Bidding for the coach's jacket worn by John Wooden during his stellar career at UCLA has surpassed $94,000 with two days left in the bidding being conducted by Grey Flannel Auctions.
"What makes this jacket so special is that it's a trademark item of clothing," said company president Richard E. Russek. "We have photos spanning decades of Mr. Wooden's career in which he is consistently seen wearing the jacket to and from games and at practices. He even wore it to his 50th birthday party. It was obviously very meaningful to him."
Wooden died last year at age 99. He guided the Bruins to 10 NCAA national championships over a 12-year period, an unprecedented feat. Within this period, UCLA won a record 88 consecutive games. Six times, Wooden was named coach of the year.
But Wooden's string of achievements began long before his days of mentoring players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Bill Walton. He was the first college player to be named basketball All-American three times; and he played on a national championship team at Purdue. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame twice – as a player in 1961 and a coach in 1973. Only two others honorees have joined Wooden in this elite dual-category achievement.
"In my opinion, this jacket belongs in the Smithsonian," Russek said. "It's symbolizes American achievement at its finest.'"
The auction comes not long after SCP Auctions sold the original center jump circle from Pauley Pavilion for $325,085.
The Grey Flannel auction, set to close Wednesday night, also includes Julius "Dr. J" Erving's 1972-73 game-used Virginia Squires ABA road jersey (current bid $45,960), and the largest selection of players' championship rings ever seen in a single auction, including the Super Bowl I player's ring belonging to former Green Bay Packer Steve Wright.
Russek said that, to his knowledge, this is the first time an authentic player's ring from Super Bowl I has ever come to auction.
The current bid on the ring is also at $45,960.