John Wooden Statue


The John Wooden statue, which was dedicated Sept. 24, 2016, stands near the northwest side of Mackey Arena in the Sally & Bob Weist Plaza.

Before his name became synonymous with success as head coach at UCLA, Wooden was a standout student-athlete at Purdue.

Playing for coach Ward "Piggy" Lambert, who he credited with having the biggest influence on his basketball career, Wooden was a three-time All-American and the 1932 National Player of the Year. As a senior, he averaged 12.2 points per game in leading the Boilermakers to a 17-1 record and the Big Ten Championship. Purdue was named national champions by the Helms Athletic Foundation.

At UCLA from 1948 to 1975, the master technician amassed a 620-147 record, an extraordinary .808 winning percentage. The Bruins captured 10 national championships, including seven in a row from 1966 to 1973, and 19 Pac-10 titles. They put together unfathomable winning streaks of 88 games and 38 NCAA Tournament contests.

A native of Martinsville, Indiana, Wooden is one of just three individuals enshrined in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as a player (1961) and a coach (1973), along with Bill Sharman and Lenny Wilkens.

Known for being humble and unassuming, Wooden, who passed away in 2010 at the age of 99, was held in high esteem for his impeccable moral character.

The statue is gift of alumnus Jim Hicks and was designed by Julie Rotblatt-Amrany of Highland, Illinois, portraying Wooden during his playing days. Hicks, a 1961 Purdue graduate, and his wife, Neta, donated $2 million to establish the Jim and Neta Hicks Endowment for Leadership in Agriculture at the university. Part of the gift was used to fund the Wooden statue.

Behind the 7-foot bronze statue is Wooden's legendary Pyramid of Success, a building block of character qualities.

"Not many people think of Johnny Wooden as a Boilermaker, but when I got here in 1957, some of the old-timers still remembered him as a player,'' Hicks said. ''I'm so delighted that people will see this statue and read his Pyramid of Success because I think the pyramid was his most important contribution.''

"Jim Hicks has been a great friend to the College of Agriculture and Purdue University for many years,'' said Jay Akridge, Glenn W. Sample Dean of the Purdue College of Agriculture. ''He has a deep passion for and commitment to our students and our educational programs, and his investments in scholarships and co-curricular activities will help us prepare the next generation of leaders. It is fitting that this leader and man of character would choose to fund a statue dedicated to an extraordinary Boilermaker leader and man of character, John Wooden.''

In 2009, the Purdue Athletics Department established the John R. Wooden Leadership Institute to accelerate the leadership development of Boilermaker student-athletes. Resources include the Pyramid of Success and a series of speakers designed to highlight each of Wooden's 15 building blocks for a better life.


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