John Wooden, 95 and counting, 2005

Wooden, two days before turning 95, prepares to blow out the candles on his birthday cake at Encino-Tarzana Regional Medical Center.
See full story (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times / October 12, 2005)

1) He was born in Hall, Ind., on Oct. 14, 1910.

2) Wooden led Martinsville High to the Indiana state title in 1927.

3) One of his role models was Fuzzy Vandivier of the Franklin Wonder Five, a basketball team that dominated Indiana high school basketball from 1919 to 1922.

4) He was a three-time high school all-state selection.

5) Wooden met his future wife, Nell Riley, at a carnival in July 1926.

6) They married in August 1932. Afterward, they attended a Mills Brothers concert to celebrate.

7) Wooden and Nell were married 53 years before Nell's death in 1985.

8) Wooden enrolled at Purdue, where he won varsity letters in basketball and baseball his freshman year .

9) He was a three-time consensus All-American in 1930-32.

10) Wooden led the Boilermakers to two Big Ten titles and the 1932 national championship.

11) While playing basketball at Purdue, Wooden was nicknamed "the Indiana Rubber Man" for his dives on the hardcourt.

12) Wooden is noted for his quotes about life and sportsmanship, such as: "Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be."

13) After college, he spent several years playing professionally.

14) During one 46-game stretch, he made 134 consecutive free throws.

15) His first coaching job was at Dayton High in Kentucky.

16) In his first year, the team was 6-11, his only losing record as a coach.

17) Wooden coached basketball, baseball and tennis at South Bend Central High in Indiana. His 11-year high school coaching record was 218-42.

18) World War II interrupted his coaching career and he was a lieutenant in the Navy from 1943 to 1946.

19) Following his discharge in 1946, he went to Indiana Teachers College (now Indiana State University) as athletic director, basketball and baseball coach for two seasons.