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John Wooden Dead at 99

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John Wooden, the Wizard of Westwood, has died 6:45 pm at the age of 99 - five months short of his 100th birthday. Wooden was taken to the UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center in grave condition on Friday suffering from dehydration. The official cause of death has not been released. Born on October 14, 1910 in Hall, IN, Wooden was a three-time All-State high school basketball player in Indiana winning the state championship finals in 1927. He then went to Purdue University where he led the Boilermakers to a National Championship in 1932.

Wooden began his coaching career with Dayton High School in Kentucky in 1932 and had his first college job with Indiana Teacher’s College (now Indiana State University) in 1946.

Wooden then went on to UCLA in 1948 where he went on to win 10 National Championships and 19 conference titles until he retired in 1975. His focus on fundamentals made the Bruins a powerhouse when they ripped off an 88-game winning streak from 1971 to 1974. He was known for teaching each player how to put on their socks and shoes on the first day of practice every year.

Among those he coached were Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (nee Lew Alcindor), Bill Walton, Jamaal Wilkes, Gail Goodrich and Walt Hazzard.

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Wooden leaves behind a son, a daughter, seven grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.