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Wooden's family says he needs a break

March 3, 2009 |  4:02 pm

The flood of items that fans send to John Wooden, asking for his autograph, has become too much for the aging former coach to handle, his family said.

Wooden was recently hospitalized with pneumonia. He was said to be recovering, but his children worry about the workload of replying to so many fan requests.

"The amount of mail Dad receives on a weekly basis is just overwhelming, and that doesn’t include items sent to the basketball office at UCLA," Nan Muehlhausen and Jim Wooden, the coach’s daughter and son, said in a joint statement.

"Dad would try to sign every item if he could, but the number of items he is receiving has increased greatly in the last few months and the family feels it is time to make this request," the statement continued. "We hope everyone understands and respects our request. Dad is 98 years old and we believe that signing his name for hours on end on a daily basis is not in his best interest."

Items that have already been sent will be returned to the senders, the family said.

-- David Wharton