Steve Lavin is one of just two coaches in the nation, joining Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, to have led his team to five NCAA ‘Sweet 16s’ in the last six years (2002-01-00-98-97). In Lavin’s six seasons as the UCLA head coach, he is 10-1 during the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, including an unbeaten 5-0 record in second round games. Since John Wooden’s retirement 27 years ago as UCLA’s head coach, Lavin is the first Bruin head mentor to lead UCLA to three consecutive NCAA "Sweet 16" appearances (2002-01-00).
In 2002, he directed UCLA to its 14th consecutive NCAA Tournament bid, including the sixth straight under his reign, and 14th straight 20+ win season. In 2001, he earned Pacific-10 Coach of the Year honors and led UCLA to the NCAA "Sweet 16" for the fourth time in five years. During his first six campaigns (including 2001-02), UCLA averaged nearly 23 wins a year and advanced to the NCAA "Elite Eight" (1997), four times to the NCAA "Sweet 16" (2002-01-00-98), won a Pacific-10 title (1997) and assembled the nation’s No. 1 (2001, 1998) and No. 2 (1997) recruiting classes. Under Lavin, the Bruins have six consecutive NCAA Tournament bids and six straight 20+ game winning seasons. On March 30, 1999, he received a new six-year contract, which also included a rollover clause.
In 2002, the Bruins reached the NCAA "Sweet 16" with a 21-11 overall mark and a 7-4 record vs. teams ranked in the Top 25 at game time, including wins over No. 1 Kansas (87-77, Jan. 12 in Pauley Pavilion), No. 5 Cincinnati (105-101 in double overtime in the NCAA Second Round at Pittsburgh, PA), No. 9 Arizona (77-76, Feb. 14 in Pauley Pavilion) and No. 10 Stanford (95-92, Feb. 23 at Palo Alto, beating the Cardinal on their home floor for the third straight season). The Bruins also had wins over Alabama at the Wooden Classic in Anaheim (79-57, Dec. 8, No. 16 at game time, No. 8 entering the NCAA Tournament), Georgetown (98-91, Dec. 29 in Pauley Pavilion, No. 20 at game time) and USC (67-65, Feb. 6 in Pauley Pavilion, No. 25 at game time). During one stretch (Dec. 5-Jan. 6), UCLA had a nine-game winning streak, its longest since the 1997-98 season.
In 2001, Lavin led the Bruins to an overall record of 23-9 (71.9), including an eight-game winning streak from Jan. 25 through March 1, and a record of 19-5 in their last 24 games. UCLA compiled a record of 14-4 (77.8) in Pac-10 play, finished third (just two games out of first-place) and Lavin was named the conference Coach of the Year. UCLA defeated No. 1 Stanford (79-73, Feb. 3 in Palo Alto) on its home floor for the second straight season (it is believed Lavin is only the second coach in collegiate history to record consecutive wins on a No. 1 ranked teams’ home floor — USC’s Bob Boyd won at No. 1 UCLA in 1969 and ’70). Under Lavin’s guidance, the Bruins also beat Arizona 79-77 (OT) on Feb. 15 in Pauley Pavilion (the Wildcats’ next loss would be 12 games later, losing to Duke in the 2001 NCAA Championship game) and defeated Kentucky early in the season (97-92 OT), Coaches vs. Cancer, Nov. 10, Madison Square Garden).
In 2000, the Bruins played in the NCAA "Sweet 16" for the third time in four seasons and entered the Midwest Region semi-final game with an eight-game winning streak.
