My colleague Scott Wolf and I will be hosting a joint UCLA-USC live chat starting at 2 p.m. today. It will also be embedded at the Inside USC blog.
UCLA athletic facilities have now been named to honor former Bruin star and civil rights pioneer Jackie Robinson, the school announced Friday afternoon.
The Jackie Robinson Athletics and Recreation Complex will be the new umbrella name that includes 22 different buildings, including Pauley Pavilion, Spaulding Field, the John Wooden Center, and just about any other on-campus venue you can think of.
Robinson arrived on the UCLA campus 75 years ago, and went on to star in four sports. The man who broke baseball’s color barrier was an honorable All-American in football, the conference scoring leader in basketball, and an NCAA champion in the broad jump.
“Jackie Robinson’s name and his legacy are an honor to this university, and to all the students and student-athletes who will continue to be inspired by his courage, dignity and grace,” UCLA chancellor Gene Block said in a statement. “Jackie detested injustice, fought for civil rights and his spirit of breaking barriers has been and always will be a guiding force of UCLA past, present and future.”
UCLA players will wear the Robinson’s No. 42 on their helmets for Saturday’s game against USC at the Rose Bowl. The number will also be painted on the 25-yard line.
We’re just three games into the UCLA basketball season, and Bryce Alford already has the first two double-doubles of his career.
The Bruins’ sophomore point guard has started making an argument for Pac-12 Most Improved Player of the Year. As a freshman, there were times he looked like more of a two-guard, eventually finishing a season off the bench with averages of 8.0 points and 2.8 assists on 38.5-percent shooting.
UCLA hasn’t played anyone of note yet, comfortably rolling past Montana State, Coastal Carolina and — on Thursday night — Nicholls State. But in a 107-74 win over the Colonels, Alford had a sparking line of 28 points, a career-high 13 assists and just one turnover. Continue reading
Steve Alford talks about UCLA’s 107-74 win over Nicholls State, including how he balances sitting players in blowouts.
Jim Mora is the third-highest paid coach in the Pac-12, and the 19th-most well-off in college football.
According to figures collected by USA Today, Mora’s $3.25 million in total pay puts him behind Arizona’s Rich Rodriguez (a hair under $3.3 million) and Washington’s Chris Petersen ($3.68 million). It did list salary numbers for Steve Sarkisian, as USC is a private institution not obligated to disclose its financial details. Sarkisian made roughly $2.25 million per year, though that would have jumped to $2.85 million in his final season.
An interesting note in the Pac-12: Mark Helfrich, who coaches first-place Oregon, makes $10,150 less than Mike MacIntyre, who coaches last-place Colorado.
Unsurprisingly, the Big Ten and the SEC each had four coaches place in the top 10. Alabama’s Nick Saban leads the country with total pay of $7,160,187. That puts him $1,524,042 ahead of Michigan State’s Mark Dantonio, who holds second place.
UCLA’s starting right tackle Caleb Benenoch talked about the upcoming game against USC, and addressed the punch he threw at J.R. Tavai last season — one that earned him an early ejection.
The centerpiece in today’s LANG sports section is my story on UCLA defensive end Takkarist McKinley, who was abandoned by his mother at five years old. Upon joining the Bruins in September, he fulfilled a promise to his late grandmother.
I was on SportsCenter briefly this week to talk about what this Saturday’s rivalry game will mean for UCLA.
Some more coverage from LANG this week:
» How does rivalry week hype compare to the national expectations UCLA faced just a few months ago?
» Could penalties loom again when UCLA takes the field against a team that averages even more flags per game?
» After being reinstated, what is USC defensive back Josh Shaw’s status this weekend?