Steve Salmons, out of the lineup for more than a year and a half while rehabilitating from a back injury suffered at the 1979 Pan Am Games, returned to the court late in the season and played a pivotal role for the 1981 NCAA champions. Salmons helped spark a five-game victory over USC in the title match. He was named to the All-Tournament team along with MVP Karch Kiraly and Steve Gulnac. Kiraly played every game of every match and earned All-America honors for the third consecutive year for the Bruins, who finished 32-3.
UCLA's 400-yard freestyle relay team set an American record in the final event of the 1982 NCAA championships to give the school its first men's swimming and diving title. The Bruins entered the relay in first place, but needed to finish ahead of second-place Texas to hold off the Longhorns. UCLA's quartet of Bill Barrett, Chris Silva, Stu MacDonald and Robin Leamy did so in impressive fashion, breaking the American mark it had set in the preliminaries earlier in the day. Leamy won the 50- and 100-yard freestyle events in addition to anchoring the relay. Barrett bettered his own American record while winning the 200-yard individual medley for the third consecutive year.
The Bruins dominated collegiate volleyball in 1982, going 29-0 and winning their ninth NCAA title since 1970. Four-time All-America Karch Kiraly capped his UCLA career by earning MVP honors on the NCAA All-Tournament team for the second consecutive year after leading the Bruins past Ohio State in the semifinals and host Penn State in the championship match. The Bruins disposed of the Buckeyes in only 45 minutes, then cruised past the Nittany Lions 15-4, 15-9, 15-7. Doug Partie, Mark Kinnison and Dave Mochalski joined Kiraly on the All-Tournament team.
The Bruins coasted past Pepperdine 5-1 in the title match to win their 14th NCAA team championship in Athens, Georgia. Marcel Freeman played the number-one singles slot for UCLA and compiled a 34-12 record. He reached the semifinals in individual play at the NCAAs and finished the season as the top-ranked singles player in the final rankings compiled by the Intercollegiate Tennis Coaches Association. Teammate Robbie Venter finished fifth. The Bruins won 30 of 33 dual matches and captured their second consecutive Pac-10 title.
Freshman pitcher Debbie Doom was dominant in the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska, earning MVP honors and leading the Bruins to their first NCAA title in softball. Doom pitched every game in the CWS, winning five games and striking out 62 batters in 41.2 innings. She finished the season with an 11-2-2 record and an ERA of 0.31. Fellow freshman Tracy Compton was 10-2 with an ERA of 0.21. UCLA finished 33-7-2, shut out six of its seven opponents in the postseason and had a team ERA of 0.29. Shortstop Dot Richardson paced the hitters with a .328 average. Doom, Compton and Richardson all earned All-America honors.
Jackie Joyner and Florence Griffith won individual titles to lead the Bruins to their first NCAA women's track and field title at Brigham Young University. UCLA easily outdistanced second-place Tennessee by 27 points, avenging their 2nd place finish to Texas in the 1981 NCAA championships. Joyner set an NCAA record in the heptathlon, finished second in the long jump and ran a leg on the 1600-meter relay team that placed third. Griffith won the 200 meters and finished fifth in the 100. The two also teamed on the 400-meter relay team that finished third. Jeanette Bolden finished second in the 100 meters and ran the final leg on the 400-meter relay team.
The Bruins rolled over Pepperdine in three games (15-10, 16-14, 15-7) at Ohio State to win their third consecutive NCAA title. UCLA struggled early in the conference season, winning only three of its first six matches, but then reeled off nine consecutive victories to win the league title and earn a berth in the Final Four. The Bruins then easily dispatched the host Buckeyes in the semifinals before beating the Waves, a team they had lost to two times in three previous meetings in the 1983 season. All-America setter Ricci Luyties was the tournament's most outstanding player. UCLA finished the season 27-4.
Jackie Joyner, Florence Griffth and Michele Bush all set NCAA records en route to winning individual titles and leading UCLA to its second consecutive national title in the NCAA meet held at the University of Houston. Joyner defended her title in the heptathlon by scoring 6365 points. Griffth ran the 400 meters in 50.94 and Bush won the 1500 in 4:19.98. Griffith also finished second in the 200 ahead of three Florida State runners. But, it was Joyner's third-place finish in the long jump, after the running events had ended, that gave the Bruins 10 points, enough to edge second-place Florida State by eight-and-a-half points.
