Indianapolis─As Indianapolis prepares to host the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four, another milestone approaches—the 40th anniversary of legendary UCLA coach John Wooden’s record-setting 10th NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship and his retirement from the game he loved. To celebrate, author Barbara Olenyik Morrow will sign copies of the new Indiana Historical Society (IHS) Press book Hardwood Glory: A Life of John Wooden at two downtown locations, April 3 and 4.
Morrow will appear at the NCAA Hall of Champions (700 W. Washington St., Indianapolis) from 1 to 3 p.m. on Friday, April 3. On April 4, she will sign books at Indy Reads Books (911 Massachusetts Ave.,Indianapolis) from 1 to 3 p.m. There is no cost to attend either signing.
The book, which includes a foreword by UCLA men’s basketball coach Steve Alford, brings to life the man who helped define college basketball in the 20th century and became an American sports icon. His name is forever identified with the University of California, Los Angeles, where in the 1960s and 1970s he built a basketball dynasty and coached Bruin teams to unprecedented success: 10 national championships in 12 years, seven national titles in a row, four perfect seasons, and an 88-game winning streak—NCAA men’s records that still stand.
To speak only of Wooden’s UCLA coaching career, however, is to overlook a significant part of his life story. Born in Indiana, he remained proud of his Hoosier roots throughout his long life—he died in 2010, just months shy of his 100th birthday. He visited his home state whenever possible, maintained contacts with old friends, and always stayed true to the Midwestern values instilled in him by his family and teachers. In 1948, when Wooden accepted UCLA’s head basketball job at just 37 years of age, few West Coasters had ever heard of him—but plenty of Hoosiers had.
Known by neighbors as “John Bob” while grow¬ing up on a Morgan County farm near Centerton, Wooden learned to toss a rag-stuffed ball through a tomato basket nailed to a barn wall. As the accomplished athlete nicknamed “Pert,” he helped the MartinsvilleHigh School basketball team compete in three state championships. At PurdueUniversity, where he was a three-time All-American guard, fans knew him as the “India Rubber Man” because of his hustle and dives for loose balls. Before the rest of the nation knew him as “Coach,” “Johnny” Wooden honed his hoops-teaching skills atSouth Bend Central High School and later at Indiana State Teachers College (now Indiana State University in Terre Haute).
Readers young and old alike will meet the coaches who served as Wooden’s mentors, the high-school sweetheart who became his devoted wife, and the players who both respected and challenged him. They will also learn how fans revered him not just for his coaching record, but also for his decency and common-sense wisdom—dispensed in his homespun maxims, such as “never mistake activity for accomplishment” and highlighted in his well-known “Pyramid of Success.”
Full of archival photos, this biography also shows how Wooden’s story is inseparable from major events and social currents in the 20th century, from the Great Depression to civil-rights struggles and campus unrest during the Vietnam War.
For more information on Hardwood Glory: A Life of John Wooden and other IHS Press publications, call (317) 232-1882 or visit www.indianahistory.org.
About the Author
Barbara Olenyik Morrow is a journalist and author from Auburn, Ind., who has been a Pulitzer Prize finalist for editorial writing. Her youth biography of novelist and conservationist Gene Stratton-Porter was published by the IHS Press in 2010. Morrow’s other books include From Ben-Hur to Sister Carrie, in which she profiled five Hoosier writers during Indiana’s golden age of literature, and A Good Night for Freedom, a well-received children’s picture book.
About the Indiana Historical Society
Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving, interpreting and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor exhibitions called the Indiana Experience. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups, publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; produces and hosts art exhibitions, museum theater and outside performance groups; and provides youth, adult and family programming.
Title: Hardwood Glory: A Life of John Wooden
Pages: 240, black-and-white illustrations
Size: 7 x 8.5
Publication Date: November 2014
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