John Wooden is quite arguably the greatest coach in NCAA college basketball history. Actually, he may be the greatest coach ever. Known for his amazing quotes that help put life into perspective, here is a list of the 101 of the best John Wooden quotes that we believe will inspire and motivate you to achieve more in life.

Despite winning more than 10 NCAA championships, Wooden was known for much more than his ability to win basketball games. Respectfully, Wooden is revered for his list of “Woodenisms”, which are simple rules and life maxims that anyone can apply, especially athletes and coaches, in order to be a better version of themselves.

Below is a list of our 101 favorite John wooden quotes, from the “Wizard of Westwood” himself, that we have pulled from books, interviews, and speeches to help motivate you to become the best that you’re capable of becoming.

Because, according to Wooden, that’s how we all become successful in life.

Spongecoach’s List of 101 Amazing John Wooden Quotes

101. “A coach is someone who can give correction without causing resentment.” – John Wooden

100. “Just try to be the best you can be; never cease trying to be the best you can be. That’s in your power.” – John Wooden

99. “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.” – John Wooden

98. “In the end, it’s about the teaching, and what I always loved about coaching was the practices. Not the games, not the tournaments, not the alumni stuff. But teaching the players during practice was what coaching was all about to me.” – John Wooden

97. “Talent is God given. Be humble. Fame is man-given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be careful.” – John Wooden

96. “Adversity is the state in which man most easily becomes acquainted with himself, being especially free of admirers then.” – John Wooden

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95. “It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”– John Wooden

94. “I think you have to be what you are. Don’t try to be somebody else. You have to be yourself at all times.” – John Wooden

93. “Be true to yourself. Make each day a masterpiece. Help others. Drink deeply from good books. Make friendship a fine art. Build a shelter against a rainy day.” – John Wooden

92. “So often we fail to acknowledge what we have because we’re so concerned about what we want.” – John Wooden

91. “It isn’t what you do, but how you do it.” – John Wooden

90. “Material possessions, winning scores, and great reputations are meaningless in the eyes of the Lord, because He knows what we really are and that is all that matters.” – John Wooden

89. “The best competition I have is against myself to become better.” – John Wooden

88. “The most important thing in the world is family and love.” – John Wooden

87. “I had three rules for my players: No profanity. Don’t criticize a teammate. Never be late.” – John Wooden

86. “Failure is not fatal, but failure to change might be.” – John Wooden

85. “The worst thing about new books is that they keep us from reading the old ones.” – John Wooden

84. “Friendship is two-sided. It isn’t a friend just because someone’s doing something nice for you. That’s a nice person. There’s friendship when you do for each other. It’s like marriage – it’s two-sided.” – John Wooden

83. “If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything. I’m positive that a doer makes mistakes.” – John Wooden

82. “Be true to yourself, help others, make each day your masterpiece, make friendship a fine art, drink deeply from good books – especially the Bible, build a shelter against a rainy day, give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day.” – John Wooden

81. “Today is the only day. Yesterday is gone.” – John Wooden

80. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden

79. “Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.” – John Wooden

78. “There’s as much crookedness as you want to find. There was something Abraham Lincoln said – he’d rather trust and be disappointed than distrust and be miserable all the time. Maybe I trusted too much.” – John Wooden

77. “Young people need role models, not critics.” – John Wooden

76. “You can lose when you outscore somebody in a game. And you can win when you’re outscored.” – John Wooden

Related: If you love our list of 101 John Wooden Quotes, You Will Love His Game Plan For Life

75. “I am just a common man who is true to his beliefs.” – John Wooden

74. “I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.” – John Wooden

73. “If a player’s not doing the things he should, put him on the bench. He’ll come around.” – John Wooden

72. “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.” – John Wooden

71. “I think the teaching profession contributes more to the future of our society than any other single profession.” – John Wooden

70. “Be quick, but don’t hurry. When you hurry you’re more apt to make mistakes. But you have to be quick. If you’re not quick you can’t get things done.” – John Wooden

69. “All of life is peaks and valleys. Don’t let the peaks get too high and the valleys too low.” – John Wooden

68. “If I were a young coach today, I would be extremely careful in selecting assistants.” – John Wooden

67. “Never mistake activity for achievement.” – John Wooden

66. “I think that in any group activity – whether it be business, sports, or family – there has to be leadership or it won’t be successful.” – John Wooden

65. “Be honest and be prepared.” – John Wooden

64. “If I am through learning, I am through.” – John Wooden

63. “Don’t let making a living prevent you from making a life.” – John Wooden

62. “Don’t measure yourself by what you have accomplished, but by what you should have accomplished with your ability.” – John Wooden

61. “I worry that business leaders are more interested in material gain than they are in having the patience to build up a strong organization, and a strong organization starts with caring for their people.” – John Wooden

60. “I’d rather have a lot of talent and a little experience than a lot of experience and a little talent.” – John Wooden

59. “If a player’s not doing the things he should, put him on the bench. He’ll come around.” – John Wooden

58. “The main ingredient of stardom is the rest of the team.” – John Wooden

57. “Well, your greatest joy definitely comes from doing something for another, especially when it was done with no thought of something in return.” – John Wooden

