They Call Me CoachThey Call Me Coach

by John Wooden


I am a basketball lover through and through. I grew up with a father that was an NAIA All-American and who coached high school basketball for nearly 20 years. As one of five boys (and one girl) that ate, breathed, and slept basketball, basketball was religion for us, (outside of, you know, religion). And the Christmas of that religion is March Madness. In honor of the month of March, we’re going to be looking at some of my favorite basketball books over the next few weeks.

John Wooden is arguably the greatest basketball coach ever, and his book “They Call Me Coach” has life lessons aplenty.

When I am interviewed as an author, one out of every three or four interviews asks me if I have a favorite quote. I either answer a quote from Brothers Karamazov or one of the first two quotes here from John Wooden. Enjoy the wisdom the John Wooden. R.I.P. Coach.


“Things work out best for those who make the best of the way things work out.”


“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”


“Don’t let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do. ”


“Five years from now, you’re the same person except for the people you’ve met and the books you’ve read.”


“Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”


“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?”


“The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”


“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”


“Discipline yourself and others won’t need to.”


“Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating…too often fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living they forget to make a life.”


“The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”


“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.”


“Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.”


“Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”


“Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.”


“‎”Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”


“Don’t mistake activity with achievement.”


“Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”


“Happiness begins where selfishness ends.”


“It is amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.”


“Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.”


“Never try to be better than someone else. Learn from others, and try to be the best you can be. Success is the by-product of that preparation.”


“Listen if you want to be heard”


“Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time”



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Sticky Books are those that you just can’t get out of your head. They stick with you long after you have put the book down and have moved on to something else. These are some of my Sticky Books. I don’t enjoy reviewing books myself. I find I am either full of far too much praise for the book because I know how difficult it can be to write a book, or I am far too negative about a book because, well, I guess I was just in a bad mood. So instead of reviews, I have pulled some of my favorite quotes from each Sticky Book.