Let’s get right to today’s UCLA sports news.
UCLA Men’s Basketball
Following a weekend during which the UCLA Athletic Department had no comment regarding the termination of David Grace, there was finally an announcement yesterday that Murry Bartow, the son of former UCLA Men’s Basketball coach Gene Bartow, will officially join Steve Alford’s staff.
The announcement of Bartow’s hiring wasn’t the big news in that release, as much as there was finally a statement issued by somebody employed by UCLA regarding the decision not to retain David Grace.
The announcement contained a statement from UCLA Men’s Basketball Coach Steve Alford. In it, Alford said:
As head coach, I am responsible for evaluating our season and determining what I feel will make us better as we move forward. When Dan Guerrero and I met following the season, we spoke about a number of areas in which we need to get better. I asked Dan if he would be supportive of a personnel change and he indicated he would support what I needed to do to improve the program. From there, I made the decision to go in a different direction with David Grace’s position. David and I have differing accounts of our conversation, but the bottom line is that I thank him for his impact here and wish him the best moving forward.
Of course, there’s no clear reason as to how replacing Grace with Bartow will actually improve the program. With no offense intended towards Bartow, it’s not like he has a reputation as a defensive guru. The teams Bartow served as head coach for were not very proficient defensively.
In fact, Bartow’s teams were frequently ranked 200th or worse in Adjusted Defense by Ken Pomeroy more than they were ranked in the top 100 and they were ranked 300th or worse more often than they were ranked in the top 50. So, if anyone tries to tell you that Bartow is coming to UCLA to improve the defense, it’s as much of a lie as Steve Alford’s statement last week that he didn’t know about any pending staff changes.
Let’s talk about some news regarding the Bruin softball team instead, shall we?
After the Bruins completed a sweep of the Arizona Wildcats in Tucson on Sunday with a 10-3 win, Rachel Garcia has earned some weekly honors.
First, she became just the third player in conference history to win both the Pac-12 Player of the Week and the Pac-12 Pitcher of the Week awards in the same week. She joins UCLA Assistant Coach Lisa Fernandez and Oregon State’s Tarrah Beyster, who were the previous recipients.
Then, today, she was named the NFCA National Pitcher of the Week and USA Softball Player of the Week.
The Bruins are now 37-3 on the season and appear to be destined for this year’s Women’s College World Series.
The softball team wasn’t the only Bruin team to bust out the brooms this weekend as the UCLA baseball team completed a sweep of Utah with a 12-4 win on Sunday. Kyle Mora earned his third win of the season with 11⁄3 innings of perfect relief. Ryan Kreidler had the game-winning RBI in the first inning when he doubled home Garrett Mitchell. UCLA improved to 22-9 for the season and are second in the conference with an 11-4 conference record.
Tonight, they host UC Irvine at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
UCLA Men’s Tennis
It was also a good week for the UCLA men’s tennis team as they finished up their Pac-12 road schedule undefeated and is 7-0 in Pac-12 play. The team is now 22-2 and are ranked 2nd in the country.
The tennis team just wrapped up a three-match road trip against Southern Cal, Arizona State and Arizona.
Maxime Cressy was named the UCLA/Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week for his play as well as the Pac-12 Player of the Week. It is the third time this season Cressy has received the POTW honors.
And that’s all for today’s Bruin Bites....