In all his years as coach, John Wooden prohibited his players from any use of profanity, and consistently avoided it himself. Still, in his first 12 years at UCLA, the coach developed a fearsome reputation among opposing teams for the fanciful harangues he directed at officials and opposing players from the bench. This habit was virtually the only aspect of his career for which the coach expressed any regret. In the championship years, fans and players alike noticed a distinct mellowing of Wooden's behavior on the bench.
One of Coach Wooden's proudest moments, he later recalled, came when he overheard one of his players, an African-American, reply to a reporter's question about racial tensions on the team: "You don't know our coach. He doesn't see color. He just sees ballplayers." Wooden remained close to many of his former players in his long years of retirement. He died peacefully in Los Angeles at the age of 99. His record of accomplishment remains unmatched.