Jim Bush, UCLA’s five-time NCAA-championship-winning track and field head coach, passed away Monday, the school announced. He was 90.
Bush spent 20 years at the helm of UCLA’s track and field program, from 1965-84, and won five NCAA Outdoor team championships (1966, 1971, 1972, 1972, 1978) with seven conference titles. UCLA spent its first 32 years of track and field without a single dual-meet victory over USC, but Bush’s Bruins earned the program’s first rivalry dual-meet win in 1966. It was the head coach’s first of 13 wins over USC.
Bush produced 188 individual NCAA medalists, including six straight championship teams in the 4×400-meter relay.
Former two-sport UCLA letter-winner Avery Anderson was named Director of Track & Field and Cross Country, UCLA announced Thursday.
Anderson, a former decathlete and wide receiver, replaces Mike Maynard, who resigned in May after eight years.
“I am thrilled to be returning to UCLA,” Anderson said in a statement. “To oversee track & field and cross country at the school that gave me so much as a student-athlete is a dream come true. I feel privileged to be entrusted with a program with as storied a history as UCLA’s, and I have a vision of making it the best program in the country.”
Anderson returns to UCLA after 13 years at Cal State Northridge, where he was Director of Track & Field and Cross Country since 2011. Prior to CSUN, Anderson was a volunteer assistant at Kansas State from 2002-04 and UCLA from 2001-02.
As a Bruin athlete, Anderson helped the 4×100 relay team to a runner-up finish at the NCAA championships in 1996 as the Bruins also won four Pac-10 team titles. On the football field, he played in the 1994 Rose Bowl and went on to a short NFL career for the Indianpolis Colts before a back injury forced him to return to track as a decathlete.
The Bruins (30-25, 19-11 Pac-12) are ranked 51st in RPI after finishing third in the Pac-12. They’re hoping to return to the postseason after a one-year hiatus.
A stellar performance from pitcher Jon Olsen in Saturday’s regular-season finale helped seal UCLA’s series victory. The sophomore pitched a career-high 8 innings, allowing four hits and one run with eight strikeouts. Sean Bouchard and Michael Toglia led the Bruins offensively with three RBIs each. Leadoff hitter Brett Stephens when 4 for 6 at the plate.
Griffin Canning pitched a complete-game shutout in Thursday’s opener as the junior struck out 10 while UCLA won 6-0. The Santa Margarita High graduate has 10 or more strikeouts in six of his past seven starts. The Bruins then dropped a pitchers duel Friday, losing 2-1, before winning the series Saturday.
UCLA secured its second Pac-12 sweep of the season this weekend by dominating rival USC at Dedeaux Field.
The Bruins (24-20, 13-8 Pac-12) finished the three-game sweep Saturday with a 13-0 drubbing, led by six RBIs from freshman Michael Toglia and five shutout innings from pitcher Jon Olsen. Olsen’s seven strikeouts were the second-most of the sophomore’s career.
USC’s only runs of the weekend came Friday, but were no match for UCLA’s Ryan Kreidler, who was 2-for-4 with three RBIs, including two game-winning RBIs in the ninth inning.
Junior pitcher Griffin Canning shut down the Trojans (19-25, 6-15 Pac-12) in Thursday’s series opener with 10 strikeouts in a complete game as the Bruins won 2-0. The UCLA ace has thrown seven or more innings in five of his past six starts.
The Bruins hadn’t swept a Pac-12 opponent since the second weekend of the conference season when they beat Cal.
Elsewhere in UCLA athletics:
Softball took two of three from No. 3 Arizona at Easton Stadium on Senior Weekend. The No. 12 Bruins shut out the second-highest scoring team in the country in back-to-back games to start the series before Arizona avoided the sweep Sunday to clinch the Pac-12 title. The Wildcats had been shut out only once this season, a 1-0 loss to No. 1 Florida State in February. UCLA (39-12, 13-8 Pac-12) was the first team to mercy rule the Wildcats this year with an 8-0, five-inning win in Friday’s series opener. Rachel Garcia gave up only two hits in five innings in the circle while Bubba Nickles had three RBIs. Madeline Jelenicki led the Bruins in their 6-0 win Saturday with four RBIs as Selina Ta’amilo and Garcia gave up just six hits combined. Garcia struck out five in 2 2/3 innings pitched to earn the save after Ta’amilo earned her 13th win of the year. Arizona (48-7, 18-6 Pac-12) scored four runs in the first inning Sunday before winning 7-2 to close the series.
Christina Chenault, Kendall Gustafson and Monique Van placed fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively, in the heptathlon at the Pac-12 Combined Event Championships. The trio of Bruins scored 12 team points for UCLA heading into the Pac-12 Championships from May 13-14 in Eugene, Ore.
Men’s tennis is Sweet 16 bound as the Bruins cruised to two NCAA wins at home. The Bruins swept Weber State 4-0 in the first round, then did the same to San Diego in the second. The team faces Stanford in the Sweet 16 in Tulsa, Okla., at 5 p.m. on Friday.