Beyond The Game – Local Author Reflects On Coaching Alongside John Wooden

by | Mar 25, 2016 | Looking Back

 The select players who’ve had the opportunity to work with legendary UCLA men’s basketball coach, the late John Wooden, know he did more than just teach the game of basketball; to each player he crossed paths with, Wooden taught the game of life.  Being an athlete, you learn rules beyond just the sport: to be disciplined, to maintain self-motivation and to expect nothing but the best from yourself and your teammates.  Few knew how to impart these lessons to a young player better than Wooden, and few got the chance to witness his teachings firsthand.
Assistant Coach for The Master’s College Greg Hayes had the honor of knowing Wooden as a coach and a colleague.  During Wooden’s last two years before retirement, Hayes played for UCLA, learning from the best, and later, Hayes had the honor of working beside Wooden for 12 consecutive summers as they hosted basketball camps for youth.  Before his recent move to the college, Hayes had coached boys basketball at Canyon High School for 14 years and Valencia High School for 11 years.
“Legendary coach John Wooden is best known for his basketball success with the UCLA Bruins.  Named the Greatest Coach of the 20th Century, his inspiring teachings earned him the Presidential Medal of Freedom,” Hayes said.  “Yet long after Wooden retired from coaching, he continued to make a tremendous impact on both youth and adults at summer camp.”
To document Wooden’s post-retirement work after his passing in June 2010, Hayes authored Camp With Coach Wooden: Shows and Socks, The Pyramid and “A Little Chap.”
“I know a lot of books have been written about Coach Wooden and his success at UCLA, but the untold story of his basketball summer camps still remains,” Hayes said.
Coaching more than 40-60,000 campers, Wooden left a legacy behind that was, arguably, greater than even his UCLA D1 standings.
“Coach Wooden accomplished more in the last 35 years of his life after he retired,” Greg said.  “Kids didn’t just go to John Wooden’s basketball camps; adults and coaches went to learn from him, too.  Even after Wooden retired, he would share life lessons through his camps, individual talks and wisdom.”
Because of Hayes’ extensive one-on-one experience with Wooden, he had access to videotapes from camps, including his 30-minute 5-days-per-week drill sessions.  Hayes was able to transcribe this footage, word for word, and share it in his book.
Wooden’s voice can be heard from the tapes: “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best you are capable of becoming.”
Remembered for his success and his wisdom, Wooden’s legend lives on at UCLA and has forever left a mark on the game of basketball.  Just as he touched the lives of thousands – from players and parents to coaches like Greg Hayes – he has inspired us all to think beyond the game.
To purchase a copy of this book, go to



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