Mitch Gaylord, Tim Daggett and Mark Caso became the first gymnasts from the same school to place one-two-three in the all-around competition, and UCLA went on to win the NCAA men's team championship at Pauley Pavilion. After finishing second to Nebraska in back-to-back years, the Bruins led the 1984 competition from the start and easily outdistanced second-place Penn State and third-place Ohio State. Gaylord tied former teammate Peter Vidmar's NCAA record in the all-around. Daggett scored a perfect 10.0 en route to winning the parallel bars and added individual titles in the pommel horse and rings.
Before a record 9,809 fans at Pauley Pavilion, top-ranked and undefeated UCLA beat number-two Pepperdine in four games (15-11, 15-13, 16-18, 15-12) to give the Bruins an unprecedented fourth consecutive national title and their 11th in 15 years. Setter Ricci Luyties, the NCAA tournament's most outstanding player for the second straight year, and All-America middle blocker Doug Partie were the catalysts again, each player capping his four-year career with his fourth national title. UCLA finished the season 38-0, and Al Scates was named the national coach of the year.
UCLA won its 15th NCAA men's tennis title by ousting Stanford 5-4 in a match that went down to the wire in Athens, Georgia. The Bruins and the Cardinal split their six singles matches and the first two doubles matches. That left it up to the number-one doubles team of Michael Kures and Mark Basham, who edged Stanford's John Letts and Jim Grabb 6-1, 3-6, 6-4. Basham posted a 24-8 record in singles as UCLA won 30 of 33 dual matches. He was 6-0 in singles and doubles in the NCAA tournament. Jeff Klaparda finished the season 24-5 in singles, while Kures went 23-4.
Freshman outfielder Tricia Mang belted a 13th-inning home run to give the Bruins a 1-0 victory over Texas A&M in the final game of the 1984 College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. UCLA avenged a loss to Texas A&M earlier in the series by winning a pair of 1-0 games on the final day to capture the title. Record-setting pitcher Debbie Doom won both games that day and finished the season with a record of 24-3-1 and a miniscule ERA of just 0.10. Mang, Doom, pitcher Tracy Compton and infielder Sheila Cornell earned All-America honors for the Bruins, who finished 45-6-1.
The Bruins rallied from an 11-2 deficit for a dramatic 15-13 victory over Stanford in the fifth and final game of the NCAA championship match (15-12, 7-15, 15-10, 9-15, 15-13) at Pauley Pavilion. Liz Masakayan got the decisive point with her 32nd kill on the night for UCLA, which finished the season 33-6. Masakayan earned first-team All-America honors and was named the winner of the Honda Award as the top player in women's collegiate volleyball.
Catcher Janet Pinneau's single drove home Leslie Rover with the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning and touched off a wild celebration as UCLA edged Nebraska 2-1 to win the College World Series in Omaha, Nebraska. It was the third NCAA title in four years for the Bruins, who finished the season 41-9. The championship also marked the end of the tenure of remarkable pitchers Debbie Doom and Tracy Compton, each of whom earned All-America honors for the fourth consecutive year. The two combined for a career record 159-29-3. Doom won the 1985 Honda Award as the nation's top collegiate softball player.
Defender Andy Burke's only goal of the season came in the eighth overtime of the NCAA championship game against American University in the Seattle Kingdome and gave UCLA its first national title in men's soccer. The Bruins and their opponents battled for 166 minutes and five seconds before Burke, a sophomore who entered the game in the seventh overtime, took a pass from Paul Krumpe, caught the American goalkeeper cheating to the near post and shot into the far post to settle the outcome. Senior Dale Ervine scored 11 goals and earned All-America honors for the second consecutive year for coach Sigi Schmid's squad, which finished the season 20-1-4. Senior David Vanole was masterful in goal, allowing just one score in 256 minutes of play in the Final Four.
