Inside gentle giant’s exterior beat the heart of a warrior

From elementary school through my first decade or so as a sportswriter, I watched John Wooden and his UCLA Bruins for 27 seasons. And I always marveled at how the gentle, professorial husband, father and grandfather could also be a competitor so fierce that a warrior was tame by comparison.
Here was this poetry-spouting ex-English teacher who would turn before each game, grin at his wife, Nell, and give her a wink – a tradition that started when he played for Martinsville High in Indiana and she played trumpet in the band.