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In Memory of John Wooden


Thirty-Nine years ago, I was a first-year mathematics teacher, coaching four sports. Everything in life was a new challenge, as I found it difficult to shift from sitting in a student's desk or competing on the playing field. As mentioned last week, Martin Gardner was a strong mentor for my mathematics teaching...and John Wooden was a strong mentor for me as a young coach. As a student at UCLA, I had met John Wooden once...and later attended two of his coaching clinics. But to my surprise, John Wooden also impacted my role as a mathematics teacher and my work with students. The following quotes, and especially his "Pyramid of Success," remain inspiring...

All of life is peaks and valleys.
Don't let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.

Learn as if you were going to live forever....

Don't measure yourself by what you have accomplished,
but what you should have accomplished with your ability.

If you're not making mistakes, then you're not doing anything.

Don't give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.

It is what you learn after you know it all that counts.

All progress requires change. But not all change is progress.

John Wooden
Basketball Coach and Mentor
Oct. 14, 1920 - June 4, 2010