- UNC Sports Information
- Roy Williams, receiving the John R. Wooden Legends of Coaching Award at the annual ceremony held in California by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.
A legend of college basketball passed from the scene on Friday. John Wooden, who coached UCLA to 10 national championships in 12 years, died in Los Angeles at the age of 99.
Among the victims of Wooden’s Bruins was the Dean Smith-coached UNC Tar Heels, who lost the 1968 national championship game 78-55. UCLA was led in those years by Lew Alcindor, who would become better known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
UNC head coach Roy Williams released the following statement:
I am deeply saddened with the passing of Coach Wooden. He was absolutely the greatest mentor for more people than anyone I have ever known. I was very fortunate to call Coach Wooden a friend. He helped me and mentored me personally. Everyone who came into contact with him will miss him. Everyone who has ever known him feels sad with his passing although we know this is what he wanted — to be back with his wife. I will miss him and will always understand that no one ever shared as much as John Wooden shared.
Wooden finished with a career coaching record of 664-162. He was the first—and remains among the few—to be inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and as a coach.