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Word From Westwood - January 31, 2012
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  02/01/2012

Word From Westwood by Dan Guerrero

Word From Westwood - Deliver to Inbox

January 31, 2012

Fellow Bruins,

I know that tomorrow, as the first Wednesday in February, is a day many of you mark on your calendars - National Letter of Intent Signing Day for football as well as soccer, track & field, and men's water polo.

Football usually steals the headlines, not only locally, but nationally too, and this year is no exception. Regardless of how our football recruiting class is rated by the pundits later this week, I wanted to take a minute and commend head coach Jim Mora and his entire staff for their tireless work ethic demonstrated throughout the process.

In the seven weeks since Coach Mora was hired, I'm not sure he's had more than four hours' sleep any night. He and his assistant coaches have put in some incredible hours both here in the Morgan Center offices as well as all over the country to bring in a top-notch class that they think can turn the UCLA program around.

This was the dedication that was clear to us in the coaching search, and we're all proud that he is a member of the Bruin family. We are looking forward to welcoming all of our newest Bruins and can't wait to see them wearing the UCLA colors on the gridiron as well as on the pitch, around the track, and in the pool.


Bruin Women Look to Carry Momentum from Amazing Weekend
I can't say enough about the effort of the women's basketball team, particularly this weekend. Playing in high altitude and with a short-handed roster, head coach Cori Close's team came back from late deficits at both Utah and Colorado to earn its first Pac-12 series sweep of the season. Heart, determination and sheer guts are probably the best words to describe this team's play this weekend. With just six players available at the end of the Utah game, the team executed a full court press to overcome a nine-point deficit in the final five minutes of the contest. Against Colorado, the Bruins again overcame a late deficit to send the game into overtime and used strong defense to shut the Buffaloes down in the extra time.

With these stellar victories in hand, the team returns to the Wooden Center this week to host the Washington schools, beginning with Washington on Thursday evening and continuing with Washington State on Dads & Daughters Day on Saturday afternoon. This team deserves strong support from the Bruin faithful, and I hope to see a great deal of you at the games this weekend.

Men's Hoops Team Takes Two Biggies, Hits the Road Again
The fan support for the men's basketball team at the L.A. Sports Arena last weekend was a sight to behold as the team posted back-to-back convincing home wins against Utah and Colorado. For a variety of reasons, including the infusion of students from the I'm Going to College program, the building was the loudest it has been all season long, and Coach Ben Howland acknowledged as much in his post-game remarks to the media on Saturday afternoon.

The Bruins now travel north to the Washington schools this weekend for important games at Washington on Thursday and at Washington State on Saturday.

Home Court Advantage for the Tourney
The Pac-12 Men's and Women's Basketball tournaments are both being played in Los Angeles from March 7-10 of this year, and all-session tickets are already on sale. For more information on both events or to purchase tickets, click here. With discussions already underway at the league level to move both tournaments away from Los Angeles in future years, this may be the last chance we have in a while to paint the host city Bruin Blue, and I look forward to seeing many of you in the stands for our games.


Two Bruin Sports Legends Honored
In case you missed it, yesterday was a special day for two members of the Bruin family - UCLA Men's Volleyball Coach Al Scates and the "Voice of the Bruins" Chris Roberts. Both Scates and Roberts were honored by the Southern California Sports Broadcasters (SCSB) at their annual Hall of Fame luncheon. Scates, who is in his 50th season with the Bruins and will retire later this year, received the SCSB's lifetime achievement award, while Roberts was inducted into the prestigious Hall of Fame, becoming just the 18th person to welcomed into this exclusive club, joining such L.A. legends as Chick Hearn and Vin Scully. Heartfelt congratulations to both men!

Olympic Sports Update
The men's volleyball match at Pepperdine tomorrow night at 7 pm will be the first sporting event of the new week for our teams. The second-ranked Bruins will also play Friday, when they face USC at the Galen Center ... After taking last weekend off, the #2 nationally-ranked men's golf team travels west to compete in the Amer Ani Invitational hosted by Hawaii-Hilo ... The fourth-ranked women's tennis team hosts LMU Thursday after booking a place in next month's USTA/ITA National Team Indoors last weekend, while the ninth-ranked men's tennis team has also qualified for nationals and will visit the Northern California schools this week ... The top-ranked and defending national champion women's golf team begins its spring season with a trip to Tucson for the Arizona Wildcat Invitational ... After Marcus Nilsson led a Bruin 1-2-3 sweep in the heptathlon at the Cougar Indoor in Pullman last weekend and the men's indoor track and field team won three of four dual meets there, Bruin competitors head to the Bronco Open at Boise State this week ... Five women's track and field team members won their individual disciplines at the Cougar Invitational last weekend: Ida Storm, Tatum Souza, Allison Koressel, Kylie Price, Brea Buchanan, and they will lead the team this week in Boise ... The third-ranked women's water polo team takes on some of the nation's elite teams at the Stanford Invitational ... The seventh-ranked gymnastics team hosts Stanford on Super Action Hero Sunday ... The swimming and diving team will have the weekend off before returning to action on February 11-12, when it hosts USC at Spieker Aquatics Center.

Vote Now For the LA Sports Awards
Several of the top UCLA sports highlights from 2011 are up for awards at the seventh annual L.A. Sports Awards, presented by the Los Angeles Sports Council. Through balloting on the Sports Council's website, you can rank the year's Top 10 sports moments (women's volleyball's NCAA Championship is one of the nominees), as well as cast your vote in up to 13 different award categories, including Individual Sports Top Moment, for which golfer Patrick Cantlay is a nominee, and UCLA's Top Moment. Voting closes next Monday, February 6.

BVC Networking Nights
As the Athletic Director, some of the events we've created that I'm most proud of are the Bruin Varsity Club Networking Nights for current student-athletes. The next one will be next week on campus. These evenings give current Bruins the opportunity to practice their professional networking and interview skills with former UCLA student-athletes, and get insight on each alum's personal and professional post-graduate journey. As the NCAA commercial has famously stated, more than 90-percent of student-athletes will turn pro in something other than their chosen sport, and this is a good opportunity for them to hone their real world skills. Though all the slots are filled for this quarter, if you are an alumnus interested in being a part of a future session, please contact Courteney Cosso, Director of the Bruin Varsity Club, at (310) 206-4458 or ccosso@athletics.ucla.edu.

Ask Dan Guerrero
Q: In the past it has been difficult to not be able to see any of the PAC-10 baseball games on television. I attend many home games and follow the away games on the Internet. The only college games I have been able to view on television have been teams from the ACC and the SEC (and they televise many). With the PAC-12 television agreement will any of the UCLA away games (or PAC 12 baseball teams) be televised?
Russell Justice

A: Russell, thank you for your ardent support of Bruin Baseball and for the thoughtful question.

Indeed, the Pac-12 Network and our new broadcast agreements with ESPN and FOX will be a boon to not only our baseball team, but all of our Olympic sports programs, which will all experience more exposure though increased game coverage.

Though the exact number of Bruin baseball games that will be broadcast by the Pac-12 Network each year has yet to be determined, I can tell you that about 200 UCLA Olympic Sports events each year will air on the network. In addition, ESPN and FOX will combine to televise four Pac-12 baseball games of their choosing each year.

As we continue to work with the Pac-12 in their formation and launch of this new television platform, which, per the Pac-12, will be the largest cable/satellite network launch of all-time (40+ million homes), we will keep all of you very well informed.

Thank you all for your submissions - please know that each question submitted was read, and please don't forget to submit a question to questions@athletics.ucla.edu this week.

Go Bruins!

Dan Guerrero
Director of Athletics, UCLA

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