Bruins In The Real World: Randy Cross
Aug. 5, 2011
By Bill Bennett
"Coaches from UCLA shaped me as a young man, taught me lessons on and off the field and helped in life long after I left Westwood. I owe those men - Steve Butler, Moe Freedman, Terry Donahue, Pepper Rodgers, Dick Vermeil and Bob McKittrick - more than I can ever repay."
"Born to be a Bruin" is an honored phrase echoed by many an avid UCLA supporter. Few fit into that category better than UCLA football great Randy Cross. His mother, Rita, was the manager at Dkystra and Sproul Residence Halls on the UCLA campus. His late father, Dennis, was an actor who moved his family from Brooklyn, NY to Southern California and raised and influenced Randy to be a Bruin.
So once the Cross family moved to Tarzana in 1962, Randy was destined to attend UCLA. One of the most versatile offensive linemen in college and NFL history, with an elite ability to play both guard and center, Cross would earn All-America honors as a senior at UCLA in 1975. It was then on to the National Football League for 13 seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, starting on three Super Bowl championship teams.
Following his playing career, Cross established himself as one of the nation's top professional and college football analysts, broadcasting from television and radio booths since 1989 with CBS and NBC.
In July, he was inducted into the prestigious National Football Foundation College Football Hall of Fame, joining 11 other players and two coaches from the best of college football history. He became the 13th Bruin to be inducted. In 1998, Cross was inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame.
Cross now lives in Alpharetta, GA with his wife of 31 years, Patrice. They have three grown children - Kelly, a 2006 University of Georgia graduate; Crystal, who graduated from Auburn University; and Brendan, a quarterback on the Wake Forest University football team.
Q & A
Bruins In The Real World: Your father was an actor and you were born in Brooklyn, NY. What brought your family to Southern California?
BRW: During the recruiting process, because of your parents' Bruin influence on you as you were growing up, was there ever any doubt that you would be attending UCLA to play football?
BRW: You are one of the most versatile offensive linemen in school history, playing both guard and center at an all-star level. The center snaps the football and the guard does not, but what are some of the other differences and similarities between the two positions?
BRW: As a sophomore offensive lineman (center), the Bruin wishbone offense produced one of the greatest rushing teams in college football history. What are your memories from that season?
BRW: As a senior, the Bruins faced Ohio State twice, losing during the regular season and then beating the Buckeyes in the Rose Bowl. What were the team feelings after the first loss to OSU and what was the Bruin attitude before the Rose Bowl game, knowing you were going to face Ohio State for the second time?
BRW: UCLA has been a Rose Bowl champion five times in school history, and you played on the first UCLA Rose Bowl Championship team. What are your favorite memories from that season?
BRW: You played for two head coaches at UCLA, Pepper Rodgers and Dick Vermeil, and Terry Donahue was your position coach throughout your Bruin career. What did you learn from these men, both on and off the field?
BRW: In your fifth year with the San Francisco 49ers, you earned All-Pro honors. Describe the transition from college to professional football.
BRW: In 1982, the 49ers won their first Super Bowl, defeating the Cincinnati Bengals. What do you remember about playing in your first Super Bowl?
BRW: San Francisco won the Super Bowl in 1985 defeating the Miami Dolphins, then four years later, won in the 1989 Super Bowl. In that game, the 49ers once again defeated Cincinnati. It was your last professional football game. Did you know entering the contest that it would be your final appearance in a 49er uniform?
BRW: During your 13 years with San Francisco, you played for one of the NFL's greatest head coaches (Bill Walsh) and some of the game's greatest players were your teammates: quarterback Joe Montana, wide receiver Jerry Rice, defensive back Ronnie Lott. What did it mean to you to be a 49er?
BRW: In your 13 years in the NFL, you missed only eight games and stayed relatively injury free. How were you able to do that, and what are your views on the many older and retired NFL players who are now dealing with debilitating head injures and other chronic football related ailments?
BRW: Was broadcasting your first career choice once your professional football career ended, and what was your first break into the broadcasting field?
BRW: During your football broadcasting career, what fellow broadcasters have you admired, and which ones have helped you advance your career?
BRW: Over the years you've broadcast both professional and college football games. It's all football, but from a broadcasting standpoint, what are the differences?
BRW: In your opinion, what are the highlights of your football broadcasting career?
BRW: Giving back to your community has been an important part of your life, both during and after your football career. Why is this important to you?
BRW: What were your feelings when you found out you were going to be inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame?
BRW: You were a Bruin football player, attended UCLA and in 1998 were inducted into the UCLA Athletics Hall of Fame. When someone asks you what it's like to be a Bruin, what is your reply?
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