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John Wooden dead at 99


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http://sports.espn.go.com/los-angeles/news/story?id=5253601

LOS ANGELES -- Former UCLA basketball coach and Hall of Famer John Wooden died of natural causes on Friday at age 99, the school announced.

Little had been released regarding his condition.

Earlier in the day, former UCLA and Los Angeles Lakers star Jamaal Wilkes told The Associated Press that he visited Wooden in his hospital room twice this week and they chatted briefly.

Wilkes said Wooden recognized him and that the coach's mind remains "sharp as a tack," although he said the 99-year-old Wooden's body is "very, very frail."

During his second visit on Wednesday night, Wilkes asked Wooden if he recognized him.

"His glasses fogged up and he had to clean his glasses," Wilkes said. "He looked at me and said, 'I remember you, now go sit down."

Wilkes teamed with Bill Walton to help UCLA win NCAA titles in 1972 and '73. He was part of UCLA's record 88-game winning streak under Wooden.

Besides his grown son and daughter and other family members, Wilkes said Wooden has had several visitors since being admitted to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center on May 26, including Walton.

UCLA officials said Friday afternoon that Wooden was resting comfortably and was surrounded by family. The university's statement said the family wanted to thank Wooden's fans for their thoughts and prayers.

A few hundred students gathered around the Bruin Bear statue near Pauley Pavilion on the UCLA campus Friday, performing the university's eight-clap chant and shouting Wooden's name. He frequently attended men's basketball games until a couple years ago.

The university had said that the former coaching great was being treated for dehydration.

"I got the sense that it's an overall physical decline," Wilkes said while attending an event for an NBA charity.

"His mind and his spirit is very lucid and sharp. He was sharp as a tack, still got the sense of humor. People don't realize how funny he is, but his body is very, very weak, very frail."

Wilkes said he recognized what he called "that little glint" in Wooden's pale blue eyes. He was in the room with Wooden's son, James, when Wooden asked to be shaved.

"His son made the comment that when he got shaved he was getting ready to see Nellie," Wilkes said, referring to Wooden's late wife who died of cancer in 1975.

Like many of Wooden's players, Wilkes, now 57, has stayed in regular contact with his former coach through the years. He said they rarely discussed basketball and mostly talked about their lives.

"He's such a tough survivor and you want to keep wishing and hoping that he's going to live forever, but we all know he's not," Wilkes had said. "The realization that this may actually be it hasn't really hit me yet. I'm so overwhelmed with what's happening."

Wilkes, however, said Wooden seemed at peace with himself, and that the coach's pastor was another visitor.

"He's OK with it. It's the rest of us that have to," Wilkes said, his voice trailing off. "It's hard."

Wooden led the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships -- at one time winning seven in a row -- during a 27-year run that ended with his team cutting down the nets one last time in 1975.

The Bruins won 88 consecutive games from 1971-74 and 38 consecutive NCAA tournament games from 1964-74, both records.

There ya go. Sad news, my 8th grade science teacher was lucky enough to get to sit down and talk with him two summers ago. One of the all time greats.

RIP John Wooden.

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Definitely one of the greatest basketball coaches. Amazing to think about how many lives that he had an impact on, both on and off the basketball court. That 7 point outline of his is something that I try to live by day to day. One of the great minds in sports history, and a great role model for anyone to look up to. RIP to a sharp man that lived a great life.

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Definitely one of the greatest basketball coaches. Amazing to think about how many lives that he had an impact on, both on and off the basketball court. That 7 point outline of his is something that I try to live by day to day. One of the great minds in sports history, and a great role model for anyone to look up to. RIP to a sharp man that lived a great life.

I did get to shake his hand on January 4, 2002 when the Bruins hosted Washington.

Here are his Seven Points.

Be true to yourself.

Make each day your masterpiece.

Help others.

Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.

Make friendship a fine art.

Build a shelter against a rainy day.

Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.

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Listened to the piece about how he wrote his wife who died 24 years ago love letters on the 21st of every month. There will never be another coach like him in College Basketball, I just wish I was around to see him coach.

RIP John Wooden.

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This actually sucks - the way john wooden went about

life and the immense effect on the lives on so many youngster is unbelievable. It's very rare when you find a person where no one can say anything bad about him.

RIP coach wooden, you will be missed.

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He always talked about the day he'd get to see his wife Nell again. Here it is. John Wooden was a great person. I had a professor in the fall who knew John Wooden and a lot of the classes ended with a John Wooden lesson. He left a legacy that will be remembered for a long time.

Also, he missed his 100th birthday by a few months. My girlfriend's great-grandfather missed his by 4 days. That is so OLD. Goes to show you what living correctly will do for you.

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