The whole world knows by now about the terrible tragedy involving one of our own in Beijing. What is emerging that many of us might have not known about is a story of deep connections between the Bachmans and the Bruin blue and gold. We will go ahead and heavily excerpt from a story filed by Josh Peter of Yahoo! Sports (ht to bruinbabe2000)
Their names are Todd and Barbara Bachman. Their daughter Elisabeth played for the 2004 U.S. Olympic team, and their son-in-law, Hugh McCutcheon, is the head coach of the U.S. men’s volleyball team. Their story begins when UCLA’s volleyball coaches arrived in 1995 at the Bachman home in suburban Minneapolis hoping to sign Elisabeth, then one of the nation’s most coveted recruits.
The front door swung open, and so did the Bachmans’ arms. They greeted UCLA’s coaches with an embrace and took them on a tour of a home lined with family photos.
“They immediately made you feel so at ease, as it if was your home too,” said Andy Banachowski, UCLA’s head coach.
Recalled UCLA assistant coach Kim Jagd, “We were selling the Bachmans on UCLA, but they truly wanted to get to know us.”
The Bruins landed their prized recruit, and the folks in Minnesota could have told the coaches what they were getting. Elisabeth started playing volleyball as a seventh-grader and her parents turned the house into a gathering spot for the teams and chaperoned them on trips.
The Bruins weren’t getting just a star player; they were getting an entire family.
More from that article on how the Bachmans became one of us:
Todd and Barbara Bachman showed up to UCLA’s games – virtually every one, home and away – and entrusted their large-scale Minneapolis-based floral business to other family members. At the volleyball team’s potluck dinners, they brought a special homemade confection.
“Bachman bars,” the Bruins called them, and they became as much a fixture of the program as the couple from Minneapolis.
“You knew 30, 40 minutes before the game they would be there, smiling and cheering,” said Michelle Quon, one of Elisabeth’s former teammates at UCLA.
Their disposition manifested itself when their daughter, who goes by the nickname “Wiz,” took the court.
UCLA’s coaches watched with amusement as Elisabeth soared above the net time and again, driving spikes at her opponents.
“The first thing she would do is apologize to the player for hitting somebody,” Banachowski said. “And it wasn’t sarcastic. It was a genuine remark, a reflection of Wiz’s parents.”
During every visit to the campus, they greeted the coaches and players with hugs and a fresh batch of those homemade treats. When Elisabeth graduated from UCLA in 2000, the family handed out the recipe, and the Bachman bars spread.
How can one follow that?
Only thing I can offer prayers from thousands of us - Bruins, part of Bachman's extended family - who visit this little corner of the internet dedicated to all things blue and gold.
We will be with them all the way.