Aug. 4, 2003
On Saturday, Dec. 20, when UCLA hosts Michigan State, the Bruin community will honor legendary coach John Wooden and his late wife, Nell, by naming the basketball floor in Pauley Pavilion, 'John and Nell Wooden Court,' Bruin athletic director Dan Guerrero announced today.
Wooden, who was UCLA's head coach for 27 seasons (1948-49 through 1974-75), led the Bruins to a record 10 NCAA National Championships, including seven in a row from 1967-1973, to go along with titles from 1964, '65 and 1975. This season will mark the 40th anniversary of UCLA's first NCAA Championship (1964). Wooden will be 93 years old on Oct. 14.
Wooden and his wife, Nell, were married for 53 years. They were married shortly after Wooden's graduation from Purdue in 1932 and had two children, a son, James Hugh and a daughter, Nancy Anne. The Wooden family now consists of seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren. Nell Wooden died in Los Angeles on March 21, 1985.
"Saturday, Dec. 20 will be remembered as one of the great days in the history of the UCLA Athletic Department," said UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero. "It is appropriate that the dedication of 'John and Nell Wooden Court ' in Pauley Pavilion coincide with the 40th anniversary of Coach Wooden's first NCAA Championship team. John and Nell are synonymous with UCLA basketball and now they will forever be enshrined in the arena that Coach Wooden made famous."
"Although I deeply appreciate the sentiment of having the basketball floor in Pauley Pavilion named after me and my dear Nellie, I will always be grateful to Edwin Pauley."
Coach John Wooden
"Although I deeply appreciate the sentiment of having the basketball floor in Pauley Pavilion named after me and my dear Nellie," Wooden said, "I will always be grateful to Edwin Pauley, who provided the impetus for making a dream become a reality (the construction of Pauley Pavilion) and for the many young men who were under my supervision before and after Pauley Pavilion. Thank you so much to everyone involved."
Along with the floor dedication, to highlight the historic event there will also be an invitation- only luncheon held in the Wooden Center (prior to the game).
"This is such a well-deserved honor," said Bruin head coach Ben Howland. "Coach Wooden is the greatest coach in the history of the game. John and his wife, Nell, were ambassadors for the UCLA community and college basketball. It's appropriate that the floor of Pauley Pavilion - where the tradition of the best in all of college basketball was started by Coach Wooden and all his great players - should be named after John and Nell."