Former UCLA Coach John Wooden "Resting Comfortably"

The 99-year-old legend has been in failing health

Friday, Jun 4, 2010  |  Updated 1:13 PM CDT
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Former UCLA men's basketball coach John Wooden was being treated Thursday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, it was reported Thursday.

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Legendary UCLA basketball coach John Wooden, said to be in grave condition at UCLA Medical Center, was "resting comfortably" this morning, the school reported.

UCLA is to provide an update this afternoon, but at the request of his family, no other information regarding his condition was being released.

A family member told NBCLA that the coaching legend's health has been failing for many weeks, but this week has been special for the family. Wooden, 99, has been in frail health for the past couple of years. According to media reports, he has not been eating on his own and has been on a morphine drip.

Known as the "Wizard of Westwood" for leading the Bruins to 10 NCAA championships, Wooden coached at the school from 1948 to 1975.

UCLA dominated college basketball from 1967 to 1973, with seven championship wins in a row.

"He established a goal that is unreachable in college sports," Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson said last night before the Lakers beat the Boston Celtics in Game 1 of the NBA finals at Staples Center. "His coaching has been an inspiration to all of us coaches."

The Bruins won 88 consecutive games from 1971 to 1974 and 38 consecutive NCAA tournament games from 1964 to 1974, both records.

Wooden said he was most proud of is his team's 19 conference championships.

Last year, Wooden was hospitalized for about a month with pneumonia. In 2008, he fell in his Encino condominium, suffering a hairline fracture in his left wrist and a fractured left collarbone. He spent about three weeks in a hospital recovering.

In addition to his championships and 620-147 record as UCLA's coach from 1948 to 1975, Wooden was acclaimed for the values he espoused. He had three rules for his players -- don't use profanity, be on time and never criticize a teammate.

"A Game Plan for Life: The Power of Mentoring with John Wooden," a book co-written by Wooden and Don Yaeger, was released on the former coach's 99th birthday. He also wrote a book about the Pyramid of Success, philosophincal building block for winning on the court and in life. 
 

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