Pat Williams: Coach Wooden’s Keys to Success


Last Updated on January 30, 2024

When John Wooden was 12 years old in 1922, his father handed him a handwritten card and said, “Son, try to live up to this.”

On that card, his father, a farmer, had written seven principles for life. They were:

  • Be true to yourself
  • Help others
  • Make friendship a fine art
  • Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible
  • Make each day your masterpiece
  • Build a shelter against a rainy day by the life you live
  • Give thanks for your blessings and pray for guidance every day

Coach Wooden carried that card with him his entire life and he said they were the keys to his success on and off the court. After he retired, he even printed those seven principles out, covered them in plastic and handed them out to tens of thousands of people across the country. Yet Wooden never described them in great detail.

Growing Bolder contributor and Orlando Magic senior vice president Pat Williams had a long friendship with Coach Wooden. To surprise the coach for his 100th birthday, Pat decided to write a book that celebrated each of the principles and Wooden’s relationship to his father, which was just as powerful in his 90s as when he was a child.

Unfortunately, Wooden died just four months shy of his 100th birthday and never saw the book. But Pat, who is the author of 70 books, says we can all benefit from it.

In “Coach Wooden: The 7 Principles that Shaped His Life and Will Change Yours,” Pat explains why seven principles jotted down in 1922 are just as relevant today as they were then.

Plus, find out why Pat wanted former football coach and motivational speaker Tony Dungy to write the book’s forward.

To hear from John Wooden himself, click here to listen to our 2007 interview with the legendary coach and motivational speaker.

Want to hear more from Pat? Check out:

The Mission is Remission: Pat reveals that he’s been diagnosed with an inoperable form of cancer and describes how he plans to combat it

Growing Bolder With … Pat Williams: In his first segment for the upcoming season of the Growing Bolder TV show, Pat explains how anyone can be like Michael Jordan by learning to focus.