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Wednesday, Oct 4, 2023

PUBLISHER’S NOTEBOOK–Wizard of Westwood an American Icon

The definition of an icon is an object of uncritical devotion, an idol.

Among the younger MTV population it would be a rock singer of some sort. In the computer industry, it could be the small devices that you click on to enter into cyberspace.

An icon to a luncheon group March 3 at the Mission Valley Marriott was John Wooden, the former head basketball coach at UCLA. He was among America’s most prolific trainers of young men.

His teams at one time won 88 consecutive NCAA Division I basketball games, seven consecutive national basketball championships, and racked up 38 consecutive NCAA tournament victories. He is the winningest coach in NCAA history, with 905 victories and only 205 losses, including four undefeated seasons.

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He is the only person in history to be elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach, and I got to sit next to him for two hours on March 3 and see first-hand what a true American sports icon looks and acts like.

At nearly 90 years old, he can hold his own against just about anyone. He held an audience of several hundred spellbound as he spoke for about 40 minutes without a single note or TelePrompter.

He wrote the first draft of his Pyramid of Success in 1936, and continued refining it until right after World War II, when he published it. There are 15 building blocks in his pyramid, beginning with his definition of success.

“Success is a peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

So how did a modest man of normal height and weight make winners out of nearly every male who signed on with him for more than 29 years? His Pyramid of Success had a lot to do with it, I’m sure. Here are his 15 steps, or blocks, to build his pyramid and his men.

– Enthusiasm

– Cooperation

– Loyalty

– Friendship

– Industriousness

– Intentness

– Initiative

– Alertness

– Self-control

– Team spirit

– Skill

– Condition

– Confidence

– Poise

– Competitive greatness

Coach Wooden spoke about many facets of his philosophy in building leaders. Here are some excerpts or sayings that he has used throughout the years.

– Never mistake activity for achievement.

– Never try to be better than someone else, just try to be your best and that’s success.

– Strength comes from adversity.

– Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.

– Be quick but don’t hurry.

– Be at your best when your best is needed.

If you ever see John Wooden’s name on a speaking program, buy a ticket and go, listen to the Wizard of Westwood speak and you won’t be sorry.

To the balance sheet:

Credit: To San Diego City Councilman Harry Mathis for analyzing his campaign coffers and then establishing a pro-rata way of returning the money to his donors. A first in my memory of a politician returning money. Harry is leaving office this year because of term limits and is going out in style. Harry has always been a class act and this just proves my point. Good luck, Harry.

Credit: To Ed McKellar, the outgoing executive director of the San Diego Aerospace Museum in Balboa Park. Ed’s 20-year tenure at the helm of the museum has left the public with a tremendous treasure that physically provides the visitor with a walk through aviation history. Ed took over two years after the l978 arson fire in the park that destroyed one of the replicas of Charles Lindbergh’s “Spirit of St. Louis.” Under Ed’s leadership, our museum has grown to become one of the top five in the nation. Good luck, Ed, on your retirement. You left us a magnificent legacy.

Credit: To all the voters in the state who supported Proposition lA allowing Indian gaming to continue to exist and to flourish. The Native Americans have fought many battles to win their liberty and freedom to allow them the same free-enterprise opportunities all of us have. All I can say is it is about time.


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