Coach John Wooden might be known to many as a head coach at UCLA, but he was also a legendary player. As a guard for the Boiler Makers, Wooden was the first three-time all-American and he received many other awards during his playing tenure.
As a coach, Wooden led the Bruins to ten national championships including seven in a row from 1967-1973, and he took the team to twelve final four appearances.
Needless to say, the guy was a basketball great and the award that honors him only goes to the great coaches or players of today’s basketball.
According to thewoodeneffect.com, the Coach Wooden Keys to Life award “was created in 1998 by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Athletes in Action, and is given to a former player or coach with exceptional character and who has strong faith and leadership skills. The award is given out at the Legends of the Hardwood Breakfast, hosted by Athletes in Action at the NCAA college basketball tournament each year.”
Last week, Michigan Basketball head coach John Beilein was honored with the Keys to Life award and was given a touching tribute by assistant coach DeAndre Haynes, who tweeted the photo below with this caption:
Coach Beilein responded exactly how you might think he would, with this tweet:
“Thanks guys for being there today. We do not win any games without you all as my assistants! Appreciate everything you all have done for me and Michigan basketball #goblue.”
What made the award that much more memorable was the presenter, Austin Hatch.
Hatch was the Michigan guard who survived two plane crashes – the same crashes which took the lives of five loved ones. Against all odds, Austin played for the team and graduated from Michigan last year with a degree in organizational studies.
The Coach Wooden award is one of the many Beilein has acquired in his long career. In 2004 he was honored as the MAAC Coach of the Year and four years later he won the CAA Coach of the Year.
In 2014, Beilein was given the Bob Frederick Sportsmanship Award and the Big Ten Coach of the Year. Last year, after making it all the way to the championship, coach Beilein was honored as the CBS Sports National Coach of the Year.
Beilein also holds the record for the winningest coach in UM school history and has an 829-468 all-time record over his 41 years of coaching.
The past two seasons have been especially successful for Michigan Basketball and Beilein, as the team had back-to-back 30-win seasons and deep runs during March Madness.
–Matthew Helmkamp | gmbwolverine.com