Tony Pineda was nearly perfect on the pommel horse and parallel bars to propel UCLA to its second NCAA men's gymnastics title in four years in competition at Pauley Pavilion. Head coach Art Shurlock's squad edged second-place Nebraska and third-place Penn State for the team championship. In individual competition, David Moriel won the horizontal bar with a score 9.95. He earned All-America honors in the event for the third consecutive year.
Ozzie Volstad, an All-Tournament selection as a freshman when UCLA won the national title in 1984, was the outstanding player of the 1987 tourney, which the Bruins capped by beating arch-rival USC in three games, 15-11, 15-2, 16-14, in the final at Pauley Pavilion. Volstad and Jeff Williams earned All-America honors as UCLA won its last 27 matches to finish with a school- and collegiate-record-tying 38 victories against three defeats. Volstad, Williams, and Arne Lamberg were named to the All-Tournament team. Al Scates was named the national coach of the year for the second time in four seasons.
The 1987 Bruins were far and away the nation's best, sweeping to the NCAA title with a record 53-point margin in the championship meet in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. UCLA won its seventh NCAA crown with 81 points, while second-place Texas had just 28. Senior decathlete Jim Connolly and junior 400-meter intermediate hurdler Kevin Young won individual titles. The Bruins' 1600-meter relay team of Anthony Washington, Young, Henry Thomas and Danny Everett ran in NCAA-record time of 3:00.55. Head coach Bob Larsen's squad also earned Track and Field News' designation as the nation's top dual-meet team for the second straight year. The Bruins' posted their third consecutive unbeaten season and extended their winning streak to 29 dual meets.
Brandt Jobe's three-under-par 69 helped UCLA rally from a 13-stroke deficit on the final day to win the NCAA men's golf championship at North Ranch Country Club in Thousand Oaks, California. Tim Cruikshank shot a 71, Kevin Leach a 72 and Bobby Lasken a 75 on the final day on the difficult North Ranch layout as the Bruins engineered one of the greatest comebacks in NCAA golf history and won the title by three shots over second-place Texas El-Paso. Jobe finished the tournament with a one-under-par total of 287, tied for second individually.
Freshman pitcher Lisa Longaker won a school-record 31 games, including a 3-0 shutout of Fresno State in the championship game of the College World Series in Sunnyvale, California. Longaker went 31-4 and also set a Bruins' mark for innings pitched (259.1) en route to earning the Honda Award as the nation's top collegiate softball player. Outfielder Lorraine Maynez, who hit .337 with 10 doubles and seven triples, and infielder Janice Parks, who hit .322 with 40 RBI, joined Longaker as All-America selections. UCLA went 53-8 while winning its fourth NCAA title in seven seasons.
Another record-setting performance by the 1600-meter relay team highlighted the Bruins' eighth men's track and field title. UCLA amassed 82 points, double that of second-place Texas, at the meet in Provo, Utah. The Bruins' relay team was the first collegiate quartet to eclipse the three-minute mark. Steve Lewis, Kevin Young, Danny Everett and Henry Thomas ran the event in 2:59.91. Everett and Young also were individual winners. Everett won the 400 meters in 44.52 and Young won the 400-meter hurdles for the second consecutive year, running in meet-record time of 47.85.
UCLA and Stanford tied for the conference title in 1989, then met in the final for the national championship. The Bruins spoiled the Cardinal's bid to become the first team outside of southern California to win the NCAAs, emerging victorious in four games. Matt Sonnichsen was the MVP and was joined on the All-Tournament team by Trevor Schirman, Anthony Curci and Matt Whitaker. UCLA finished 29-5 and improved to 20-0 in NCAA tournament games played at Pauley Pavilion.
Freshman pitcher Tiffany Boyd opened the College World Series with a no-hitter over South Carolina and closed it with a 1-0 victory over Fresno State in the decisive game to give the Bruins the national title in Sunnyvale, California. Senior infielder Janice Parks led UCLA in nearly every offensive category in 1989 and earned All-America honors for the third consecutive season. It was outfielder Lorraine Maynez, though, who was the hitting star at the CWS, batting .588 with a record 10 hits and six runs scored. Co-Head coaches Sharron Backus and Sue Enquist's squad went 48-4 and won its fifth NCAA title in eight seasons. It was the second time the Bruins made it back-to-back championships.