Coach Wooden: The Seven Principles that Shaped his Life and Will Change Yours, by Pat Williams with James Denney. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell, 2011. 186 pp. $17.99. ISBN 978-0-8007-1997-5.
This is the author's version of a work that was submitted/accepted for publication in the following source:
The Christian Librarian, 55 (1) 2012:42-43.
John Wooden coached the UCLA Bruins to ten NCAA National Championships in basketball. He was voted the greatest coach by the Sporting News in 2009. These facts are widely known in the world of sports and outside of sports. What is less known is that Wooden taught more than basketball; he taught real life. He taught values, ethics, and character. He was taught these principles by his father, Joshua Hugh Wooden. In Coach Wooden: The Seven Principles that Shaped his Life and Will Change Yours, Pat Williams tells how John Wooden received these seven principles from his father and how he lived them and taught them to his players. Williams puts these principles in their context and how they can help the reader change his own life for the better. These seven principles are: Be true to yourself; Help others; Make friendship a fine art; Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible; Make each day your masterpiece; Build a shelter against a rainy day by the life you live; Give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.
Williams includes quotes from many former players to give the work “breadth.” For example, Jamaal Wilkes believed the principle, help others, describes the life of John Wooden. Wilkes notes, “When you help others, you don’t do it expecting anything in return. You just help people because it is the right thing to do” (66). John Wooden was asked what he missed most about coaching after he retired. His answer: “The practices. Not the rings or the titles. I’m a teacher, and I miss teaching the young men”(70). Bill Walton noted that Coach Wooden “taught life, not basketball. The way he taught us changed our lives” (70).
Pat Williams wrote an earlier book on Wooden: How to be Like Coach Wooden. In writing this book, he became friends with Coach Wooden and learned about the influence of his father and these seven rules for living. After finishing that project, he began applying these seven principles to his own life. He had hoped to present this book as a present to Wooden. However, Wooden died a few months before this book was published.
The first chapter describes Wooden’s father and his relationship to him. Joshua Wooden had a lasting legacy on the life of his son and through his son, hundreds of individuals. The rest of the chapters explain the principles in detail. Each principle has a chapter to itself. This book is a great read. The principles are applicable to our personal and work lives. It is recommended for all libraries.