After three-and-a-half years of covering UCLA, I will be switching to the Rams beat for the Los Angeles News Group. Thanks to everyone who ever read a blog post, shared an article, or responded to a tweet. It’s been a fun run for me, and I hope it has been for most of you as well. If you ever see me out and about, please don’t hesitate to say hello.
Replacing me starting today is Thuc Nhi Nguyen, who most recently covered the L.A. Galaxy for us as well as preps. She is, unlike many journalists, very good at math. You may remember her project on Josh Rosen two summers ago, which explored the various factors behind his success as St. John Bosco’s quarterback. Clay Fowler, who has written features on everything from Super Bowl I to how Lonzo Ball deals with his growing celebrity, will cover UCLA basketball.
As I leave, here are a few moments I’ll remember from the beat:
» How Jim Mora handled the death of receiver Nick Pasquale. From the way he embraced the Pasquale family, to the anger he directed at a camera operator’s press conference interruption — it all struck the right note of compassion and authenticity. Mora tends to wear his emotions on his sleeve, for better or worse. This was an example of the former.
» Myles Jack’s breakout game as a running back, in which he churned out 120 yards on six carries and stunned just about everyone at Arizona Stadium. Never before or since have I talked to players left as starstruck by a teammate.
» Watching the UCLA baseball team win its first national title in 2013, sweeping through the College World Series despite only finishing third in the Pac-12. After the final out and the celebratory dogpile, I stood on the field in Omaha and saw then-assistant coach T.J. Bruce celebrating with his family, tossing his two-year-old daughter into the air.
I asked what he had planned for the next day. “Recruiting,” he said.
If you’ve read this far, thanks again.