John Wooden Bio And Facts

John Wooden

John Wooden

John Wooden was an American basketball player and coach, most known for his success coaching the UCLA Bruins from 1948-1975. Wooden was born October 14, 1910, in Hall, Indiana, where he took a liking to basketball at a young age. He attended Purdue University where he played point guard and shooting guard for the Boilermakers. Following his graduation in 1932, Wooden went pro, playing in the National Basketball League, while coaching at Dayton High School, in Kentucky. During World War II, Wooden joined the US Navy as a lieutenant. He served from 1942-1946.

Following the War, Wooden accepted his first collegiate head coaching job with Indiana State Teachers College. Wooden also served as the school's athletic director and baseball coach, while teaching for the college and completing his master’s degree. In 1947, Wooden led the school to the Indiana Intercollegiate Conference title, which led to an invitation to the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball Tournament. Wooden would decline the invitation because the tournament banned African-American players from competing.

In 1948, Wooden took over the UCLA coaching job, after the program was perceived to be a disaster. Wooden instantly turned the program around. He captured 10 NCAA Championships in a 12-year span, including seven National Championships in a row. His 10 National Championships is still the most of any coach in NCAA history.

Wooden died on June 4, 2010, and is remembered as one of the best coaches in sports history, paving the way for many who came after him.

Basic Info:

  • Born: October 14, 1910
  • Died: June 4, 2010
  • Birthplace: Hall, Indiana
  • Education: Purdue University
  • Net Worth: $5 million
  • Occupations: Collegiate Basketball Coach, Collegiate Baseball coach, Athletic Director, College Professor, Professional Basketball Player, US Navy Lieutenant
  • Position: Guard
  • Years Active as Player: 10 years
  • Years Active as Coach: 43 years
  • Career Wins: 664 wins
  • Career Losses: 162 losses
  • Nicknames: Wizard of Westwood
  • Teams: Indiana State, UCLA

Social Media:

Net Worth

John Wooden’s estimated net worth is $5 million. The exact terms of his coaching contracts are unclear because, when he coached, contract details were not made public. Much of his net worth was accumulated from a licensing deal signed with IMG, designed to pass down Wooden's legacy for generations in the future.


John Wooden was truly a jack of all trades in the basketball world. His basketball career began when he attended Purdue University, where he started as a guard. Following his graduation, Wooden played professionally in the NBL, even winning the scoring title in 1933. He did this while coaching high school basketball at the same time in Dayton, Kentucky, and later in South Bend, Indiana.

In 1942, Wooden entered the United States Navy during World War II. He left the military in 1946 as a lieutenant. Following the war, Wooden started his college coaching career at Indiana State. He also served as the school’s Athletic Director, baseball coach, and basketball coach, even teaching classes as a professor while completing his master’s degree.

In 1948, Wooden took over a dismantled UCLA basketball program, and immediately turned them around. With Wooden at the helm, UCLA won 10 National Championships in 12 seasons, including seven titles in a row, from 1967 through 1973. During his tenure at UCLA, the Bruins won an NCAA-record 88 games in a row.

Wooden was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame for his playing career in 1960, and again in 1973, this time as a coach, becoming the first person to be inducted into the Hall of Fame for two categories. He was also inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Titles And Awards

John Wooden’s lengthy career as both a basketball player and a coach unsurprisingly led him to being awarded a number of accolades. Some of his most notable titles and awards are listed below:


As a player:

  • 1932 Helms and Premo-Porretta National Champion

As a coach:

  • 10-time National Champion
  • 12 Final Four Appearances (Regional Champion)
  • 15-time Pac-12 Champion
  • Three-time PCC Champion


As a player:

  • 1938 All-NBL First-Team
  • 1933 NBL Scoring Leader
  • Three-time Consensus All-American
  • 1932 Helms Player of the Year
  • 1932 Big Ten Medal of Honor
  • 1960 Hall of Fame Inductee

As a coach:

  • Five-time AP College Coach of the Year
  • Seven-time Henry Iba Award Winner
  • Five-time NABC Coach of the Year
  • 2003 Presidential Medal of Freedom
  • 1973 Hall of Fame Inductee
  • 2006 College Basketball Hall of Fame Inductee

Personal Life

John Wooden grew up on a farm in Centerton, Indiana, with his mother Roxie and his father Joshua. In 1932, Woden married his wife Nellie at the age of 21. The couple had two children, James Hugh Wooden and Nancy Anne Muehlhausen. Wooden has labeled himself a devout Christian, and has noted his faith being one of the main influences for his success. Wooden passed away in 2010.

Fun Facts

  • John Wooden has the most National Championships in NCAA coaching history, with 10.
  • In his time at Indiana State, Wooden served as the Athletic Director, baseball coach, basketball coach, and professor, all while completing his master's degree.
  • John Wooden won 88 games in a row at UCLA.
  • Wooden joined the US Navy during World War II.
  • Wooden was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and coach, becoming the first to do so.


Who did John Wooden coach at UCLA?

John Wooden coached many great players during his time at UCLA. Among those are Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton.

How many National Championships did John Wooden win?

John Wooden won 10 National Championships, winning all 10 in a 12-year span. UCLA won seven National Championships in a row, and also won 88 games in a row. Both are NCAA records.