With Lew Alcindor gone to the NBA, few observers expected UCLA to extend its string of consecutive national championships. But the Bruins went 28-2 and made it four titles in a row with an 80-69 victory over Jacksonville in the final game in College Park, Maryland. Junior forwards Sidney Wicks and Curtis Rowe and junior center Steve Patterson gave UCLA a physical front line. They were joined in the backcourt by returning senior starter John Vallely and sophomore Henry Bibby. All five players averaged in double figures in scoring as the Bruins amassed 92 points per game, including a school-record 133 in a victory over LSU. Wicks emerged as the top scorer (18.6 points per game) and rebounder (11.9). In the title game, Jacksonville jumped out to a nine-point first-half lead behind stars Artis Gilmore and Rex Morgan. But the Bruins gained control by intermission, taking a five-point advantage and then going on to win 80-69 behind 19 points from Rowe and 17 each from Wicks and Patterson.
The Bruins won the first NCAA men's volleyball championship and began an invincible postseason string at Pauley Pavilion, winning a round-robin tournament, then sweeping UC Santa Barbara in the semifinals, and finally Long Beach State in the finals, 15-7, 15-4, 15-8. Dane Holtzman was named the championship's most outstanding player, and Kirk Kilgour and Ed Becker joined him on the All-Tournament team. UCLA was 24-1 overall and embarked on a stretch of 18 NCAA titles in 31 seasons under coach Al Scates.
Jeff Borowiak won the NCAA singles title, and the Bruins won their ninth national tennis team championship. Borowiak and Haroon Rahim, a Davis Cup star from Pakistan, led a lineup loaded with talent from top to bottom. Two other international stars, Argentina's Elio Alvarez and Modesto Vazquez, joined Jeff Austin and Mike and Bob Kreiss to give UCLA formidable singles and doubles options. The national title was the Bruins' first under fourth-year coach Glenn Bassett.
Forward Sidney Wicks was the prime catalyst most of the season, but it was center Steve Patterson who scored 29 points to lead UCLA to a 68-62 victory over Villanova in the NCAA title game in Houston, Texas. The Bruins won their fifth consecutive national championship, their seventh in eight years. This one did not come easily, however. Though they went 29-1 (the lone loss came at Notre Dame), the Bruins relied on their poise and discipline to win seven games by five points or fewer. Wicks beat Oregon State in the final seconds with a basket, and UCLA rallied from a nine-point deficit in the final minutes to beat USC at the Sports Arena. In the NCAA regionals, the Bruins rallied from an 11-point deficit to beat Cal State Long Beach 57-55. Wicks led the team in scoring and rebounding for the second consecutive season, averaging 21.3 points and 12.7 boards per game. Curtis Rowe averaged 17.5 points and Patterson chipped in 12.9.
The Bruins outlasted UC Santa Barbara in the NCAA title match before 5,041 fans at Pauley Pavilion - the largest indoor crowd in the sport's history. UCLA went 29-1 en route to its second consecutive championship, but had to fend off the Gauchos in each of the final two games while sweeping the title match, 15-6, 17-15, 17-15. Kirk Kilgour, Larry Griebenow and Eddie Machado were named All-Tournament selections. Kilgour shared Co-MVP honors with the Gaucho's Tim Bonynge.
UCLA returned its entire national-championship squad from 1970 and added newcomer Jimmy Connors, so it was no surprise that the Bruins won the NCAA title again in 1971. The 18-year-old Connors emerged as a star and defeated Stanford's Roscoe Tanner to become the first freshman ever to win an NCAA men's singles title. Connors reached the final by defeating teammate Haroon Rahim in the semis. Another Bruin, defending-champion Jeff Borowiak, reached the semifinals before falling to Tanner. But Haroon and Borowiak teamed to win the doubles crown. UCLA finished the season 17-0 in dual-match play, giving head coach Glenn Bassett his first undefeated squad.
John Smith raced past USC's Edesel Garrison in the last 20 yards to win the 440-yard run and help UCLA surge past the Trojans and win the NCAA team championship at Seattle, Washington. Smith also ran a leg on the winning mile-relay team, and the Bruins got a couple of key performances late in the competition to edge USC 52-41 (another Pac-8 school, Oregon, was third with 38). Francois Tracanelli finished second in the pole vault and Denny Rogers finished third in the triple jump. Earlier, UCLA won its third consecutive conference title, its fourth in seven seasons under head coach Jim Bush.
Eric Lindroth scored three goals against previously undefeated San Jose State in the championship game as UCLA won its second NCAA title in three seasons. Lindroth, Greg Arth, Paul Becskehazy, Kevin Craig and Scott Massey earned All-America honors. Becskehazy led UCLA with 51 goals. The 19-1 Bruins were without their usual home pool at Sunset Canyon, which was closed during the fall for repairs after suffering damage during the Sylmar earthquake.
