John Wooden continues to 'rest comfortably,' UCLA says
Former UCLA Coach John Wooden continues to “rest comfortably” at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, according to statement released by UCLA on Friday afternoon.
No information was given about his condition. But Wooden, 99, is in grave condition, according to sources who have seen him but are not authorized to speak publicly about the situation. He has refused food, one of the sources said.
Family members are at Wooden’s side, the UCLA statement said, but a parade of former players and other friends have come to the hospital in recent days, including Bill Walton, Jamaal Wilkes and Michael Warren.
Wilkes told the Associated Press that Wooden recognized him and that the coach's mind remains "sharp as a tack," although he says the Wooden's body is "very, very frail."
Wooden’s family said in the release, “tell all of coach’s fans that their thoughts and prayers are truly appreciated.”
Wooden won 10 national championships as UCLA’s coach before retiring after winning the 1974-75 title.
But 35 years later his influence is still felt on the UCLA campus.
“Years ago when my little brother had a brain tumor, my dad sent Coach Wooden a letter asking for a copy of his ‘Pyramid of Success,’ ” said Caity Campos, a 19-year old UCLA freshman who works in the football office.
“Coach Wooden had never met my dad, but he sent an autographed copy that said, ‘To David and his dad, best wishes.’ That meant a lot to David. He was given little chance to live, but ended up getting a degree from Stanford.”
Campos said that her father, who is a teacher, "still has the autographed Pyramid hanging in his classroom.”
Photo: John Wooden in 2005. Credit: Chris Carlson, AP.