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John Wooden’s Statue   4 comments

John Wooden created the UCLA basketball program.  He inherited a program that was mediocre, at best, in the Pacific Coast Conference, going 12-13 the year before Wooden came in.

Under Wooden’s leadership, he began by winning 4 straight conference championships.  From that ostentatious beginning, Wooden built the UCLA program to unprecedented levels.

  • Four undefeated seasons.  No other college basketball coach has more than one
  • Ten national titles
  • And his never-to-be-broken record:  Seven straight national titles

Part of Wooden’s lore is that he recruited Lew Alcindor — one of, if not the greatest college player of all time — by saying that he was building a new basketball arena just for him.  If he would only come to UCLA!

Of course, Lew Alcindor came to LA, was a part of 3 national championship teams, and was the MVP of the tournament each of those 3 years.  Imagine that!

A careful watcher could have seen this coming, though.  After the June 1965 completion of Pauley, it hosted its first basketball game that fall:  an exhibition between the NCAA Champion varsity team, and the freshman team led by Lew Alcindor.  The freshman team won!

And Pauley Pavilion became an icon of college basketball.  That began with the building’s dedication in 1965.  A renovation was announced in 2007, and completed this year.  The first game is on Friday against Indiana State … ironically, the first college team coached by John Wooden.

Here’s a photo collection of the new Pauley Pavilion, taken today at the public open house.  A new statue of John Wooden was unveiled a few days ago; it’s on the north side of the building, facing UCLA’s intramural fields.

John R. Wooden
UCLA Head Basketball Coach 1948 – 1975
“Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.”

The concourse is filled with testaments to John Wooden and his legacy at Pauley Pavilion.

The new expanded concourse surrounding the court features huge murals dedicated to the sports that play in Pauley, which will host the 2013 NCAA Men’s Volleyball championship.  The John Wooden quote at the bottom: “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.”

Pauley will also host the 2013 NCAA women’s gymnastic championship. The Wooden text: Make each day your masterpiece.

The Wooden text under the basketball mural: “Be at your best when your best is needed.”

UCLA celebrates “Champions Made Here.” They have currently earned 108 NCAA championships, the most of any university.  Each of the 108 championships are listed on the northern side of the concourse.

Pillars in the concourse have signs dedicated to noteworthy events in the illustrious history of Pauley, including Lew Alcindor’s 1967 record of 61 points in one game, which still stands today.

Pauley Pavilion is unique in college sports:  only national championship banners hang from the rafters.  Conference championships — of which there are many — are not showcased.

The home and visitor’s benches have been moved to the north side of the Nell and John Wooden Court. A video ribbon has been added around the arena.

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