Athletics Director Denny Lennon has incorporated the influence of the late UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, into the core of Archer Athletics. Coaches and athletes alike have embraced Wooden’s ideas about both athletic and general success. Wooden’s quotes cover the walls of the fitness department’s offices, Wooden’s “Pyramids of Success” adorn student lockers, and athletes are even able to recite his most famous maxims on command.
Tri-sport varsity athlete Maia Barnett (‘14) is well-versed in the Wooden culture growing throughout the Archer community. Maia thinks that “the top of [the Pyramid of Success] that reads ‘competitive greatness’ relates to the success and effort we put into our love for sports.” She continues, “the quotes posted weekly [show] us the importance of how sports express one’s character.” Maia memorized her favorite John Wooden quote: “the main ingredient to stardom is the rest of the team” and plays with this sense of team cooperation in mind.
In his presentations to prospective panther parents at open houses, Coach Lennon states the goal of the athletic program in John Wooden’s words. With pride and confidence, Lennon says that success is not just winning but “peace of mind which is a direct result of self satisfaction in knowing that you made the effort to do the best of which you are capable.”
Wooden’s website explores his illustrious and celebrated Pyramid of Success and explains each building-block that best helps teams and individuals reach their goals. Archer coaches emphasize virtues such as, what Coach Wooden calls, “cooperation” and “enthusiasm” at the heart of each team. Throughout the season, athletes move up the Pyramid, using that strong foundation of respect and camaraderie to gain, in Wooden’s term, “self-control” and “initiative” to encourage players to understand their roles in the context of the team and the game.
Coaches look to fine tune “skill” and “team spirit.” However, before reaching the top of the pyramid, a successful athlete and team must develop “confidence” and “poise” in their abilities.
Many Archer players are recognized for their athletic accomplishments during the season. One of the symbols of their diligence and mastery of one of Wooden’s key building blocks is the Pyramid of Success magnet they are then able to place on their lockers. At the end of the year, the Archer community can explore the hallways and admire the many yellow triangles symbolizing the hard work of Archer athletes.
Senior soccer player, Krysia Sikora, loves the locker magnets that represent athletic achievement according to Coach Wooden’s guidelines. She says, “I love having a magnet on my locker because it shows that your coaches and your team appreciate different qualities that you bring to the sport. The school appreciates you.”
Cross country, soccer, and track coach Kim Smith appreciates Wooden’s influence on Archer. However, she also acknowledges that Wooden only coached males, and she wishes that there was a female equivalent. She told the Oracle, “Honestly, I think we need a female John Wooden. He coached boys, and girls are different. We should take his foundation and put a spin on it that applies to young female athletes.”
Coach Smith highlights the positive effect Wooden has had on Archer. She states, “I think his coaching philosophy transcends sports and time and applies to life after high school and collegiate sports.”