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  • Writer's pictureDonald V. Watkins

John Wooden, Nick Saban, and Eddie Robinson Define Greatness In Leadership

By Donald V. Watkins

©Copyrighted and Published on January 6, 2019

John Robert Wooden (October 14, 1910 – June 4, 2010) was the head basketball coach at the University of California, Los Angeles from 1948 to 1975. Wooden won ten NCAA national championships in a 12-year period as head coach at UCLA, including a record seven in a row. No basketball coach, living or dead, has matched this incredible record of success.

Nick Saban, 67, is the head football coach at The University of Alabama. He is tied with Paul “Bear” Bryant for most major college football national championships for a coach in the modern era. They each have won six national championships.

Saban and Bear Bryant are the only coaches to win an SEC championship at two different schools. They are the "best of the best" in the ranks of NCAA Division 1-A college football.

Saban is poised to win an unprecedented seventh national championship when the Crimson Tide defeats Clemson on Monday night in the College Football Playoff national championship game.

I am a Crimson Tide football fan. I will become a witness to history on Monday night when Saban claims his seventh national championship.

Eddie Gay Robinson, Sr. (February 13, 1919 – April 3, 2007) was the head football coach at Grambling State University. He coached the second most victories in NCAA Division I history and the third most overall. Many college football experts regard Robinson as one of the greatest coaches in history.

During a period in college football history when black players were not allowed to play for southern college programs, Robinson built Grambling State into a "small" college football powerhouse. After 56 years of coaching, Robinson retired in 1997 with a record of 408 wins, 165 losses, and 15 ties.

Robinson coached every single game from the field and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1997.

Coach John Wooden’s infamous “Pyramid of Success” provides the building blocks for the success of these three leaders in college athletics. These principles apply to everyday life, as well. If we apply these principles in our personal lives, all of us can attain greatness.

PHOTO: John Wooden's "Pyramid of Success."

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