In watching all the tributes pouring out from friends and former players, if I didn’t already know, he was an uncommon man. Most players said he was more of a father than coach, asking only a few things: work hard, work together, and do it right.
He met his beloved wife, Nellie, in 1926 and they married in 1932. She was the first and only girl he ever kissed(at fourteen) and decades after her death, he still followed a ritual each month on the twenty-first, the day of the month she died9in 1985 I believe), of visiting her grave, then writing her a love letter. No one ever saw them. He would seal them in an envelope and add to the stack on her pillow. health permitting, he never missed one.
He won ten NCAA basketball championships in twelve years at UCLA, ten in a row, a feat never to be matched. Never a losing season in all his years as a coach, he is agreed upon as the greatest coach of ANY team sport and was the first person to be enshrined in the hall of fame both as a player and coach.
RIP, Mr. Wooden. You’re finally back with your beloved Nellie.