clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Resurgence at Jackie Robinson Stadium?

I don't follow the baseball program as closely I follow the basketball and football programs. But I did note that former long time baseball coach Gary Adams was let go after Dan Guerrero's first year at Morgan Center. Adams despite shit load of MLB talent over the years underachived year after year. Except for a CWS appearance here and there Bruins were basically laying eggs at the diamong every year.

Enter John Savage. The former baseball coach from UC-Irvine who was brought in couple of years ago to recharge our baseball program (note DG was a played baseball at UCLA). And despite a dismal first year (just like Howland's first year in Westwood), it look's like Savage's recruits are learning fast/growing up and playing well just like Howland's recruits did in their first year:

The newcomers to UCLA's baseball team quickly learned that talking about the past was taboo. The Bruins wanted to forget last year's dreadful season in which they set a team record with 19 consecutive losses and won only four conference games.

A bright future is all the Bruins are thinking about these days. The first recruiting class brought in by second-

year head coach John Savage is ranked fifth in the country and having an immediate impact.

The Bruins have surpassed last season's victory total despite playing one of the nation's toughest schedules and starting freshmen in crucial positions. Baseball America ranked shortstop Brandon Crawford, catcher Ryan Babineau and outfielder Tim Murphy among the top 50 freshmen in the country, and other UCLA freshmen such as third baseman Jermaine Curtis and reliever Jason Novak are also frequent contributors.

"The young players are playing very well," Savage said. "There are a lot of expectations on them. There are a lot of demands. They've responded very well.

"We knew we had very talented players coming in and we've played them basically since Day One. They got thrown into the fire right away and responded well."

There was no easing into this season, with 18 of the Bruins first 22 games this season against nationally ranked teams.

UCLA (18-14 overall, 3-3 in Pacific-10 Conference) already has three more victories than all last season and enters today's game at Arizona having won eight of its past 11 games.

And as A noted last year Coach Savage knows the expectations and is not afraid of them (just like Howland):
It's about the College World Series now. It's about winning baseball games and competing, year in and year out. The regionals, then super regionals and onto Omaha, Neb. And with UCLA starting its 2005 baseball season tonight with the first of a three-game series against Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Coach John Savage will not hide or shrink from it.

Of the College World Series, Savage said: "That's our destination. We want to establish our program to where we are competitive and that we have a legitimate chance to play for a Pac-10 championship, then a regional and super regional championship, and then go into the final eight and have a chance to play for a national championship."

That is his charge. Savage was hired in July to replace Gary Adams and redirect [ed. note: unlike the "redirection" led by Karl Dorrell] the UCLA baseball program. In 30 years at UCLA, Adams produced more major-league players than any college coach in the country but took the Bruins to the College World Series only once. Athletic Director Dan Guerrero wanted more from the program. So he gave Adams a nudge toward retirement [ed. note: remember this strategy Dan] and hired Savage, who had revived a dormant program at UC Irvine in 2001. By 2004 Savage had the Anteaters in their first NCAA DivisionI Tournament.

"I'd really like to see this program aspire to national recognition on a consistent basis," Guerrero said at the time. "That doesn't mean that you're in Omaha every year, but if you can get to the regional and have an opportunity to advance, that's the model I think ultimately that we'd like."
And at least from the intial indications this season - it looks like the baseball season is on track. So it looks like baseball may be in good hands. All we need now is a coach like Howland in football. GO BRUINS.