Sharing and Preserving a National Treasure

The Genesis of the John R. Wooden Course

In July of 2000, Lynn Guerin , President of Guerin Marketing Services, wrote a heartfelt letter to legendary UCLA basketball coach, John R. Wooden. It was a humble beginning, full of hope and vision.

The motivation for the letter was a challenge proposed by Neville Johnson, a self-styled Wooden autobiographer and successful Beverly Hills lawyer who spent nearly twenty years writing a 500+ page epistle of Wooden’s life. Johnson wrote: “spread John Wooden’s ideas and values. Pass along the ‘Pyramid of Success!’ Think about it. Talk about it. Practice its tenets. Teach it to your children.”

As a 29-year veteran consultant and trainer with some of America’s most successful companies, Guerin knew that people today were still searching for a “success formula” similar to Webster’s definition, “the accumulation of material possessions and wealth, or the attainment of a position of power and prestige.” Yet that definition stood in stark contrast to Wooden’s, “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of the self-satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort to do your best to become the best of which you are capable.” Touched by Johnson’s challenge, Guerin felt that the work Wooden began in 1934 was unfinished, chiefly because it had only directly reached a few hundred young men at UCLA. The vast majority of society had simply missed out on the benefit of John Wooden’s tutelage, and one more book written about his amazing life could only accomplish so much.

One of Wooden’s favorite maxims kept ringing in Guerin’s ears, “Do not mistake activity for achievement.” What activity could Guerin perform that would benefit the most people in the most profound manner for the longest amount of time? What would be his legacy?

The answer was “The John R. Wooden Course”, a comprehensive personal and professional development curriculum based on Wooden’s life.

When he received Guerin’s proposal, Wooden read it carefully and thoughtfully. Time seemed to slow as the visionary waited for a response. Wooden finally said, “You see, this is much more than I would have ever imagined!”

Then he politely and firmly refused the idea.

Disappointed, but undaunted, Guerin recalled Wooden’s definition of Intentness, one of the blocks on his pyramid: “Set a realistic goal. Concentrate on its achievement by resisting all temptations; be determined and persistent.”

Two years later, Guerin’s tenacity and persistence finally paid off. He and Coach had developed a meaningful friendship. Wooden grew to trust in Guerin’s integrity and aspirations, and “The John R. Wooden Course” was born.

Crafted with Wooden himself, the course delivers a powerful, practical and teachable point-of-view on the most important fundamentals required to enhance leadership and coaching skills, strengthen character and integrity, and empower individuals and teams to achieve and maintain extraordinary levels of performance.

The team at Guerin Marketing Services is on a mission to ensure that the wisdom, faithfulness, and love of this extraordinary man are never forgotten.

At present, over 5,000 business professionals have shared the charm, wit, and wisdom of one of our country’s great heroes.