Volleyball Community Mourns Death of Father of Former Bruin Wiz Bachman

Aug. 9, 2008

BEIJING, China - UCLA and the volleyball community were stunned and saddened by the death of Todd Bachman, father of former UCLA All-American and 2004 Olympian Elisabeth (Wiz) Bachman. Todd Bachman was tragically killed on Saturday at a Beijing tourist site (Drum Tower) and all of UCLA offers its condolences to Wiz and her family.

Wiz, Todd and Wiz's mother Barbara were in China with Wiz's husband Hugh McCutcheon, the head coach of the U.S. men's volleyball team. Barbara was also injured in the attack and is in serious but stable condition. Wiz was unharmed. The assailant committed suicide. The U.S. Embassy believed the attack was an isolated act and not directed at Americans or foreigners.

"I am shocked and saddened by the news of the attack on Wiz's parents, Todd and Barbara, in Beijing. The only comfort is that Wiz was not injured in the heinous attack," UCLA head coach Andy Banachowski said.

"Todd and Barb have been two of the most supportive and friendly people (parents) that I have ever encountered. They have a genuine knack for making everyone welcome and continued their support of UCLA volleyball even after Wiz graduated. They love the sport and are beloved in the volleyball community," Banachowski added.

"We are all in a state of shock here at UCLA. My heart goes out to Wiz and her husband Hugh and we will support them in any way possible."

Bachman was a 2000 Volleyball Magazine honorable mention All-American and is 15th in UCLA history in kills with 1,308. A great hitter and blocker, Bachman is second in the Bruin record books in hitting percentage (.362) and block solos (124) and third in block assists (498) and total blocks (622). The four-year letterwinner (1996, 1998-2000) was a three-time first-team AVCA All-Pacific Region and All-Pac-10 selection from 1998 to 2000. The three-time Pac-10 Player of the Week was also honored on the Pac-10 All-Academic Team on three occasions (98-00) and was a second-team Verizon Academic All-American in 2000.

Bachman was a member of the 2004 United States Olympic indoor volleyball team in Athens. She was a member of the U.S. National Team from 1997 to 2004.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Wiz and Hugh in the wake of this tragedy," UCLA assistant head coach Kim Jagd said. "Wiz has always been a dedicated athlete and teammate. Team has always come first to Wiz, just like family, and that is because of the qualities instilled in her by Todd and Barbara."

"Wiz worked tremendously hard as an athlete to pursue and live her dream of being an Olympian, always with the support of her parents. Her character-driven lifestyle and her determination has earned her many friends and fans through her illustrious career," Jagd added.

"The volleyball community is tight-knit and I am sure it will reach out and their thoughts and prayers will hopefully help Wiz deal with this senseless tragedy. Our thoughts are not only with the Bachman family, but with both of our Olympic teams who know Todd and Barbara well."

President George Bush, in China for the Games, spoke with reporters and said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families. And the United States government has offered to provide any assistance the family needs."

Statement by 2008 U.S. Olympian Stacy Sykora, indoor volleyball (courtesy AP)
"You have to understand what Liz Bachman is to USA Volleyball," Sykora said. "She's probably the nicest person in the entire world, her and her family. Her family is like our family because they traveled with us, she fought in the 2004 Olympics with us, she was my roommate in 2004."

Statement by U.S. Olympic Committee Chairman Peter Ueberroth (courtesy USOC website)
"It is impossible to describe the depth of our sadness and shock in this tragic hour," Ueberroth said. "Our delegation comes to the Games as a family, and when one member of our family suffers a loss, we all grieve with them. Our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences are with the Bachman and McCutcheon families."

To see Los Angeles Times story, click here


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