John Wooden has long gone down in UCLA legend for the basketball teams he coached. The ‘Wizard of Westwood’ won ten NCAA national championships in twelve years as head coach at UCLA, and one of his teams once won a record 88 consecutive games. He was named national coach of the year six times.
Wooden passed away last year, just four months shy of his 100th birthday. However, his memory will live on in a new statue that will be situated at Pauley Pavilion, the basketball floor where his teams racked up an astonishing 149-2 record.
The floor is already named the “Nell and John Wooden Court” after the legendary coach and his wife. The statue is set to be unveiled at the reopening of the newly renovated Pauley Pavilion in 2012.
The statue will be crafted by Blair Buswell, head sculptor for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero said:
“I, along with some of my staff, was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to visit his studio and see his initial maquettes [concepts] for the statue when the football team played at Utah last weekend. The studio contains life-size replicas of some of his outstanding work, including statues of Jack Nicklaus, Mickey Mantle and Merlin Olsen … what an amazing place. I cannot wait until we unveil the final product.”
Indeed. A fitting tribute to one of only three men named a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player and as a coach.