UCLA will appeal to stay in Jackie Robinson Stadium

UCLA baseball title celebration

The Bruins will fight to keep their home.

UCLA announced Tuesday that it will appeal a ruling that forces its baseball team out of Jackie Robinson Stadium. U.S. District judge S. James Otero ruled this August that the Department of Veterans Affairs had misused its West Los Angeles campus by leasing land to various tenants, including the Bruins’ national championship team.

The land was deeded in 1888 for providing a home for disabled veterans. By not using it to provide health care for veterans, Otero’s decision stated, Veterans Affairs is in violation of federal law. The ACLU sued VA in June 2011 on behalf of veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries.

In addition to Jackie Robinson Stadium, parts of the 387-acre property are leased out to 10 other companies and businesses, including the Brentwood School, a hotel laundry and film studio storage lot. Continue reading

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Details from John Savage’s max $1.125 million extension

After winning UCLA baseball’s first-ever national championship, head coach John Savage was rewarded with a contract extension that pays him up to $1.025 million annually, plus a $100,000 signing bonus. His previous contract maxed out at $501,000.

The UC regents officially approved the contract on Sept. 18. USC reportedly offered Savage over $1 million after he won the College World Series in June.

The terms make Savage, who also won multiple national coach of the year honors this summer, among the highest-paid college baseball coaches in the country. LSU’s Paul Mainieri earns $750,000 in annual guaranteed salary.

The particulars from Savage’s contract, which runs through 2025: Continue reading

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UCLA announces plans for $50 million football facility

Spaulding West football facility map

UCLA officially announced today its plan to construct a new football facility west of Spaulding Field. Projected to cost $50 million, the project will provide new locker rooms, training areas, offices, and meeting, video and equipment rooms.

The project would help put the Bruins on pace with many other programs in the Pac-12 and across the country. UCLA will launch a fundraising campaign to cover the costs.

“There is so much history here and so many incredible players and moments to celebrate,” head coach Jim Mora said in a statement. “I love the challenge to get after this, and I know our donors will step up. … We talk about family within our program, and now, we need the entire UCLA family to join us on this endeavor.”

The football team’s current training areas in the Acosta Athletic Training Center may be converted for use by multiple sports. Changes could be made to the strength and conditioning area, tutoring space and dining hall. Continue reading

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John Savage’s path to UCLA paved by work and chance

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

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UCLA unveils Jackie Robinson mural


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

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