Bill Bennett served as UCLA's sports information director for 22 years. Last year, in the Bruin Blue, the newspaper for UCLA athletics, he wrote of his experience with former UCLA coach John Wooden when Coach Wooden was being inducted into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.
I've included here an excerpt from Bill's excellent article:
Coach Wooden will always say one of the great influences in his life was his father, Joshua Hugh Wooden. He talks about the philosophies his father handed down to him: “Two Sets of Threes” –
1. Never lie.
2. Never cheat.
3. Never steal.
1. Don’t whine.
2. Don’t complain.
3. Don’t make excuses.
On the day Coach Wooden graduated from elementary school in Centerton, Ind., he received from his father [Joshua Wooden] a two-dollar bill (which Coach Wooden would give to his own son Jim) and a 3 x 5 card.
Written on one side of that card was a verse by the Rev. Henry Van Dyke and on the opposite side, Joshua’s personal Seven Point Creed (Coach Wooden still carries a copy of the Creed with him) –
1. Be true to yourself.
2. Make each day your masterpiece.
3. Help others.
4. Drink deeply from good books, including the Good Book.
5. Make friendship a fine art.
6. Build a shelter against a rainy day.
7. Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.
Four things a man must learn to do
If he would make his life more true:
To think without confusion clearly,
To love his fellow-man sincerely,
To act from honest motives purely,
To trust in God and Heaven securely.
--Henry Van Dyke
Coach Wooden goes on to say he is proud to have been selected into the Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame and is "so grateful to those that love this wonderful game."
He ends his acceptance with a poem, entitled God's Hall of Fame:
This crowd on Earth, they soon forget, the heroes of the past.
They cheer like mad, until you fall and that's how long you last.
But God, He never does forget, and in his Hall of Fame,
Inscribed up there beyond the stars, engraved you'll find your name.
I'll tell you friends I wouldn't trade, my name however small,
Inscribed up there beyond the stars in that celestial hall.
For any famous name on earth or glory that they share,
I'd rather be an unknown here and have my name up There.
After Coach Wooden's poem recital, you could hear a pin drop as the tears flowed.
[To read the full story, click here for the PDF version.]