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Word From Westwood - January 24, 2012
By: UCLA Athletics

Jan. 24, 2012

Word From Westwood by Dan Guerrero

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Fellow Bruins,

Many of us in the UCLA family have been impacted a great deal by the man whom we will forever refer to simply as Coach: the late John R. Wooden. Whether it is in regards to what he accomplished at UCLA, his Pyramid of Success, or just a passing reference, many of us owe a lot to Coach and we are forever grateful to him.

What we sometimes don't realize is the enormous impact that his teachings and principles have on people all over the world. In fact, I was humbled two weeks ago when I learned that four basketball coaches from Uganda will be visiting the UCLA campus this week to learn more about Coach Wooden.

Why all the way from Uganda you may ask? The answer is actually quite astounding: authorities in Uganda use Coach Wooden's teachings, the same ones that we cite virtually every day, to rehabilitate some of the young guerrilla warriors in that country.

Hearing that not only makes us realize how fortunate we were to have Coach Wooden right here at UCLA, but also reminds us that his lessons continue to resonate on a global scale.

Howland's Men Look to Get Back on Track at Home
After suffering disappointing back-to-back setbacks on the road last week against the Oregon schools, the men's basketball team will come home and have the chance to gain some ground on the Pac-12 leaders when conference debutantes Utah and Colorado come to town this weekend.

The Utes have struggled in their first year in the league and will visit the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena Thursday night at 7:30 pm, but the Buffs have been one of the conference's surprise teams and will come calling at 1 pm Saturday. That game will mark the halfway point of the conference regular season schedule.

"Ed-O" Proves You Can Come Home Again
I am delighted to share with all of you that former Bruin great, 1995 Wooden Award winner and National Championship team member Ed O'Bannon has again made us in the Bruin family all very proud of his accomplishments.

Last summer and fall, O'Bannon commuted between his home in Las Vegas and campus to finish the coursework needed for his degree. He recently completed his requirements to major in History, has graduated from UCLA and will be participating in graduation ceremonies this Spring.

How about one more 8-clap for Ed-O?

Success Comes in Bunches for Bruin Alumni
What an amazing week it was for our men's basketball alumni! First, many of them were featured prominently in a Los Angeles Times story about Coach Howland last week, and then, over a three-day span, Arron Afflalo, Kevin Love and Darren Collison all scored game-winning baskets for their respective NBA teams.

As if three game-winners in 72 hours wasn't an amazing feat in and of itself, two of them, Love's and Collison's came right here in Los Angeles on the floor at Staples Center - Love against the Clippers on Friday and Collison against the Lakers Sunday.

On the Road Again for Women's Hoops
After splitting their home games against the Oregon schools on the weekend, the women's basketball team will make its first conference trip to the Mountain Time Zone for two games that will mirror the men's schedule, and may indeed be critical to their seeding in the Pac-12 tournament in March.

Ten of the Pac-12's teams are all within three games of one another in the standings, and every game counts at this point. After having the chance to watch the women in person last weekend, I know one thing is for sure: no matter what the situation, they always play hard and will battle every game.

Special Treat in Store at Feb. 4 Women's Home Game
A UCLA Women's Basketball tradition will return on Saturday, February 4, prior to the Bruins' 2 pm game against Washington State. That is the third annual Dads & Daughters Day. Just $25 gets you two tickets to a father-daughter-only pregame fair, two game tickets, two lunches and two commemorative t-shirts. If you have more than one daughter, additional tickets can be added. For more information or to order tickets, please visit here.

As a father of two now-grown daughters myself, I can't begin to express enough how much fun it has been to take them to sporting events through the years. Dads, take this opportunity to begin a tradition with your daughters and develop lasting memories.

Olympic Sports Update
In front of a loud, boisterous crowd Friday night, the men's volleyball team opened their conference season with a sweep of Stanford and followed it up with a whitewash of Pacific the next night. Having lost just one set in their last five matches, they continue their conference schedule with home matches against Cal State Northridge (tomorrow) and UCSB (Friday), both at 7 pm ... After posting its best performance of the young season Sunday against San Jose State, the top-ranked women's gymnastics team hits the road for a meet against Washington on Friday. During Sunday's meet against SJSU, Head Coach Valorie Kondos Field challenged the crowd to wear their best super-action hero costumes for the next home meet against Stanford on February 5 - are you up for it? ... Kudos to sophomore All-American weight thrower Alec Faldermeyer and senior pole vaulter Trent Perez, who each set records and led the men's indoor track team to a strong performance at the Run for the Dream Meet in Fresno. Meanwhile, at the annual Pole Vault Summit in Reno, sophomore Mike Woepse cleared a lifetime-best of 17 feet -8.50 inches to move into UCLA's all-time top ten list. The men's and women's teams next travel to both Pullman and Seattle for the Cougar Invite and the Husky Invite next weekend ... The men's tennis team defeated BYU 6-1 Saturday at LATC and will host UC Irvine this afternoon, while Stella Sampras-Webster's women's team will host the Anteaters tomorrow ... The swimming and diving team returns home for a pair of conference meets this week, against Stanford Friday, and Cal Saturday ... After traveling to Ann Arbor and sweeping three matches, including the host Wolverines, the women's water poloteam takes the weekend off.

A Fond Farewell
Rose Drake, the wife of former UCLA head track and field coach Elvin C. "Ducky" Drake passed away yesterday in Santa Monica at the age of 96. Ducky was the Bruins' head coach from 1947-1964, after serving as an assistant from 1929-1944, and is a member of both the UCLA and National Track and Field Halls of Fame. Many of us remember Rose for her terrific piano playing, including at many athletic department functions. Her talents and her fun-loving spirit will be missed.

Ask Dan Question of the Week
Q: Why did we not schedule the USC game at the Honda Center and make USC travel rather than just let them walk across the street?
Ned J. Vento

A: Ned, thank you for the question.

We initially contemplated playing the USC men's basketball game at the Honda Center instead of the Sports Arena, but in the end we decided against doing that, primarily for the following reasons. First, to ask our team to travel to Orange County for a home game during a school week (the game against Arizona fell during the break between quarters) was less than ideal. Second, with the team leaving for a cross-country trip to New York the next morning in advance of the St. Johns game, we, including Coach Howland, wanted them to play the USC game as close to the UCLA campus as possible. With Staples Center unavailable when we were contracting with venues, we determined that the best venue for game was the Sports Arena.

Thank you all for your submissions - please know that each question submitted was read, and please don't forget to submit a question to this week.

Go Bruins!

Dan Guerrero
Director of Athletics, UCLA

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