• May 2015
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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

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A Tribute to John Wooden

“I sing a song for the Saints of God, loyal and brave and true.”
Anglican Hymnal

A Tribute To John Wooden

Every so often they come our way. In doing so, they remind us of the possibilities of a noble life.

The noble ones understand and practice the fundamentals of virtues-driven living.

 Their words and deeds are elegant and elevating.

Their life is art, painted on a canvas filled with the vibrant, life-affirming colors of perennial values that have guided the human experience through the ages.

The noble voices of humanity are both students and teachers.
They learn through humility and openness. They never seek attention for themselves.

 They teach with compassion and clarity, continually offering hope to those who struggle.

These noble citizens of character are Wisdom Keepers. They have discovered that their life is not theirs alone; they are vessels through which God finds form and function to offer grace in service to others.


This man was a noble one.
 He carried the mind and heart of the Saints of God.

As master of the hardboards, he had no peer. Yet his gifts were not confined to teaching hoop skills as the Wizard of Westwood.  He pursued greater work than winning National Championships.

He was a 21th century highly skilled spiritual craftsman ... self-effacing … humble in heart … purposefully precise in connecting good intent into godly action. Like all Saints of God who take their brief sojourn here on earth, this nobleman communicated and lived the timeless message that measures human achievement: Live your life from the inside out with values that serve the good.

He was a pay-it-forward noble man, who acted with simple and conscientious devotion … directed with loving affection to his wife and his family; nurtured as caring and mentoring influence to a large circle of talented athletes; gifted as life-skills guidance to millions of children, youth and adults.

In 2006 I had the opportunity to shake his hand, chat with him, listen to his words and honor his achievements as a national treasure.

I am grateful.

With new immortal eyes this good and noble man, America’s Coach, now knows with joyous certainty that his 100-year journey of devotion had its source in God.

I sing this song for John Wooden … a Saint of God … who was loyal and brave and true.

 Lord, help me to be one, too.

Russell Williams