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Word From Westwood - Aug. 21, 2012
Courtesy: UCLA Athletics  
Release:  08/22/2012

Word From Westwood

Word From Westwood - Deliver to Inbox

Aug. 21, 2012

This week is sure to be an exciting one around Westwood as activity begins to pick up in our athletic venues. The football team is once again practicing at Spaulding Field, but now with brand new state-of-the-art grass surfaces under the players' feet. The soccer teams are back at practice on North Athletic Field, and women's volleyball is in the Wooden Center. Seemingly in the center of it all, sits New Pauley Pavilion, still under construction, but on time and on budget ...

Follow the Bruins in China
As is now widely known, the men's basketball team leaves for China early tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. The Bruins will play three games in a week before returning home. Though (as of this writing) none of the games will be televised, there will be extensive coverage of the trip on UCLABruins.com, including daily journals, player perspective pieces, game recaps and photo galleries.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott will join the team for the first few days of the trip to greet the team and be on hand to meet with dignitaries and hosts for the visit. In addition, the Los Angeles Times will be sending a reporter to follow the team throughout the week. Be sure to check out both sources regularly for the latest on this groundbreaking trip for the university and the Pac-12.


Football Starts Rice Preparations
After nearly two weeks of training camp in San Bernardino and five days of open practices after returning to Westwood late last week, Jim Mora and the UCLA football team start final preparations for the season opener at Rice on Spaulding Field Wednesday morning.

Beginning Wednesday and continuing throughout the season, all practices will be closed to the public. That said, Bruin fans looking for Coach Mora's daily post-practice thoughts should look no further than UCLABruins.com.

Reminder: Fireworks Show after the Nebraska Game at Rose Bowl
Don't forget, following the September 8 football home opener against Nebraska, the UCLA Band and Rialto-based Pyro Spectaculars, one of the nation's leaders in large-scale fireworks shows, will combine for a unique fireworks show for all fans in attendance. For more information or to purchase tickets to the game, please visit UCLABruins.com or call 310-UCLA-WIN (310-825-2946).

Radio and Television Information for First Three Football Games
Due to head-to-head conflicts with the Los Angeles Dodgers, the first three UCLA football games of the year will now air on KTLK 1150 am, instead of the Bruins' flagship station, KLAC 570 am. Meanwhile, the first three games will all be televised on different outlets: the Rice game will be live on CBS Sports Network, the Nebraska game will air on FOX, and the Houston game marks UCLA Football's debut on the Pac-12 Networks.

Support Football Through Then, Now, Forever Fund
When he was hired, Coach Jim Mora made a promise to the Bruin Family to instill a firm sense of accountability from the UCLA Football program, and stressed to his players that they need to be accountable to themselves, the staff, the University, and to the donors who support their program.

Just as he is holding his team accountable, in return, Coach Mora is relying on generous donors to be accountable to the football student-athletes as they represent UCLA on and off the field.

The Then Now Forever Fund was created to provide additional financial support for the UCLA Football program. By supporting this fund, necessary resources can be provided to attain the level of success all Bruins want to see for the players.

Additionally, by supporting the team and making a (tax-deductible) donation to the Then, Now, Forever Fund, donors are eligible for invitations to the annual Football Kick-Off Dinner, banquet and other special events, as well as receive priority seating and reserved parking at the Rose Bowl, sideline passes, passes to an exclusive pregame tent for all home football games, and more.

To learn more, please visit www.woodenathleticfund.com/thennowforever.

History in the Making
The Pac-12 Networks make their initial visit to Westwood this Friday for the #2-ranked men's soccer team's season opener against #6-ranked New Mexico at 7 pm at Drake Stadium. The game will be televised on Pac-12 National and is the first of more than 30 Bruin Olympic Sports events that are scheduled to air on the network this fall. All UCLA fans in the area are encouraged to come out to Drake and represent their Bruin pride for this historic first game.

Those without the Pac-12 Networks and wanting them added to their offerings should contact their provider here.

Speaking of History ...
Construction on Pauley Pavilion continues, and work is being done at a frenetic pace both inside and outside the building to get it ready for its first events.

See the photo below:

In the coming weeks, very exciting plans for the building's opening week, in addition to the men's and women's basketball games on November 9 and 10, respectively, will be announced, so stay tuned ...

Olympic Sports Roundup
The fall is season is officially underway, with just a couple of teams in action:

  • The #6-ranked women's soccer team literally survived a storm on Friday at UConn, having their game cancelled by lightning before defeating UMass Sunday to come home with a 1-0 record. The Bruins travel to Fresno State on Friday before hosting Illinois at Drake Stadium on Sunday.
  • The defending national champion and preseason #1-ranked women's volleyball team opens its 2012 campaign against Notre Dame (Friday) and Nebraska (Sunday) in Lincoln. Sunday's game will be televised on the Big Ten Network.

    As I strolled through Drake Stadium on Saturday afternoon, I was pleased to see all of the UCLA fans, young and old, who came out to take part in our first-ever Meet the Bruins day. As I glanced at the field, I, of course, witnessed all of our Bruin football student-athletes signing autographs, mingling with fans, and genuinely appreciating the display of support from everyone who took the time out on Saturday to be with the team. I also couldn't help but notice the very young fans wearing UCLA t-shirts and jerseys, running sprints and trying to kick field goals. It is not lost on me that events such as this help to build relationships between the fans and the team, but they can also serve as the catalyst for a young boy or girl to dream about attending UCLA and in some cases, even wearing the Bruin uniform.

    All of that, combined with the midfield interviews over the PA system and the rousing welcome and closing from our band, made for a terrific event. In fact, many fans came up to me and commented about how good a time they were having.

    Meet the Bruins capped off a great day for the football team, which had just participated in its first practice on the renovated Spaulding Field. The feedback there has been good as well, as Coach Mora and the players, to a man, have given the surface glowing reviews.

    That was not the only thing that made me smile on Saturday afternoon. Just after football practice had concluded and before the Meet the Bruins event began, many of us enjoyed a wonderful surprise. Former UCLA football player Nick Ekbatani, who was seriously injured in a motorcycle crash earlier this summer, addressed the current team about appreciating all that they have, never taking anything for granted and living life to the fullest.

    It was moving to see a young man who has suffered so much in recent weeks walk out onto Spaulding Field on his crutches and instantly command the respect and admiration of all of us who had the pleasure of hearing him speak, players, coaches and other department staff alike.

    Knowing that his injuries have left him saddled by medical bills, Nick's friends and family have begun selling "Bruin Pride" bracelets for $5 apiece. For more information to purchase a bracelet, please send an email to macedokim@gmail.com.

    Dan Guerrero
    UCLA Athletic Director

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