RIVERSIDE, CA: The Riverside Unified School District hosted it’s Third-Annual Leadership clinic for coaches from across the district and community. It was held on Saturday August 13 at the Riverside Convention Center. A nice contingent of King coaches and administrators were in attendance and were regaled by inspiring stories from a host of speakers which included Superintendent Dr. David Hansen, CBU Athletic Director Micah Parker, CIF Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod, Public Relations Director for Disneyland Resort Michelle Himmelberg and former Athletic Director of UCR, Stan Morrison.
The keynote address was by NBA Hall of Fame inductee, Bill Walton, 63. Walton, of UCLA and Boston Celtic fame and whose son Luke will be the next head coach of the Los Angeles Lakers presented his talk in the form of stories and lessons he’s learned from his career and post-NBA life.
It was playing for John Wooden’s UCLA Bruins during the 1970’s that had the greatest impact on his life. Though Walton’s brash personality during those younger years led him and Wooden to clash at times, he credits Wooden for much of his world view and rushed to Wooden’s bed side when word came out in 2010 that the 99 year old former coach was near death.
“I came to his bed side and he was so sick, I thought he had already died” Walton recalled. “I leaned over and gave him a kiss on the forehead. I said, ‘I love you Coach, thank you.”
Upon hearing the words, Wooden stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
“It’s me, Walton!”
Wooden looked up and replied, “I thought I was done with you!”
The audience of several hundred Riverside-area coaches laughed at the humorous story but it was the sage advice of Walton, much of it gleaned from learning from Wooden’s legendary wisdom that many will take with them to their teams in the coming school year.
“Stand for more than material possessions and personal pleasures” Walton advised. “We are bombarded by messages of selfishness and greed and we have to fight against that. There is nothing stronger than kindness and gentleness.”