The sporting world lost what might be its most famous coach on Friday. Longtime UCLA men’s basketball coach John Wooden died at the age of 99.
One thing I was reminded of yesterday when reading his obituary story that moved on the AP wire was how Wooden nearly ended up coaching the University of Minnesota.
The bespectacled former high school teacher ended up at UCLA almost by accident. Wooden was awaiting a call from the University of Minnesota for its head coaching job and thought he had been passed over when it didn’t come. In the meantime, UCLA called, and he accepted the job in Los Angeles.
Minnesota officials called later that night, saying they couldn’t get through earlier because of a snowstorm, and offered him the job. Though Wooden wanted it more than the UCLA job, he told them he already had given UCLA his word and could not break it.
You wonder how different college basketball would be had he taken the Gophers job.