56. “Somebody asked me – you know, how come it took you so long to win a national championship? And I said, ‘I’m a slow learner; but you can notice when I learn something, I have it down pretty good.’” – John Wooden

Related: These 101 John Wooden Quotes Make The Foundation For His Pyramid For Success

55. “Don’t give up on your dreams, or your dreams will give up on you.” – John Wooden

54. “I don’t think I was a fine game coach. I’m trying to be honest. I think I was a good practice coach.” – John Wooden

53. “Teaching players during practices was what coaching was all about to me.” – John Wooden

52. “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” – John Wooden

51. “I don’t believe in praying to win” – John Wooden

50. “Ability is the poor man’s wealth.” – John Wooden

49. “I’m no wizard, and I don’t like being thought of in that light at all. I think of a wizard as being some sort of magician or something, doing something on the sly or something, and I don’t want to be thought of in that way.” – John Wooden

48. “I was built up from my dad more than anyone else.” – John Wooden

47. “If there’s anything you could point out where I was a little different, it was the fact that I never mentioned winning.” – John Wooden

46. “Defense is a definite part of the game, and a great part of defense is learning to play it without fouling.” – John Wooden

45. “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating. Too often, fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living they forget to make a life.” ― John Wooden

44. “It takes time to create excellence. If it could be done quickly, more people would do it.” – John Wooden

43. “The best thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.” ― John Wooden

42. “Winning takes talent, to repeat takes character.” – John Wooden

41. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” ― John Wooden

40. “Somebody asked me – you know, how come it took you so long to win a national championship? And I said, ‘I’m a slow learner; but you can notice when I learn something, I have it down pretty good.’” – John Wooden

39. “Tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember a story.” – John Wooden

38. “If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.” – John Wooden

37. “Seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.” ― John Wooden

36. “Ability may get you to the top, but it takes character to keep you there.” ― John Wooden

Related: Find more John Wooden Quotes In His Book Wooden On Leadership

35. “Well, if you’re true to yourself you’re going to be true to everyone else.” – John Wooden

34. “I’m no wizard, and I don’t like being thought of in that light at all. I think of a wizard as being some sort of magician or something, doing something on the sly or something, and I don’t want to be thought of in that way.” – John Wooden

33. “Nothing will work unless you do.” – John Wooden

32. “Never make excuses. Your friends don’t need them and your foes won’t believe them.” ― John Wooden

31. “If we magnified blessings as much as we magnify disappointments, we would all be much happier.” – John Wooden

30. “It’s amazing how much can be accomplished if no one cares who gets the credit.” ― John Wooden

29. “Don’t let yesterday take up too much of today.” ― John Wooden

28. “I don’t believe in praying to win.” – John Wooden

27. “You can’t live a perfect day without doing something for someone who will never be able to repay you.” – John Wooden

26. “I was built up from my dad more than anyone else.” – John Wooden

25. “Happiness begins where selfishness ends.” ― John Wooden

24. “Players with fight never lose a game, they just run out of time” ― John Wooden

23. “It’s not so important who starts the game but who finishes it.” – John Wooden

22. “I don’t believe in fate.” – John Wooden

21.“You can do more good by being good than any other way.” – John Wooden

20. “If there’s anything you could point out where I was a little different, it was the fact that I never mentioned winning.” – John Wooden

19. “Never lie, never cheat, never steal.” – John Wooden

18. “I talked to the players and tried to make them aware of what was good and bad, but I didn’t try to run their lives.” – John Wooden

17.“I like to spend time in the past, with the things that have been important to me.” – John Wooden

16. “Listen if you want to be heard” ― John Wooden

15. “Never try to be better than someone else. Learn from others, and try to be the best you can be. Success is the by-product of that preparation.” ― John Wooden

Related: This book is full of John Wooden quotes that will inspire you

14. “Earn the right to be proud and confident.” – John Wooden

“I think permitting the game to become too physical takes away a little bit of the beauty.” – John Wooden

13. “Being a role model is the most powerful form of educating. Too often, fathers neglect it because they get so caught up in making a living they forget to make a life.” ― John Wooden

12. “Tell the truth. That way you don’t have to remember a story.” – John Wooden

11. “You are not a failure until you start blaming others for your mistakes” – John Wooden

Spongecoach’s Top 10 John Wooden Quotes

10“Discipline yourself, and others won’t need to.” – John Wooden

9“Make each day your masterpiece” – John Wooden

8“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?” – John Wooden

7“What you are as a person is far more important than what you are as a basketball player.” – John Wooden

6“It is the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen.” – John Wooden

5“You can’t let praise or criticism get to you. It’s a weakness to get caught up in either one.” – John Wooden

4“Don’t Whine. Don’t Complain. Don’t Make Excuses.” – John Wooden

3“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.” – John Wooden

2“Success is never final, failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” – John Wooden

1“Success is having peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” – John Wooden

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Here is a remarkable interview with Coach John Wooden that offers you a unique look into his philosophy. Long live the Wizard of Westwood.

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