ENTERING SEVENTH SEASON AS BRUIN HEAD COACH
In his six seasons as UCLA’s head coach, Lavin, 38, owns an overall record of 135-59 (69.6, 194 games) and a Pac-10 mark of 74-34 (68.5, 108 games). Lavin’s first contest in the 2002 NCAA Tournament was the 350th game of his Bruin career (dating back to the 1991-92 season). His win over Villanova (93-65, Jan. 13, 2001, Pauley Pavilion) was the 100th of his career and he reached that total the second-fastest in school history (142 games), trailing only Jim Harrick (136 games). UCLA’s win over Maine at the 1999 Pearl Harbor Classic was Lavin’s 75th victory of his Bruin head coaching career, reaching that plateau faster than any other coach in school history (102 games). The Bruins’ win over DePaul early in the 1999-00 season at Pauley Pavilion was Lavin’s 200th as a member of the Bruin staff. Lavin won the 50th game of his Bruin head coaching career on Nov. 26, 1998, beating San Francisco 69-62 in the first round of the Puerto Rico Shootout. His overall record at the time after that victory was 50-17 (74.6, 67 games). Coincidentally, Wooden’s record after his first 67 games as the UCLA head coach was also 50-17.
Entering 2002-03, Lavin is No. 1 in wins and percentage (135-59, 69.6) in the nation on the chart of current collegiate Div. I head coaches entering their seventh season. In Lavin’s six years as the Bruin head coach, UCLA is 115-5 when leading at the five-minute mark and 8-2 when the score is tied with five minutes left to play.
Lavin is the only coach in school history to win at least 22 games in each of his first three seasons at UCLA and also the only coach to win at least 70.0% of his games in each of his first three years. He’s the first UCLA head coach since Gary Cunningham in 1978 (25-3) and ’79 (25-5) to record back-to-back seasons of at least 24 wins (1998, 24-9; 1997, 24-8).
During Lavin’s 11 years on the UCLA staff, the Bruins have won one NCAA Championship (1995) and four Pacific-10 titles (1992, 1995-97), along with 11 straight 20+game winning seasons and 11 consecutive NCAA Tournament bids, including three ‘Elite Eight’ appearances (1997, ’95, ’92) and four ‘Sweet 16’ appearances (1998, 2000, 2001, 2002).
Lavin has been particularly successful in the NCAA Tournament as the Bruin head coach. Lavin is one of just two coaches in the nation who have led their schools to five "Sweet 16s" in the last six years (along with Duke’s Krzyzewski). Since the NCAA Tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1985, Lavin (1998 and 1997) is one of only two coaches (along with Gonzaga’s Mark Few, 2001 and 2000) to have advanced to the "Sweet 16" in each of their first two seasons as a Div. I head coach. He has led UCLA to six straight tournament bids and an 11-6 (64.7) NCAA record. Among UCLA mentors who have coached in the NCAA Tournament, Lavin’s record of 11-6 is the best of any Bruin coach after 17 NCAA contests (Wooden was 8-9 and Harrick 10-7). Lavin has been to 13 consecutive NCAA Tournaments (11 straight at UCLA and two, 1991 and ‘90, while on the staff at Purdue under Gene Keady).
Since the NCAA Tournament field was expanded in 1985, he is the first Bruin head coach to lead UCLA to five NCAA "Sweet 16" appearances in a six-year stretch. In 2002, in the West Region at Pittsburgh, PA, No. 8 seed UCLA defeated No. 9 seed Mississippi 80-58, and in one of the most exciting games in NCAA Tournament history, the Bruins in the second round defeated No. 1 seed Cincinnati 105-101 in double overtime, to advance to the "Sweet 16" for the fifth time in the last six years (at San Jose, the Bruins lost to No. 12 seed Missouri 82-73). In 2001, in the East Region at Greensboro, NC, the No. 4 seed Bruins defeated No. 13 seed Hofstra 61-48 in the first round and No. 12 seed Utah State 75-50 in the second round, advancing to the "Sweet 16" in Philadelphia vs. No. 1 ranked Duke (UCLA lost to the eventual National Champion Blue Devils, 76-63). In 2000, UCLA, the No. 6 seed in the NCAA Midwest Region, advanced to the "Sweet 16" for the third time in four years, beating No. 11 seed Ball State (65-57) and No. 3 seed Maryland (105-70), before losing to No. 2 seed Iowa State (80-56). In 1999, the Bruins were a No. 5 seed in the NCAA South Region. In 1998, the No. 6 seed Bruins advanced to the NCAA South Region "Sweet 16", by beating No. 11 seed Miami (FL) 65-62 and No. 3 seed Michigan 85-82 in the first and second rounds, before losing to No. 2 seed and eventual National Champion Kentucky, 94-68. In 1997, Lavin’s first season as head coach, the Bruins were one game away from the Final Four – in the first two rounds of the Midwest Regional at Auburn Hills, MI, No. 2 seed UCLA defeated No. 15 seed Charleston Southern 109-75 and No. 7 seed Xavier 96-83 and in San Antonio, TX, the Bruins beat No. 6 seed Iowa State 74-73 in overtime before losing the Midwest Region final to No. 1 seed Minnesota, 80-72.
