Two Coaches

Two men died this week in California.  Both will be identified as athletic coaches but both made impacts far beyond the boundaries of their games.

John Wooden was coach of ten national championship teams at the helm of UCLA, and walked away on top after winning his tenth, but his biggest contribution to us was counsel he gave to other coaches and leaders for the next 35 years with his Woodenisms. Since I’m in PR, my favorite Woodenism is “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.”

In 1978, Charlie Wedemeyer was 32 years old and football coach at Los Gatos High School when he was diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig’s Diseases, and given two to three years to live.  Seven years later, with his wife relaying plays for him, as he had lost the ability to talk, he led his team to a Central Coast Championship.  He died on Thursday. 32 years after the diagnosis. He traveled the world giving “speeches,” with his words spoken by others.

Both of these men were incredibly successful in the first phase of their life, but may have had a greater impact on the world in their second phase of life.  That is a wonderful lesson to remember.


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