John R. Wooden Memorial Service

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Twenty-two days after his death at the age of 99, UCLA, UCLA Athletics and the Los Angeles community honored John Robert Wooden on June 26, 2010 with a memorial service in Pauley Pavilion. UCLA fans from all over the U.S. attended, along with hundreds of Coach's Bruin players, assistants and staff members.

Spotlighted during the ceremony was the 'Nell and John Wooden Court' logo on the Pauley floor, along with Coach Wooden's seat behind the Bruin bench, Section 103B, Row 2, Seat 1, which will forever remain unoccupied in his honor.

NBC sportscaster Al Michaels, who broadcast UCLA men's basketball games on Los Angeles television station KTLA in the mid-1970's, was the Master of Ceremonies. Program speakers included three of Coach Wooden's great players - Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1967-69), Jamaal Wilkes (1972-74) and Keith Erickson (1963-64-65), along with videos from Vin Scully and CBS broadcaster Dick Enberg. Enberg and Coach Wooden became life-long friends during the late 1960s and early 1970s when Enberg broadcast UCLA men's basketball games on KTLA.

During Michaels' introductory comments, he had this to say about Coach Wooden:

"The reason we're here today to celebrate and commemorate the life of Coach Wooden has only a little to do with the national championship banners that ring the rafters of Pauley Pavilion. This day is about celebrating the life of a man who over the course of almost a full century personally touched, inspired and enriched the lives of several thousand men and women, boys and girls. He was a man for all generations.

John Wooden had the ability to say more in one sentence than most of us could in one hour. My favorite Woodenism is: "Never mistake activity for accomplishment."

Today we celebrate a life of extraordinary accomplishment.

Following Michael's opening remarks, there were speeches and videos from Coach Wooden's friends, players and University administrators.

'Celebrating the Life' of John R. Wooden were:

  • UCLA Chancellor Gene Block
  • UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero
  • Dick Enberg Video
  • UCLA men's basketball head coach Ben Howland
  • UCLA Chancellor Emeritus Charles E. Young Video
  • Jamaal Wilkes, UCLA forward (1972-74)
  • Anna Li, The Wooden Academy Video
  • Keith Erickson, UCLA forward (1963-65)
  • UCLA Anderson School of Management Dean Judy Olian, John Wooden Global Leadership Program Video
  • Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, UCLA center (1967-69)
  • Vin Scully Video
  • Pastor Dudley Rutherford
  • Al Michaels, Closing Remarks
  • Video, Coach John R. Wooden "In His Words"

All who entered Pauley Pavilion received a memorial service program and ceremonial ticket.

In the program was a poem, written by Coach Wooden.

Don't Look Back

The years have left their imprint
On my hands and on my face.
Erect no longer is my walk
And slower is my pace.

But there is no fear within my heart
Because I'm growing old
I only wish I had more time
To better serve my Lord.

When I've gone to Him in prayer
He has brought me inner peace
And soon my cares and worries
And other problems cease.

He has helped in so many ways,
He has never let me down,
Why should I fear the future
When soon I could be near His crown.

Though I know down here my time is short
There is endless time up there
And He will forgive and keep me
Forever in His loving care.

May I not waste an hour
That's left to glorify the Name
Of the One Who died, that we might live
And for our sins, took all the blame.

Following the memorial service, there was a reception held in Collins Court at the John R. Wooden Recreation and Sports Center. There, many of Coach Wooden's Bruin players and staff members were interviewed, all telling heartwarming stories of how Coach positively affected their lives, both on and off the basketball court.