Lavin is the first Bruin head mentor since Wooden in 1971 (four wins and an NCAA title), 1972 (four wins and an NCAA title), 1973 (four wins and an NCAA title) 1974 (three wins) and 1975 (five wins, his 10th NCAA crown) to win multiple tournament games five times in six years. In 1998, UCLA reached the NCAA "Sweet 16" for the second consecutive year and for the first time since the 1979 and ’80 seasons. The Bruins were one of just six schools to reach the "Sweet 16" in both 1997 and ’98 (Arizona, Kentucky, North Carolina, Stanford and Utah).
Along with his NCAA success, Lavin during his Bruin career has an outstanding winning record in overtime contests.
In his six years as the Bruin head coach, UCLA’s record in overtime is 10-2, winning nine consecutive overtime games dating back to 1997, including the 2002 NCAA second round double overtime victory over No. 1 West Region seed Cincinnati. UCLA has been unbeaten in extra-period contests the last five years, including a 3-0 record in 2000-01 (beat No. 12 Kentucky 97-92OT for third-place in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic, defeated No. 8 Arizona 79-77OT in Pauley Pavilion and won at Oregon State 68-65OT).
LINEUP CHANGES EQUAL WINNING STREAKS
During his six years as the Bruins’ head coach, Lavin’s seasonal lineup changes have led to multi-game winning streaks for the Bruins. Last season, after a 2-2 start, senior Rico Hines entered the starting lineup on Dec. 5 (vs. UC Riverside) and the Bruins went on a nine-game winning streak (and won nine of 10 games, including wins over (at game time) No. 16 Alabama in the Wooden Classic, No. 20 Georgetown and No. 1 Kansas). In 2001, Lavin inserted senior guard Jason Flowers into the starting lineup, after UCLA started the season at 4-4, and the Bruins went on a six-game winning streak, including a road win at Purdue and a home victory over USC. And again in 2001, after UCLA lost at California, 92-63 on Feb. 1, then-junior guard Billy Knight became a starter and the Bruins won eight games in a row, including wins at No. 1 Stanford (for the second year in a row), at USC and an overtime victory over Arizona in Pauley Pavilion.
Another example of a starting lineup change occurred late in the 1999-2000 season. Trying to stop a three-game skid, Lavin inserted senior forward Sean Farnham into the starting lineup and the Bruins won eight consecutive contests, including a victory at No. 1 Stanford, and advanced to the NCAA "Sweet 16".
ELITE RECRUITING CLASSES
Lavin and his staff have been equally as successful on the recruiting trail. In 2002-03, the Bruins’ have another highly-regarded incoming freshman class, led by two centers, 7-0 Michael Fey and 6-11 Ryan Hollins. Entering the 2001-02 season, UCLA’s incoming freshman class (McDonald’s All-American Cedric Bozeman, Andre Patterson, Dijon Thompson, Fey; on June 29, 2001 the Bruins announced that Fey was not enrolling in Fall 2001, but he is enrolling in Fall 2002) was voted No. 1 in the nation by Sports Illustrated.
