Bruin Bites: A Basketball Reunion, LV Invitational Schedule, JRS Upgrades, Bruin Pole Vaulter, a New Pac-12 Website, and Campus Messages

Thanks to this guy, Jackie Robinson Stadium is getting a start on some much needed upgrades. - USA TODAY Sports

News and notes from the UCLA-iverse. Go Bruins!

Happy Friday, Bruins Nation. Alas, the big news this week surrounded the unbelievable buyout that the Apathetic Director Dan Guerrero put in Steve Alford's contract. Another week, another Guerreror, and U.C.L.A. fans are the ones left paying the price. Literally. Luckily, it is Friday, which means a couple days off for almost everyone (and some miserable night shifts for at least one of us). So as we head in to the weekend, let's check out some of the other notable headlines around the UCLA-iverse.

  • Starting with basketball, how would you like to see the greatest collection of college basketball players in history, all together at one time? Well, it happened this week when Steve Alford hosted a Bruin Basketball reunion. The official site has an article and several photos. Over 80 former players, including greats like KAJ, Marques Johnson, Lucius Allen, Jamaal Wilkes, and Mike Warren gathered to meet Alford and his coaching staff and to reunite players from the greatest college sports legacy. While I have tons of reservations about Alford's coaching ability and past character issues, I will say that his outreach to the past Bruin greats is a very good move, and can begin to strengthen and reunite the program. Most importantly, I hope Alford learned a bit more about what Bruin basketball is all about. It's not the wins, coach. It's about the Coach, coach.
  • Sticking with basketball, but sadly not with Coach Wooden, the schedule and TV coverage for our two final games at the Las Vegas Invitational were announced. This is the tournament the Bruins will play in instead of the Wooden Classic this fall. U.C.L.A. and Missouri headline the 8 team field, but since the Bruins and Tigers are scheduled to play the following week, the matchups had to be juggled so that the two would not meet in the Invitational. After playing the first two games at (old) Pauley (under glass), all the teams will travel to the desert where U.C.L.A. will play Nevada at 4:30 pm on Nov 28 (ESPN3) and Northwestern at 8:30pm on Nov 29 (ESPN2). Schedule your afternoon gambling times and evening club runs accordingly.
  • Moving over to baseball, Jack Wang at InsideUCLA has a nice writeup on Head Baseball Coach John Savage and reports that the UC Regents approved Savage's recent contract extension. He also notes some interesting news that Savage's negotiations included improvements to Jackie Robinson Stadium, particularly a new half infield laid with turf. It is ironic that the addition of a turf half infield will allow the baseball team to avoid practicing on the 80 yard turf at Spaulding Field (what's wrong with 240 foot fences?). Personally, I applaud Coach Savage for including facility upgrades into his negotiations, but it is absolutely shameful that the CWS Championship Coach has to do so. A real athletic director, especially one who played that very sport, would be pushing these upgrades to JRS on his own, and would work to retain the National Coach of the Year with rewarding compensation and buyout clauses rather than promises of long overdue renovations.
  • Out on the track, congrats go out to Bruin pole vaulter Mike Woepse who finished 9th at the World University Games in Kazan, Russia, finishing with a height of 17-4.5. Woepse, a junior and one of the T&F team captains, was the Pac-12 champion in the pole vault last season with a best of 17-11. He was a first team All-American at the NCAA Indoor Track Championships and Outdoor track championships where he had a personal best of 18-2.5. Stud.
  • Calling all nerds South Campus Bruins. Even though the human fanpost that is LA Bruin hit this last week, I think this should get more love, partly because I was South Campus myself and my sweet wife is an aerospace engineer who sincerely thinks this is awesome. But of course she would, she's a nerd hot. There is a hidden message in the floor of Boelter Hall. A very clever architect secretly placed colored tiles to spell the message "Lo and behold!", a binary encoded message in ASCII (HT BoelterHallVet) as a tribute to the accidental first message transmitted via the fledgling internet. Recall that the intended message was "LOGIN" but only the L and O were transmitted from U.C.L.A. to Stanford when their computer, not ours, crashed. Although, I still think the intended message was actually LOL, and that Professor Kleinrock and staff were simply planning ahead for billions of future teenage texts. Hopefully the message is enough to get some of you good looking and relaxed North Campus types to take a walk south, just for a bit to check it out. Consider it a work of art, computer engineering style.
  • The new Pac-12 can certainly thank Prof Kleinrock for his efforts back in 1969. They have relaunched their website this week. It is currently in beta format and they are looking for feedback from all the users. There is a feedback button at the top left for you to make suggestions, cheer, boo, or otherwise tell them what you think. The new site includes a bunch of new functionality that better allows users engage with the content and each other and increase the fan experience. Go over and give it a look.
  • Finally, there is one other message on campus you should see. Next time you are at the U.C.L.A. Hall of Fame (remember, don't try to park in Lot 6), be sure and take a look at the Championship Wall. CollegeSpun shows there is a new entry at the end. Congrats again to Coach Savage and his 2013 team! There looks to be just one more line on that wall, by the way. I assume the graphics folks can make room for another column.

GO BRUINS!

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