Roundup From BN Walk: News & Notes

We are racing towards the end of Spring quarter. So the Daily Bruin is rolling out it’s end of the year articles, which includes top-10 moments from this past season:

1. WOMEN’S TENNIS: UCLA WINS FIRST NATIONAL TITLE

After falling in the NCAA finals the previous year, coach Stella Sampras-Webster led the Bruins to 4-0 victory over California to claim the program’s first NCAA title. Bruin star Riza Zalameda, who clinched the match at court No. 1, would win the doubles title with fellow senior Tracy Lin a week later.

2. FOOTBALL: UCLA NABS TERRIFIC TRIO OF COACHES

Following a disappointing season, Athletic Director Dan Guerrero hired a native son, Bruin alumnus Rick Neuheisel, to right the ship of UCLA football. Later, Neuheisel succeeded in obtaining the services of offensive mastermind Norm Chow, as well as retaining defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, a rising star in the coaching ranks.

3. MEN’S GOLF: KEVIN CHAPPELL, UCLA WIN NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS

After dedicating his season to his late brother, senior Kevin Chappell rallied a talented UCLA squad to their first national title in 20 years. Chappell, who also captured the individual crown, rebounded with a spectacular chip in on the 17th hole after depositing his tee shot in the water, enabling the Bruins to defeat Pac-10 rivals Stanford and USC for the win.

4. MEN’S BASKETBALL: UCLA REACHES 3RD CONSECUTIVE FINAL FOUR

Armed with All-American center Kevin Love, coach Ben Howland guided his Bruins to college basketball’s promise land for the third straight year. Along the way, the star guard tandem of Russell Westbrook and Darren Collison created their own highlight reel, including a series of high-flying dunks. UCLA fought from a 10-point second-half deficit for a second-round victory over Texas A&M before defeating Western Kentucky and Xavier to win the Phoenix Regional.

5. WOMEN’S WATER POLO: UCLA CAPTURES FOURTH STRAIGHT NCAA TITLE - NO. 101

Coach Adam Krikorian did it again, guiding the version’s squad to an undefeated record en route to UCLA’s 101st NCAA Championship. In the tournament final, UCLA’s defense shut down crosstown rival USC with a 6-3 win. With the victory, seniors Gabrielle Domanic, Brittany Rowe, Courtney Mathewson, Jillian Kraus and Kamaile Crowell accumulated four national titles during their careers in Westwood.

No disagreement there (at least from me). Here is the whole list. The DB also put together a list of bottom 10 moments of the years. Number 2 in that list were the decisions of KL and RW to declare for the draft. I am not sure if we can consider those developments as disappointing considering it was pretty much an open secret that KL was going to be around for just one season and that RW was heading towards the league as he was soaring through his soph. season.

The Daily Bruin also has a piece on DG’s “challenging year.” I am not going to rehash the part of hiring and firing of football and women’s basketball coaches. We have gone over that discussion ad nausea here on BN. The part that was interesting to me was the one in which DG was looking ahead:

Even with those words of caution, it seems that the Bruins are poised for a tremendous string of successes over the next few years, with Neuheisel and Caldwell rebuilding programs and coach Ben Howland guiding the men’s basketball team to what Guerrero called an iconic level of success.

Guerrero said “the big one” for his administration as it heads into the next school year is the Pauley Pavilion renovation project. The pace of that project should pick up this summer, when UCLA receives the first design plans.

Because the project is so important, Guerrero said, he and his office have sought out the advice of community leaders and worked very closely with Chancellor Gene Block.

“He’s part of the executive team that meets with the vice chancellors,” Block said of Guerrero. “I’m extremely impressed with him.”

And also where the DB noted under DG we haven’t had to deal with same kind of off course issues from cross-town:

He said he was disappointed to see the issues at USC, which have been scrutinized over separate cases involving football star Reggie Bush and basketball star O.J. Mayo. Many have called for USC Athletic Director Mike Garrett’s resignation.

“These are very difficult jobs, and there are very few of them,” Guerrero said. “It’s difficult to see that – you don’t like to see that or wish ill will on anyone. Unfortunately it does occur in our business.”

UCLA, in Guerrero’s six years, has not faced those types of issues. That begins with Guerrero, who sits at the intersection of UCLA’s unrivaled athletic success and world-renowned academics.

If DG ever faced the kind of issues involving the face of the football program (allegedly) recieveing $300,000 in illegal benefits, the face of the basketball program (allegedly) recievied $30,000, and the pattern of scandals plaguing the athletic program year after year, he wouldn’t be allowed to stick around and make excuses through the PR department in Westwood.

Let’s hope DG keeps up his current track record of on field athletic achievements accompanied by stable off field and academic reputation. However, he does need to make substantial progress wrt to Pauley Renovation this year. That is one area we are going to keep an eye on this coming season. The time frame during which he has to get this done is getting narrower as we are approaching Coach Wooden’s 100th birthday.

Lastly, we will end today’s roundup with last night’s game. The inconsistency in officiating (at least in the first half) was blatant. But I think except for the closing mins when the Lakers made the desperate charge, Celtics showed throughout the game they wanted it lot more. They were getting the offensive rebounds and getting after the lose balls. Then again they were playing better defense because the refs seemed to be spending all their time on one side of the court. Anyway, the Lakers will have to put this behind them and take this series one game at a time. It will all come down to game 3 tomorrow. If Kobe et al don’t get it done at Staples tomorrow night, it will be over. And again if you guys think we are spending too much time on this series, Scott Wolf gives us one more reason for hating the Celtics.

GO BRUINS.

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