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When John Wooden died June 4, 2010 at the age of 99, the basketball community lost a living legend. As coach of the UCLA Bruins, Coach Wooden experienced unprecedented (and unduplicated) success. As a player, he won a national championship at Purdue University. He was a three-time All-American. As a coach, he won 10 national championships in 12 years (including 7 in a row). From 1971-74, his teams won an NCAA basketball record 88 consecutive games. He accomplished this, in some cases, with superstar players and, in others, with brilliant teamwork. In 40 seasons of coaching, he had only one losing season (his first). He is the only person to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach.


M1. Read the full article. As you do, develop a list of traits that made John Wooden an effective leader. What are the top three traits that you believe would generalize to any leader in any situation?

M2. Coach Wooden definitely had a dominant leadership style. What was it (i.e., task-motivated or relationship-motivated)? Examine Fiedler’s Contingency Theory and identify the things Wooden did that ultimately translated into success.

M3. In what ways did Coach Wooden embody Drucker’s “Old-Fashioned” Leadership?

M4. Now examine the models of change leadership and Figure 10.2. What are the key factors that moved Coach Wooden from a “status quo manager” to the kind of leader he needed to be to achieve consistent success?

    SOURCE: B. Dwyre & D. Wharton, “John Wooden Dies at 99,” Los Angeles Times (Retrievable online at,0,409375.story)

    See also: D. Wharton & C. Foster, “John Wooden’s Words Live On in the Hearts of His Admirers,” Los Angeles Times (Retrievable online at,0,2447678.story)

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