Entering the 2000-01 campaign, UCLA’s talented incoming freshmen were T. J. Cummings, son of NBA and DePaul standout Terry Cummings; Josiah Johnson, son of NBA and UCLA great Marques Johnson and Ryan Walcott, whose cousin Mike Bibby was an All-American at Arizona and current standout with the Sacramento Kings. In 1999, the Bruins signed McDonald’s All-American Jason Kapono. In 1998, UCLA landed the No. 1 recruiting class in the country, led by three McDonald’s All-Americans (Dan Gadzuric, JaRon Rush and Ray Young, who will be a redshirt senior this year). In 1997, the Bruins signed the nation’s No. 2 class, led by prep National Player of the Year Baron Davis.
In all, Lavin has recruited six McDonald’s All-Americans to UCLA — 2001 Bozeman, 1999 Kapono, 1998 Gadzuric, Rush, Young and 1997 Davis.
FIRST THREE YEARS
Six years ago (1996-97), in a season that began in turmoil, Lavin and his staff provided direction and leadership and guided the Bruins to within one game of the NCAA Final Four and to UCLA’s third consecutive Pac-10 crown. UCLA ended the season 24-8 overall and won the conference championship, the 27th in school history, with a 15-3 record. The last time a first-year Bruin head coach won more games than Lavin in 1997 (24) was in 1978, when Gary Cunningham won 25.
Lavin’s 1997 successes led to a five-year contract prior to the 1997-98 campaign. In 1998, the Bruins were 24-9 overall, placed third in the Pac-10 with a 12-6 record and advanced to the NCAA "Sweet 16". It was the Bruins’ 10th consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and 10th straight 20+game winning season.
In 1998-99, UCLA was the second-youngest team in the nation and entered the 1999 NCAA Tournament with a 22-8 overall record (same record entering the NCAA Tournament as UCLA’s senior-laden squad of 1997-98) and a 12-6 mark in the Pac-10, good for third-place (conference writers picked UCLA to finish fourth in the Pac-10 preseason poll).
Entering 2001-02, Lavin’s three-year (1997-99) total of 70 wins (70-26, 72.9) was tied for No. 8 all-time (with seven other coaches, based on wins) on the NCAA coaching chart of best starts ever by a Div. 1 coach after his first three seasons.
CHOSEN UCLA HEAD COACH
Prior to the start of the 1996-97 season, Lavin was entering his sixth year on the Bruin staff, his second as a full-time assistant and his first as UCLA’s Recruiting Coordinator. But all that changed on Nov. 6, 1996, when Harrick was dismissed as UCLA’s head coach. Lavin was given the interim head coaching position at the age of 32, at the time making him the fifth youngest major college head basketball coach in the country.
On Feb. 11, 1997, with the Bruins clearly on the right path at 13-7 overall and tied for first place in the Pac-10 with an 8-3 record, Lavin was rewarded by being chosen UCLA’s head coach, the 11th in school history. Since that date, UCLA has an overall record of 122-52 (174 games, 70.1) — including an 11-game winning streak in 1997, a nine-game streak in ’98, an eight-game winning streak in 1999 and another eight-game winning streak to end the 1999-2000 campaign. In 2000-01, the Bruins won 11 of their last 14 games and had winning streaks of six and eight games and last year, the Bruins had a nine-game winning streak.
UCLA finished the 1996-97 regular season with a 21-7 overall record and 15-3 mark in the Pac-10, winning its third consecutive conference title and recording a 20+victory season for the ninth straight season. The Bruins received their ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid in 1997 as the No. 2 seed in the Midwest Region, behind Minnesota. UCLA won its first three tournament games, including a dramatic 74-73 overtime win over Iowa State in the "Sweet 16", setting up a regional final against Minnesota. Although the Gophers defeated UCLA, 80-72, to advance to the Final Four, Lavin and his staff proved time and time again in 1996-97 why they should lead the Bruins into the next millennium.
