Coaching icon John Wooden dies

June 4, 2010 at 11:06 PM
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LOS ANGELES, June 4 (UPI) -- John Wooden, who built an unmatched college basketball dynasty at UCLA, died Friday at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles the university said. He was 99.

Wooden was admitted to the hospital late last month and it had been reported on Thursday that he was in grave condition.

His tenure as coach of the Bruins, which began in 1948, made him one of the most revered figures in American sports. During his UCLA career, his teams set NCAA records with 10 national titles, 12 Final Four appearances and an 88-game winning streak.

Wooden began his stretch of NCAA titles with back-to-back crowns in 1964 and 1965. Beginning in 1967, his teams captured seven national crowns in a row -- a feat that will likely never be equaled.

His championship run came with the help of two of the top big men in the history of college basketball -- Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. Wooden, however, also won the NCAA Tournament with rosters that did not include superstars.

The streak of 38 consecutive tournament game victories ended in 1974 when the Bruins lost in the national semifinals to North Carolina State.

UCLA's 88-game winning streak came from 1971 through 1974. Wooden coached 40 years in high school and college, winning 885 games and losing 203.

The 12 Final Four trips for Wooden is one more than that made by North Carolina's Dean Smith and Duke's current coach -- Mike Krzyzewski. Smith, however, won only two national titles and Krzyzewski has four.

Wooden played college basketball at Purdue and was a member of the 1932 team that won that school's only national championship.

He was the first person to be elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.

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