KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- This year the NCAA celebrates 75 years of the tournament and a new exhibit is honoring one of, if not the greatest college coach ever, John Wooden. It's not easy to fit all the accomplishments of the "Wizard of Westwood," but the College Basketball Experience, or CBE, is certainly trying its best.
Just outside the Hall of Fame and Coaches Corner, an 80 foot long mural displays the life and career of Wooden. The exhibit is the product of nearly of year a preparation.
"We really wanted showcase him and the behind the scenes stories of how he got to where he was, his teachings, where he came from," said Senior Manager of Facilities and operations, Jeff Gelb.
Wooden was born in Hall, Indiana in 1910 and played college basketball at Purdue University where he led the Boilermakers to a title in 1932. He then coached high school basketball in Kentucky and Indiana before making the leap to coaching college hoops. At Indiana State Teachers College (now Indiana State University) he coached his team all the way to the championship game in the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB) Tournament but lost to Louisville. This was the only championship game a Wooden-coached team ever lost.
Wooden left Southern Indiana for California, taking the head job at UCLA where he won 10 National Championships in 12 years. Seven of those titles were consecutive from 1967-1973. But the exhibit deals with more than his Wooden's success on the court.
"We've got some pretty cool documents from his time at UCLA where he basically taught his player's life skills and not just basketball," said Gelb.
Like the pyramid of success and his simple inspirational messages to his players. The tribute will on display for the next year.