HONORS AND COMMUNITY SERVICE
In 2002-03, Lavin, his staff and the Bruin players will take part in the first annual UCLA Riordan Program Basketball Extravaganza. Established in 1987, the UCLA Riordan Programs at the Anderson School provide education and opportunity for students of diverse backgrounds. Through various clinics and other activities, the Bruins will help raise funds for the UCLA Riordan Program, which develops future leaders in business from underserved and disadvantaged backgrounds.
In March 2001, Lavin earned his first Pacific-10 Coach of the Year honor in his fifth season as head mentor of the Bruins. In April 2001, he attended the City of Hope’s 25th annual Celebration of Life Reunion in Duarte (honoring the City of Hope’s more than 1000 bone marrow transplantation patients).
For two of the last six seasons (1999 and ‘98), Lavin was an announced candidate for the Naismith Coach of the Year Award. At the 1998 Final Four in San Antonio, he was the head coach of the West squad in the NABC All-Star Game. At the conclusion of the 1997-98 season, Lavin was honored by his alma mater as the Chapman University Alumnus of the Year. He also serves on Chapman’s Board of Governors. On Oct. 1, 1998, Lavin was roasted at an event called Hoop La to benefit the American Diabetes Association. The dinner was held at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Invited guests included head coaches Mike Jarvis (St. John’s), John Calipari (Memphis) and Keady (Purdue); television commentators Bill Walton and Billy Packer, along with Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson and actor Kevin Bacon. Past honorees at the ADA event include Rollie Massimino, Rick Pitino, Bobby Cremins, Gary Williams, Bill Raftery, Digger Phelps, P. J. Carlesimo, Pete Gillen and Calipari.
In fall 1998, Lavin became an honorary member of the Golden Key National Honor Society at UCLA.
For his efforts in 1996-97, Lavin was named the Basketball Times National Rookie Coach of the Year, along with the NABC Dist. 15 and USBWA Dist. 9 Coach of the Year. On Oct. 21, 1997, at the Hugh O’Brien Youth Foundation Awards Dinner in Los Angeles, Lavin was presented the International Inspiration Award. The award is given annually to those who "have profoundly inspired others by their character, by their values and by their actions." Muhammad Ali and Tommy Lasorda are among those who have been honored with the HOBY International Inspiration Award.
During his first year (1996-97) as Bruin head coach, Lavin articulated a list of 23 standards of conduct for his team. Lavin called the list "Bruin Attitude" because all of the items represent his expectations for the necessary character development of the student-athletes in the UCLA basketball program. The list includes basic guidelines, such as "Excel in the classroom", "Make good use of study hall", "Be humble in victory, gracious in defeat" and "Be a role model off the court."
This clear and simple code has contributed significantly over the years to the disciplined attitude of teams, and therefore, to the success of UCLA under Lavin.
"I believe these standards help our young people develop stronger personal, social and ethical habits," Lavin said. "These standards give us sharper focus, belief in each other, and a disciplined strength.
"I believe a disciplined athlete will be a more successful athlete and a disciplined team will be a more successful team," he said. "That’s the practical payoff or result from building sound values, a good attitude, and team concept. And that’s what our Bruin Attitude is all about, it’s about standards."
LEARNING FROM THE BEST
Prior to his UCLA experience, Lavin for three seasons was a graduate assistant (1988-91) and staff member at Purdue University, under Keady.
When UCLA hired Lavin prior to the start of the 1991-92 season, the Bruins got a young and enthusiastic assistant with a wealth of teaching experience for his age. Lavin had worked for and studied under some of the most recognized defensive coaches in the country — Texas Tech’s Bob Knight, Duke’s Krzyzewski, former Fresno State head coach Jerry Tarkanian, former Milwaukee Bucks’ assistant Tim Grgurich, Hall of Famer Pete Newell and California Junior College Hall of Famer Bud Presley — in addition to his three years at Purdue with Keady.
