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Word From Westwood - March 20, 2012
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  03/21/2012

Word From Westwood by Dan Guerrero

Word From Westwood - Deliver to Inbox

March 20, 2012

Fellow Bruins,

With this being finals week, our student-athletes have a little bit of a break from competition to complete their studies for the quarter. All indications are that it's shaping up to be yet another successful quarter academically. Kudos to our student-athletes and our academic support staff for all the hard work they have put in.

I'd also like to recognize our finalists for the annual UCLA Scholar-Athlete Award, which is presented to the male and female graduating student-athlete with the highest cumulative GPA: Charney Burk (women's soccer), Jeff Locke (football), Aisha Gerber (gymnastics), Nick Meister (men's tennis), Isabel Williams (women's swimming & diving) and Mark Weber (men's track & field). These six individuals are true standouts both in the classroom and in their field of play and should be commended.


Speaking of standouts, how about the baseball team? Coach Savage's Bruins have won 13 of their last 14 games and moved up to No. 7 in the national rankings after winning two of three in their series against Arizona State this weekend. It was great to be at the ballpark for three days of baseball this week. Friday night's game was a classic, with the Bruins coming back from five runs down to win it, 6-5, in the bottom of the ninth, thanks to a Kevin Williams shot over the wall in right field. Kevin also belted a home run (the first of his career) to help defeat USC on Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.

The Dodgertown Classic is always a fantastic event, and this year's was no exception. Thanks to the Dodgers and to their Chief Revenue Officer Michael Young, a UCLA baseball and football alum, for hosting this amazing event once again. I also want to thank Jeff Moorad, CEO of the San Diego Padres, for making the trip to Dodger Stadium to spend some time with our donors and fans.

 
With finals wrapping up later this week, just a few teams will be in action, including:

· #1-ranked women's tennis traveling to Colorado and Utah for matches this weekend

· Gymnastics (#4 in the nation) taking the #1 seed into the Pac-12 Championships in Salt Lake City

· Men's track & field hosting Texas in its first home dual meet of the young outdoor season

· #17 softball heading up the 101 for a game at UCSB on Sunday after almost two weeks off

There are also a few highlights from last week worth noting:

· #1-ranked women's water polo extending their winning streak to nine matches

· #3-ranked men's volleyball sweeping Pepperdine to capture the Kilgour Cup

· Men's tennis (#4) avenging a loss to Baylor in last year's NCAA Tournament with a 6-1 victory

· Women's swimming and diving setting a trio of school records at the NCAA Championships, and senior swimmer Yasi Jahanshahi taking home All-America honors in the 100 and 200 fly

On a sad note, three Bruin greats passed away recently: UCLA Hall of Fame track & field standout Bob Day, tennis player and long-time supporter Mike Kreiss, and volleyball player and coach Greg Giovanazzi. Bob was an NCAA Champion for us in the mile in 1965 and helped lead us to the team national championship in 1966, set several school and collegiate distance records, and is still considered one of the best distance runners UCLA has ever produced. In addition, he competed in the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City. Mike was a member of our 1970 and 1971 NCAA Championship teams and an All-American in 1972. The Kreiss family has been such an important part of the tennis program for many years. Mike's brothers, Bob and Tommy, also played here, as did his sons, Nick and Loren, and his nephew, Taylor. Greg was a member of the 1976 NCAA Championship team and also played on the 1977 and 1978 teams. In addition, he served his alma mater as an assistant coach with both the men's and women's teams, including when both won the national championship in 1984. Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and loved ones.

Ask Dan Question of the Week

Q: Dan, I read with joy all the accomplishments of our athletes and all the national titles.  At the last basketball game, I realized that Joe Bruin wears #1 on his shirt. That's great for UCLA. But we also have a player with that number and propose the following: What if Joe Bruin wore on his shirt the number of national titles UCLA has. It could change with each title but would advertise our accomplishments and would not appear to have favorites for any one player on any one team.
Becky Miller MD
 
A: Becky, thank you for the question.
 
For UCLA fans, there may not be a more recognizable figure than Joe Bruin. Throughout the years, Joe has worn jerseys with different numbers (or even no number at all), though in the last couple of decades, he has primarily worn #1, which to many signifies the stature of one of the nation's premier athletic programs and universities.

Your recommendation to contemplate using his jersey number to celebrate our (now-108) team national championships, is, indeed a novel idea. However, we have several other avenues to celebrate this accomplishment. For example, the Athletics Hall of Fame in Morgan Center highlights our championships in many ways, as will the stunning "welcome wall", which will be located in the newly constructed north lobby at the New Pauley Pavilion when it opens later this year.

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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