As the Final Four captivates America’s collective attention this weekend, one name will once again come to the forefront of college basketball: John Wooden.
Wooden was not only the most successful college coach of all time, but the impact he left on his players has served as the benchmark for integrity and excellence for generations that have come in his wake.
At the heart of Wooden’s teaching was his legendary “Pyramid of Success.” Leadership was one of the central tenants that made Wooden’s teams at UCLA so dominant. When he passed away in 2010, he left behind an unparalleled impact on the game of basketball on and off the court.
Wooden’s alma mater, Purdue, has developed a leadership curriculum that continues promoting the virtues Wooden preached himself.
The John R. Wooden Leadership Institute, which is managed by the Purdue Athletic Department, is a vehicle to help young people grow and develop the tools to become tomorrow’s leaders. The institute offers monthly seminars discussing the each section of Wooden’s pyramid, with the seminars being led by current Purdue administrators and coaches, alumni, and corporate leaders.
The final seminar of the 2013-14 series is April 15, capping a school year that featured presentations from Hall of Fame coach Gene Keady, former NFL executive Bill Polian, former Purdue women’s basketball coach Carolyn Peck and entrepreneur Keith Krach. Past seminars have included alumni such as Drew Brees.
The curriculum includes a public service component for each year of enrollment. At the conclusion of their senior year, student-athletes write an essay describing their experience in the institute and how they plan to utilize the teachings in the future. Student-athletes that complete the John R. Wooden Institute curriculum will receive a certificate of achievement, which is presented each year at the Senior Salute.