On June 6, 1983, John Savage graduated from Reno High and became the New York Yankees’ sixth-round draft pick. On June 6, 1986, after a collegiate career at Santa Clara, he was plucked out of the 16th round by the Cincinnati Reds. On June 6, 1992, he was married at Our Lady of the Snows, a red-bricked Reno church that hosted a crowd of about 400 — an unintended coincidence, he insists with a laugh.
But it wasn’t until six years later that Savage, now nearing a decade as UCLA’s head baseball coach, noticed the odd chronology. Then in his second season as USC’s pitching coach, he found himself in Omaha celebrating a national championship. June 6, 1998.
“That’s when it became apparent that day was special to me,” he says.
As June 6 rolls by again, another national championship is perhaps the only hole left on his stellar resume — the bulk of which he’s built in Westwood. Continue reading →
On Sunday afternoon, one day before the 66th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s debut in major league baseball, UCLA unveiled a new mural of the former Bruin and Dodger legend.
Situated just a few feet away from a statue of man who broke baseball’s color barrier, the new piece featured 25 colorful tiles depicting Robinson against a backdrop of eight circles. Each symbolized part of his story, from his number, 42, to team logos, to his Army past.
“We are truly honored to be able to play in a stadium that bears his name,” UCLA junior outfielder Brenton Allen said in a speech to the audience at Jackie Robinson Stadium. “His strength and talent is something we remember each and every day in our program.” Continue reading →
Since being hired as UCLA basketball’s 13th head coach, Steve Alford has weathered intense criticism concerning his defense of Iowa star Pierre Pierce in 2002.
Then a sophomore for the Hawkeyes, Pierce was faced with third-degree sexual assault charges and suspended from the team. However, Alford repeatedly proclaimed Pierce’s innocence, even doing so less than a week before the point guard pleaded to a reduced misdemeanor.
A University of Iowa report then stated that Alford’s comments “implied that he disbelieved and discredited the claims of the student victim, and his words were perceived as reflecting insensitivity to issues of sexual assault and sexual violence.” Pierce was imprisoned later on separate charges that included assault with intent to commit sex assault.
On Thursday, nine days after he was introduced at Pauley Pavilion, Alford issued an apology through a press release. His statement in full:
Over the past week, questions have arisen about my handling of an incident involving a charge of sexual assault made against a student-athlete in 2002, while I was coach of the University of Iowa men’s basketball team. At that time, I instinctively and mistakenly came to his defense before knowing all the facts. I wanted to believe he was innocent, and in response to a media question, I publicly proclaimed his innocence before the legal system had run its course. This was inappropriate, insensitive and hurtful, especially to the young female victim involved, and I apologize for that. I have learned and grown from that experience and now understand that such proclamations can contribute to an atmosphere in which similar crimes go unreported and victims are not taken seriously. It’s important for me personally and professionally to make sure Chancellor Block, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero, all of my student-athletes and the entire UCLA community, including our fans, understand that today I would handle the situation much differently, with the appropriate regard and respect for the investigative process and those impacted by it. I look forward to being a Bruin and leading a program that everyone will take pride in, both on and off the court.
On Thursday, UCLA officially announced that it had extended athletic director Dan Guerrero’s contract for six years and nine months. Here is a summary of the main financial terms from the new agreement, which starts retroactively on April 1 and ends on Dec. 31, 2019. Continue reading →
UCLA announced Thursday that it has extended athletic director Dan Guerrero’s contract through 2019.
The Bruins have won 22 NCAA national championships since Guerrero was appointed in 2002, guiding the program to what chancellor Gene Block said is a “national example of how intercollegiate athletics serve and further the mission of higher education.”
The new contract is retroactive to April 1, and will replace the one that expired on March 31. Guerrero has a rolling five-year clause that would have taken effect had there not been an extension. As the the Daily Bruin first reported, Guerrero will be paid $734,774 with an annual 5 percent increase.
His new term of appointment will end on Dec. 31, 2019.
UCLA coach Steve Alford got a hug from Shaq on Tuesday, but got some far less welcoming news a day later.
New Mexico, his employer of the past six years, wants its full $1 million buyout before the end of the month. Alford had blindsided the school, taking a job with the Bruins just 10 days after the announcement of a 10-year extension with the Lobos.
According to documents obtained by the Albuquerque Journal, the school’s legal counsel is arguing that Alford’s original contract — signed in 2007 — required that he give 30 days notice before leaving for another job. Therefore, the school considers his last day to be April 29, and is demanding full payment by the same date. Continue reading →
UCLA did its best to give new coach Steve Alford a warm welcome, rolling out a grand stage for him on the Pauley Pavilion floor Tuesday at noon. Here’s the full scene from the day as well as a photo gallery featuring Shaquille O’Neal, but these are the main highlights. Continue reading →
Former New Mexico coach Steve Alford isn’t a home-run hit as a coaching hire, but under the circumstances, UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero could have done worse. With Butler’s Brad Stevens and VCU’s Shaka Smart recommitted to their respective programs, the Bruins’ were running out of big-name options.
Alford’s recent 10-year extension with the Lobos proved to be a minor obstacle, and Guerrero had clearly been communicating with the coach about the job for at least the past few days. Here’s a look at what the 48-year-old Alford brings to Westwood.
UCLA athletic director Dan Guerrero’s opening statement:
Tremendously exciting day for me and the entire UCLA family as we are proud to announce the hiring of Steve Alford as the new men’s basketball coach. Since last Sunday, obviously, the last six days have been pretty crazy, quite a whirlwind. There was a great deal of interest from many circles for this job. During the past several days, I received a lot of input from individuals both inside and out of basketball. Around the game of basketball as well. These individuals have provided great input, great insight, and certainly helped contribute to where we are today.
I think what resonated most about these conversations is how much alignment of vision there was between me and many others in terms of the characteristics that were important in the next coach. In Steve Alford, we found exactly what we were seeking. An outstanding coach, a great competitor, an excellent teacher of the game, builder of programs, someone who cares deeply about his players and his family. An individual that values academics, that has established a habit of winning in his respective programs. Maybe more importantly, an individual who really wanted to accept the challenge of being the head coach at the UCLA.
I can’t tell you again how thrilled again I am to have Steve and his family join us. I believe he will build this program the right way.
Q: When did you know he became available considering he had just agreed to a contract extension at New Mexico? Continue reading →
UCLA has officially hired New Mexico head coach Steve Alford, the school announced Saturday morning.
“Steve is the perfect fit for UCLA,” athletic director Dan Guerrero said in a statement. “He is part of the storied history of the game of college basketball and understands the tradition and uniqueness of UCLA. Yet he also connects with a new generation of players and brings an up-tempo and team-oriented brand of basketball to Westwood. We welcome Steve, his wife Tanya, and children Kory, Bryce and Kayla to the Bruin family and look forward to many years of success.”
The coach had just agreed to a 10-year contract extension with the Lobos that reportedly paid him $2 million a year including incentives, but a buyout of just $150,000 left the door open for the Bruins. The buyout was set to increase to $1 million on April 1. Continue reading →