While at Purdue, Lavin assisted with all aspects of the Boilermaker program. Purdue advanced to the NCAA Tournament in both 1990 and ’91. During his three seasons in West Lafayette, IN, Purdue was 54-36 overall, including a 22-8 mark in 1989-90 when the Boilermakers were the Big-10 runner-up and ranked No. 6 by USA Today.
As a key member of Keady’s staff at Purdue, Lavin assisted at the 1989 U.S. World University Team trials (the team won the gold medal in West Germany) and the 1991 U.S. Pan American Team trials (the squad won the bronze medal).
During the semester break of 1987-88 while attending Chapman University, Lavin observed Knight’s program, when he was head coach at Indiana, and Keady’s Boilermaker team. Several months later, when Keady was looking for a graduate assistant, Lavin got the job.
Lavin was the director and founder (1984) of the Lavin Basketball Camps (coed, fifth through 12th grades). The camp enrolled over 2,000 campers each summer from 1984-99. Lavin, with assistance from his family members, recruited, organized, coordinated and taught five separate one-week summer camps located throughout California. His camp attracted some of the country’s top coaches, including the legendary Wooden, Keady, Grgurich, Presley and former Yale head coach Dick Kuchen, "The Shot Doctor" Ernie Hobbie, along with Bruin greats Ed and Charles O’Bannon, Tyus Edney, Don MacLean, Hall of Famer Ann Meyers-Drysdale, Cameron Dollar and current UCLA assistant Gerald Madkins.
Lavin has also been a summer camp and coaches’ clinic speaker throughout the country, specializing in defense, footwork and motivation. From 1992-96, as a consultant-advisor, he traveled to Korea and worked with both the Korean National and Samsung professional teams. Lavin has also been involved with the Japanese National basketball program and traveled to Japan in the summer of 1996.
As a player, Lavin transferred to Chapman University from San Francisco State in 1984. During his senior season at Chapman in 1986-87, he was the team captain and earned the squad’s Leadership Award. Lavin graduated from Chapman in 1988. In 1984, as a sophomore at San Francisco State, Lavin earned the team’s Scholar-Athlete Award and the Gators were 21-11 overall, ranked No. 5 in the country and NCAA Div. II Western Region Champs.
As a prepster, Lavin was a member of the highly successful basketball program at Sir Francis Drake High School in San Anselmo, CA. During the 1981 and ’82 prep seasons, Drake won two State titles and had an overall record of 65-1, including 57 straight wins. Bruin assistant Jim Saia was a teammate of Lavin’s at both Chapman University and Sir Francis Drake HS.
Lavin’s father, Cap Lavin, in 1992 was inducted into the San Francisco Prep Basketball Hall of Fame and is a 1997 inductee into the University of San Francisco Hall of Fame. He prepped at St. Ignatius where he was a three-time (1946-48) All-City performer. Cap was a three-year letterman (1950-52) and team captain at USF. While at USF, he played for two Hall of Fame coaches, Pete Newell (1949-50) and Phil Woolpert (1950-52). As a collegiate guard, Newell described Cap as a "ballhandler way ahead of his time, one of the great dribblers and passers in the game."
In 1997, Cap retired after 43 years as an English teacher (at Cal-Berkeley, San Francisco State and Dominican College), including 40 years at Sir Francis Drake HS. At Cal-Berkeley, Cap was co-founder and director of the University of California Bay Area Writing Project, which established the National Writing Center at Berkeley and over 200 writing centers at university sites throughout the U. S. and abroad.
Cap and his wife, Mary, celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on July 3, 2002 and they have six children - Rachel, John, Mark, Ken and Suzanne, in addition to Steve. Lavin’s brother-in-law, John Moore, is the head basketball coach at Westmont College in Santa Barbara and is married to Lavin’s sister, Rachel.
Steve Lavin was born on Sept. 4, 1964 in San Francisco.