books on all the shelves.
It’s what the teachers are themselves.”


I will never forget when coach Wooden recited this poem that wonderful night at the John Wooden Vin Scully event:

Once I was afraid of dying.

Terrified of ever-lying.

Petrified of leaving family, home and friends.

Thoughts of absence from my dear ones,

Drew a melancholy tear once.

And a lonely, dreadful fear of when life ends.

But those days are long behind me;

Fear of leaving does not bind me.

And departure does not host a single care.

Peace does comfort as I ponder,

A reunion in the Yonder,

With my dearest who is waiting for me there.”


The poem was written by one of his former players, Swen Nater who was so moved by coach devotion to his departed wife Nellie.   

Rest in peace coach.  We will never forget you!   Now you can be together with your beloved Nellie.




  1. 23gonzalez

    Man, great tribute by Vin Scully. John Wooden was such a great man, my favorite quote from his would have to be “failing to prepare in preparing to fail.” He made everything simple, but yet he made you think.
    R.I.P. John Wooden.

  2. raysrenegade

    Does any other name come to mind when you think of winning?
    Seriously, the task and the results of John Wooden are amazing on paper, but he was a guy who really did transcend the game with his wisdom nd his great attitude towards winning.
    Not only did he make UCLA a dynasty, but he personally changed the landscape and scope of college basketball and made it another “must see” sporting event all across the country.
    There are certain people you know some day will pass, and you are not sure how you will react.
    In the past, I thought I might be a bit more shocked,in awe and not ready for the passing of a true legend like Wooden.
    But somehow I got wisdom in the last year and know it was his time,he had spent 99 tremendous years, and had changed so many lives forever.
    Now I just hope the team up in the clouds is ready to do wind sprints, suicide drills and ball handling skill sets…Becuase when the whistle blows tomorrow, Coach Wooden will have the clipboard and the whistle in his hand again….like it should be!

    Rays Renegade

  3. crzblue2

    Wonderful post by you Cliff! And I could just picture coach with his clipboard and whistle in his hand again. Most important, he is with his beloved Nellie. You know for the last 25 years, since she passed away, he has written a letter to her on a monthly basis on the 21st. Now they are together again.

  4. StlCardinals06

    Wooden is way before my time, but he is obviously a wonderful person who touched many and influenced everyone he met. Just his prowess as a coach is amazing, but who he was as a person is much more incredible. As Cliff said, “Does any other name come to mind when you think of winning?”

  5. bklyntrolleyblogger

    To All of Los Angeles, May your GIANT among righteous men, rest eternally in peace and with his wife, which is always where he wanted to be. John Wooden’s stature and character cast shadows upon men, even here 3000 miles away in Brooklyn. To L.A. sympathies. To John Wooden…rest well.

  6. devilabrit

    I ‘m with Mike on this one, “a GIANT among righteous men” may he rest in peace as he is reunited with the love of his eternity.

    And we managed to beat them again for you Emma…

    Phillies Outside

  7. crzblue2

    STLC, Mike and Peter, if u have a chance watch the John Wooden Vin Scully event that was taped two years ago. It will replay on Monday after the Dodger Cardinal game.
    Thank you so much Mike! You are always so eloquent my friend!
    Peter! Thank you! Complete game by Moyer! Wow!

  8. greg1969

    Rest in Peace, indeed, John Wooden. Heaven has gained a legend, as we here have lost one. They must have had a ball game that night for him to coach!
    Listening to Wooden–from his voice tone, to his cadence, to the few words he actually said– reminded me, time and again, of my grandfather. A man whose life spoke better than words ever could.
    John Wooden and Vin Scully–two legends in the same room. WOW! That would be quite an event.
    Rest in Peace, and God Bless, John Wooden.

  9. crzblue2

    I did not know that coach used to call Torre. He also used to go to Angel Stadium.
    Imagine that ball game Greg! All the great baseball players and coach in there watching them play! I am sure he was giving his suggestions too. You know he was offered a manager job with the Pirates a looong time ago.
    Like you said Mike, noone will accomplish what he did. It is just amazing.

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