John Savage took over perennial underachievers UCLA in 2005 with the goal of making the program consistently nationally relevant -- mission accomplished. Savage has turned the Bruins into one of the top programs in the Pac-12 and in the nation, which he has been rewarded for once again. UCLA has signed the head coach to a new contract, which will keep him in Westwood through 2017, two years longer than the contract extension he signed in 2011 called for.
In 2012, UCLA earned the No. 2 national seed, their highest in school history. The Bruins also went to the College World Series for the second time in three years to cap off a 48-win season that came on the heels of Pac-12 titles in 2010 and 2012, the school's first outright title since 1986 and the first consecutive conference titles ever.
Things are looking up in Westwood, too. Their run in 2012 came after losing Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer and despite losing a host of players after last season, Savage has the nation's No. 2 recruiting class coming in for 2013. Toss in an excellent early signing period for the 2014 freshmen that should be among the best in the country again and the Bruins figure to remain among the best in the nation for a long time.
Savage is going to need more help from the athletic department, though. While they are winning and recruiting among the best in the nation, their facilities certainly aren't even among the best in the Pac-12. The fan support is lagging behind, too, the result of almost non-existant marketing, giving the program plenty of room to grow if the athletic department can ever match the excellence of the team on the field.
At the very least, UCLA has the right man to lead them on the field. In eight years, Savage has woken the sleeping giant that is UCLA baseball. He's made the Bruins one of the better programs in the country and has proven that the success is not a one-year fluke. Now he'll be around for five more.