Five years after Lew Alcindor joined the varsity and began dominating college basketball, UCLA unveiled a new sophomore class of three starters, headlined by center Bill Walton. The Bruins began the season by scoring more than 100 points in seven consecutive games and rarely were challenged, outscoring their opponents by more than 30 points per game while fashioning a 30-0 record. Walton averaged 21.1 points per game and equaled Alcindor's single-season record with 466 rebounds. The other sophomores were forward Keith Wilkes, who averaged 13.5 points per game, and point guard Greg Lee, who directed the Bruins' offense. Walton had 24 points and Wilkes added 23 in an 81-76 victory over Florida State in the NCAA title game at the Sports Arena in Los Angeles.
Trailing two games to none and 8-3 in the third game, the Bruins rallied for an improbable five-game victory over San Diego State to claim their third consecutive NCAA title. Not the dominant squad it was in 1970 and 1971, UCLA went 27-7 and was an underdog to the Aztecs and UC Santa Barbara in the Final Four at Ball State. But the Bruins beat the host team in four games in the semifinal while San Diego State took five games to edge the Gauchos. After dropping the first two games of the final 10-15, 9-15, the Bruins reeled off 12 of the last 13 points to win game three 15-9, then secured the title by winning the last two games 15-10, 15-7. All-America spiker Dick Irvin was the tourney's MVP. All-Tournament selection John Zajec also helped spark the comeback.
John Smith's running and a trio of triple jumpers sparked UCLA to its second consecutive NCAA track and field title at Eugene, Oregon. Smith won the 400 meters and ran a leg on the winning mile-relay team that gave the Bruins an unprecedented four consecutive titles in that event. But it was in the triple jump that UCLA scored 20 of its 82 points (USC was second with just 49). James Butts won the event, Harry Freeman finished third and Milan Tiff was fourth. Warren Edmondson won the 100-meter dash, while freshman Dwight Stones placed third in the high jump.
The 1972 Bruins featured five senior starters with a wealth of championship experience, and that group carried UCLA to its second consecutive NCAA men's water polo title, its third in four years. Goalie Kevin Craig earned All-America honors for the fourth consecutive year. Kurt Krumpholz, Eric Lindroth, Bob Neumann and John Rees also earned national acclaim. Bob Horn's squad finished 19-1 and breezed through the NCAA tournament, beating Yale 21-3, UC Irvine 15-10 and San Jose State 10-5.
UCLA won its seventh straight national title in 1973, became the first school to post back-to-back unbeaten seasons and set an NCAA record for consecutive victories. The Bruins' 82-63 victory at Notre Dame in late January was their 61st in a row, breaking the old record set by the Bill Russell-led USF teams of the mid-1950s. By season's end, UCLA's streak was at 75. Along the way, the Bruins had very few close calls, winning each of their 26 regular-season games by at least six points and 23 of 26 by 10 points or more. In the NCAA regionals, UCLA survived USF's slowdown tactics, and in the national semifinals, the Bruins beat Indiana by 20 points behind a 22-point effort from reserve Tommy Curtis. In the title game, center Bill Walton turned in one of the most remarkable performances in NCAA tournament history. He made 21 of 22 shots in a 44-point, 13-rebound effort to lead the Bruins past Memphis State, 87-66.
Jim Bush's squad won its third consecutive national championship, led by another winning performance from its dominant mile-relay team in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. UCLA's quartet of Ron Gaddis, Gordon Peppars, Maxie Parks and Benny Brown won the title with a time of 3:04.3. It was the fifth consecutive year that a Bruins' team won the NCAA mile relay. The Bruins' mile-relay team also won the Pac-8 title for the sixth consecutive year.
Seldom-used freshman Sabin Perkins came off the bench to serve six consecutive points, including three aces, in the decisive fifth game as UCLA beat UC Santa Barbara (10-15, 15-8, 10-15, 15-11, 15-12) to win the NCAA title for the fourth time in the five-year history of the championship. The top-ranked Gauchos had a 7-1 lead in game five and were playing in front of a partisan crowd on their home floor when Perkins entered the match. He helped pull the Bruins even at 7-7, then broke a 9-9 tie by serving three more points in a row to give UCLA the lead for good. Mike Normand's block gave the Bruins a 15-12 victory and ended the marathon match. Normand, Jim Menges and Bob Leonard were named to the All-Tournament team from UCLA, which finished 30-5. Leonard was selected as the MVP.
