John Wooden: Quotes from the Legendary Basketball Coach

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison04/19/22


Today, it’s incomprehensible for many fans to understand just how successful John Wooden was during his coaching career. Having briefly coached Indiana State before taking over at UCLA in 1948, Wooden would go on to coach the Bruins through the 1974-75 season. While there, John Wooden was one of the most outstanding coaches of his time or any other. That includes winning 19 conference championships at UCLA and 10 National Championships in 12 seasons. In the early 1970s, John Wooden even led UCLA to 88 straight wins.

Undoubtedly, John Wooden is a near myth in college basketball history. Still, he had a massive impact on the players he coached and the fans of UCLA who loved him. Here are a few of his greatest quotes:

10 Best Quotes From John Wooden

  • “Success is never final, failure is never fatal, and it’s courage that counts.”
  • “The true test of a man’s character is what he does when no one is watching.”
  • “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.”
  • “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.”
  • “It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.”
  • “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.”
  • “The best competition I have is against myself, to become better.”
  • “Today is the only day. Yesterday’s gone.”
  • “We can have no progress without change, whether it be basketball or anything else.”
  • “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.”

Inspirational Quotes From Wooden

  • “Never cease trying to be the best you can be.”
  • “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.”
  • “If you are afraid to fail, you will never do the things you are capable of doing.”
  • “Nothing will work unless you do.”
  • “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendships a fine art, drink deeply from good books—especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.”

Leadership Quotes From John Wooden

  • “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.”
  • “Whatever you do in life, surround yourself with smart people who’ll argue with you.”
  • “It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.”
  • “I worry that business leaders are more interested in material gain than they are in having the patience to build up a strong organization, and a strong organization starts with caring for their people.”

Funny Quotes From Wooden

  • “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”
  • “The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.”
  • “My eyesight is not nearly as good. My hearing is probably going away. My memory is slipping too. But I’m still around.”

Team Attitude Quotes From John Wooden

  • “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”
  • “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.”
  • “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes.”
  • “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.”
  • “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.”

Success Quotes From Wooden

  • “Success is peace of mind which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you did your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.”
  • “Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.”
  • “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.”
  • “Success comes from knowing that you did your best to become the best that you capable of becoming.”