Well Done, Coach


“For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.” -Psalm 84:10

Set While talking with his son, John Wooden told him that he needed to shave because he was going to see his bride very soon. The basketball coaching legend knew his final breath was coming, and he wanted to be ready to meet his Maker and his wife. Going home to glory at the age of 99, Wooden left an example for all coaches, no matter what the sport, to follow.

NBA great Jerry West said, “He did not have two sets of rules for his players…they all played under the same rules.” Wooden was true to his faith in Christ, true to his family, and true to his fundamentals of life, which had been taught to him by his parents back in Indiana so many years ago.

As great a coach as Wooden was on this earth, and as many titles and trophies he won, I have no doubt that he would have traded them for a single day in the presence of the Lord. I’m sure that even the greatest feeling of a national title was nothing compared to the moment when Wooden met Christ face-to-face. Coach knew that Heaven, not Westwood, was not his true home. He lived a simple life and passed it on to many. He held seven personal “keys to life,” and followed them closely. They included…

  1. Be true to yourself.
  2. Help others.
  3. Make each day your masterpiece.
  4. Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
  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.

We can learn a lot from examining Coach Wooden’s keys to life. I know I have. Coach Wooden had a profound influence on my life, and I was blessed to meet him at a coaching clinic many years ago. Here I was, a regular coach, and all I wanted to do was listen and hear more about him. But he wanted to know all about me and my coaching. What a humble man.

Coach Wooden is now in a better Hall of Fame—one with streets of gold. There, his championships mean nothing and he can sit with his bride and share the joy of Heaven with the saints of old. I thank the Lord for this man’s impact, influence and Christ-like example. I am sure he was greeted with the line we all want to hear when our time comes: “Well done, my good and faithful servant.” Coach Wooden, thank you for being a blessing to countless coaches, athletes and fans around the world.

  1. What is your favorite John Wooden saying, book or memory?
  2. Which of Wooden’s “keys to life” do you need to put into practice? Why?
  3. How will you incorporate that key?
  4. What will you take from Wooden’s legacy to apply to your coaching, competing and lifestyle?

Philippians 1:3
Matthew 25:23
Titus 2:7 (How Wooden taught.)

Listen to Coach Wooden in an interview on an archived Sharing the Victory Radio program
(listen now)

Browse all of FCA's Coach Wooden resources
(visit now)

Bible Reference: 
Titus 2