UCLA is an enigma. They enjoy some of the greatest advantages imaginable, yet have not truly taken advantage of them to the fullest extent. They are located in one of the best neighborhoods, smack dab in the middle of Los Angeles, California; a city, a state, a region that is head and shoulders above the rest of the world when it comes to producing athletes.
University of California, Los Angeles
Los Angeles, California
Colors: Blue and gold
Stadium: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum (opened: 1923, capacity: 92,000)
1982-2007: Rose Bowl (opened: 1922; capacity: 91,136)
All-time record (1919-2006): 528-346-37
Bowl record: 13-14-1 (through 2006)
National championships: 1954
Pacific-10 championships: 17
Heisman Trophies: Gary Beban (1967)
Outland Trophies: Jonathan Ogden (1995), Kris Farris (1998)
First round NFL draftees: 28
Notable alumni: Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley; Hawaii Governor Benjamin Cayetano; Los
Angeles County Supervisors Yvonne Burke and Zev Yaroslavsky; Watergate figures H. R. Haldeman and John Ehrlichman; Nobel Prize-winning diplomat Dr. Ralph Bunche; Nobel Laureate chemist R. Bruce Merrifield; Nobel Prize-winning economist William Sharpe; Academy Award-winning director Francis Ford Coppola; director Rob Reiner; producers Harve Bennett and Frank Marshall; actors James Dean, Carol Burnett, Beau Bridges, Lloyd Bridges, Tim Robbins, Corbin Bernson, Michael Warren and George Takei; Academy Award-winning cinematographer Dean Cundey; Academy Award-winning composer John Williams; Grammy Award-winning singer Marilyn McCoo; singer/composer Randy Newman; Tony Award-winning composer John Rubinstein; Emmy Award-winning producer Gene Reynolds; Emmy Award-winning television journalist Sylvia Chase; television journalists Linda Alvarez and Tricia Toyota; Rhodes Scholar Steven Muller; Columbia/Tri-Star chairman Mark Canton; Walt Disney Television President David Neuman; Hollywood agent Michael Ovitz; Hollywood columnist Army Archerd; animator William Silverman; The Doors’ Jim Morrison, Ray Manzarek and John Densmore; astronauts Walter Cunningham and Anna Lee Fisher; astronomer Fred L. Whipple; California Supreme Court Associate Justice John Arguelles; Judge Dorothy Wright Nelson; Caltech president Thomas Everhart; Rockwell International CEO Sam Iocobellis Sr.; Great Western CEO James F. Montgomery; Suntory president Nobutada Saji; photographer Robert Glenn Ketcham; submarine explorer Waldo K. Lyon; civil rights activist Rachel Robinson; sports agent Scott Boras; American League President Dr. Bobby Brown; basketball Hall of Famers Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Bill Walton and Gail Goodrich; basketball players Walt Hazzard, Jamaal Wilkes, Sidney Wicks, Marquess Johnson, Dave Meyers, Curtis Rowe, Kiki Vandeweghe, Keith Erickson, Reggie Miller, Baron Davis, Matt Barnes, and Lucius Allen; women’s basketball player Ann Meyers; Olympians Rafer Johnson, C. K. Yang, Jackie Joyner-Kersey, Donna de Varona, Charles Dumas, Dwight Stones, Shirley Babashoff, Brain Goodell, Kerri Strug, Lisa Fernandez, Mike Powell, Dot Richardson, Florence Griffith-Joyner, Gail Devers, Russ Hodge, Greg Foster, Donald Barksdale, Natalie Williams, John Smith, Sinjin Smith, Karch Kiraly, Evelyn Ashford and James E. Lu Valle; baseball players Troy Glaus, Chris Chambliss, Tim Leary, Eric Karros, Todd Zeile and Shane Mack; tennis players Arthur Ashe and Jimmy Connors; gymnast Mitch Gaylord; volleyball player Liz Mazakayan; swimmer Brain Goodell; skier Jill Kinmont; golfer Corey Pavin
Look at the college sports success of the region and the state. Historically number one in: football (USC or Notre Dame), basketball (UCLA), baseball (USC), track (USC, followed by UCLA), Olympians (USC and UCLA, a virtual tie), tennis (Stanford, followed by USC and UCLA), volleyball (UCLA followed by USC), soccer (University of San Francisco or St. Louis University), rugby and rowing (California), water polo (UCLA, California, Stanford), swimming (USC or Indiana), and women’s volleyball (USC).