The Bruins' string of seven consecutive national championships ended with a double-overtime loss to North Carolina State in the 1974 semifinal game, but UCLA bounced back to win the title again in John Wooden's last season as coach. Senior Dave Meyers, the lone returning starter from the 1974 team, led Wooden's final team by averaging 18.3 points per game. Richard Washington averaged 15.9 points per game and Marques Johnson added 11.6. The Bruins lost three regular-season games, and had numerous other close games, but still managed to win the Pac-8 title. They struggled early in the NCAA tournament, with an overtime victory over Michigan in the first round and a 3-point win over Drake after that. But Washington scored 35 points in a 14-point victory over Arizona State in the West Regional final to propel UCLA to the Final Four. After a one-point overtime victory over Louisville in the national semifinal game, Wooden announced his retirement. The Bruins gave their legendary coach a 92-85 victory over Kentucky in his final game. Washington scored 28 points, Meyers added 24, and Drollinger came off the bench to grab 13 rebounds to secure UCLA's 10th national title in 12 years.
The Bruins stymied top-ranked and unbeaten UC Santa Barbara in the title match for the second consecutive year, winning in four games (15-9, 7-15, 15-9, 15-10) before more than 8,000 fans at Pauley Pavilion. MVP John Bekins led UCLA with a near-flawless setting performance in the final and was joined on the All-Tournament team by John Herron and Joe Mica, an All-American freshman. The Bruins, who beat Ohio State in four games in the semifinals, finished 27-8 and won their fifth championship in six years.
Billy Martin's singles title sparked UCLA to its eleventh national team championship in competition in Corpus Christi, Texas. Martin became only the second freshman to win the NCAA title (the Bruins' Jimmy Connors was the first in 1971) when he rallied from two sets down to beat SMU's George Hardie. Martin also teamed with Brian Teacher to reach the doubles final. UCLA outdistanced second-place Miami 27-20 at the NCAAs. The Bruins also won the Pac-8 title and breezed to a 19-0 record in dual-match play.
Backup setter Steve Suttich made the play of the night in the championship, making a diving save to stave off game point in the opener, and UCLA went on to sweep Pepperdine to win the title at Ball State in Muncie, Indiana. The Bruins trailed 15-14 when Suttich's save sparked a rally for an 18-16 victory. UCLA then swept to the title with relatively easy wins of 15-9 and 15-11 in the final two games. All-America selection Joe Mica led a host of Bruins on the All-Tournament team and was also named the MVP. UCLA finished 15-2 en route to its third consecutive championship and its sixth in the seven-year history of the event.
Peter Fleming and Ferdi Taygan won the doubles title in a dramatic finish to the 1976 NCAA championships in Corpus Christi, Texas, giving UCLA a share of the national team crown. Fleming and Taygan crushed USC's Bruce Manson and Chris Lewis in straight sets to pull the Bruins into a tie for the championship with USC. Third-place Stanford finished just one point behind. Fleming also reached the singles final. He and Taygan, a three-time All-America selection, had not played doubles together before, but they teamed in the NCAAs because of an injury to four-time All-America Brian Teacher.
Sophomore Greg Foster bested heralded Maryland freshman Renaldo Nehemiah in the 110-meter high hurdles to highlight UCLA's fourth national title of the 1970s. Foster won the hurdles in 13.22, only .01 seconds off the world record. James Owens, a running back on the football team, finished third in 13.46. The Bruins' Mike Tully, the world record holder in the pole vault, won his event at 18-1 3/4. UCLA's sixth national title actually came two years after the event in Eugene, Oregon. The Bruins originally tied for second (with Texas-El Paso) behind USC, but the Trojans forfeited the title after using an ineligible athlete. This marks the only shared NCAA Championship UCLA has.
The Bruins completed collegiate volleyball's first perfect season, finishing 30-0 and winning the national title for the seventh time. The Bruins beat rival USC in four games in the championship match at Pauley Pavilion. After dropping the opening game, 12-15, UCLA roared back to win the next three, 15-12, 15-11, 15-7. Four Bruins were named to the All-Tournament team, including senior captain and All-American Sinjin Smith, the championship's most outstanding player. Steve Salmons was the NCAA player of the year.
Fritz Buehning and Blaine Willenborg each won singles matches, then teamed to win the decisive doubles match as UCLA beat Trinity of Texas 5-3 in the NCAA team finals in Athens, Georgia. The Bruins held a 4-2 lead after singles play, then clinched the match when Buehning and Willenborg beat Trinity's top doubles team of John Benson and Tony Giammalva in straight sets. UCLA went 26-2 and won the national title despite fielding the youngest and most inexperienced team in coach Glenn Bassett's 13-year tenure. The 11-man varsity squad included four freshman, three sophomores and four juniors, with no seniors.