Most men’s national championships: USC, UCLA and Stanford in that order. Most NCAA men’s individual champions: USC. Women’s basketball: Stanford is probably in the top four, behind Tennessee; USC likely in the top six or ten. Most overall men’s and women’s national championships: UCLA, Stanford and USC. Best high school football programs: De La Salle of Concord, California; followed by Long Beach (California) Poly; and Mater Dei of Santa Ana, California. Prep basketball: Mater Dei, L.A. Crenshaw and L.A. Verbum Dei are probably all in the top five or ten behind DeMatha of Maryland. Prep baseball: San Mateo (California) Serra, Larkspur (California) Redwood, Lakewood (California) and San Diego Rancho Bernardo, just to name a few.
Most big league baseball players: by college (USC, followed by UCLA at number two), by state (California) and by high school (L.A. Fremont). Most pro basketball players by college (UCLA) and by state (California). Most pro football players by college (USC and Notre Dame), by state (California) and by high school (Long Beach, California Poly).
This could go on for several pages. The premise is established to the point where all argument simply subsides. The point is that when you have a great campus, great weather, great academics, great facilities, a great neighborhood, great night life, beautiful girls, inviting beaches minutes away, and myriad other advantages, combined with all that talent right there in their backyard, UCLA’s football team should have a lot more than one national title (1954).
For that matter, as good as USC is in football, considering that they possess virtually all the same advantages (with the exception of the great neighborhood), even they might be considered slightly underperforming with “only” eleven titles. If one compares all the athletic championships and champions from both UCLA and USC, then proffers the theory that they should dominate in football as they dominate in those other sports, then these two neighbors should have thirty national football titles between them.
USC is an enigma in basketball. Obviously UCLA became the dominant hoops team in the nation, but just as North Carolina consistently competes with Duke, so too should USC have stayed closer to UCLA. They have no national titles to show for themselves. The same can be said not only of UCLA football but UCLA baseball, which despite producing the second-most big league ball players (behind only USC), they have never won the College World Series.
But the Pacific-10 Conference, previously known as the PCC, the AAWU and the Pac-8, is historically the greatest football, basketball, baseball, track and overall athletic conference in America. In the 1990s and 2000s, the SEC has been better. Other leagues are now at least as good in football as well as other sports. But overall the Pac-10 has the most national titles in football (19 to 16 each for the SEC and Big 10), and so many more in all sports as to create one list for themselves, another for the “also-rans.”
Whether or not UCLA is a historic under-achiever, they do have a fine football history, and are one of the reasons the Pac-10 can claim its high standing. The Bruins are a legitimate college power, worthy of a place among College Footbal’s All-Time Top 25 Traditions.
UCLA originally opened as the University of California, Southern Branch on Vermont Avenue between downtown L.A. and Hollywood in 1919. They quickly outgrew their digs and began looking for a better location. It was announced that the new campus would be built in Westwood, located next to Bel-Air a few miles from Santa Monica beach.
“Nobody will go to school way out there,” critics said. There was mostly farmland west of Western Avenue.
Ironically, while the school had enough room back then to build a stadium larger than one of those mammoth South American soccer arenas on their sprawling campus, they chose to play at the L.A. Memorial Coliseum. This meant driving to the USC campus and walking past all of the Trojan shrines on the way to “home” games. Over time, surrounding Westwood, Santa Monica, Culver City and environs grew so dramatically that now there is no suitable location for a campus stadium.
The key to UCLA’s athletic success began early. In the 1920s a black basketball player named Ralph Bunche played there. Bunche went on to earn first a doctorate, then the Nobel Peace Prize for helping to mediate a peace (albeit not a lasting one) between Israel and Palestine in the immediate aftermath of Israel’s creation in the late 1940s.
Completely dwarfed by national powerhouse Southern California (UCLA was blown out 76-0 and 52-0 in their first two tries against USC), the series was discontinued by mutual decree. Then something funny happened. UCLA played catch-up by recruiting the great black athletes who lived in the Los Angeles region. In the 1930s, this meant Jackie Robinson, Kenny Washington and Woody Strode. Robinson later broke baseball’s color barrier as a Hall of Famer with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Washington was also an Olympic sprinter. Strode played the black gladiator who sacrifices himself so Kirk Douglas can live in Spartacus.
UCLA became a winning team. USC briefly fell on hard times. USC agreed to resume the series (the Bruins had been in the Pacific Coast Conference since 1928) because the game promised to be a draw at the gate. In 1936 the Bruins stunned Troy, tying them 7-7. In 1939 (with Robinson, Washington and Strode), they tied the national champion Trojans again, 0-0. The games between UCLA and USC in the 1930s had a profound sociological effect. Upwards of 70,000 football fans sat in the Coliseum watching integrated teams playing on the green plains below. It was a statement above and beyond any protest, march or boycott!
UCLA tied USC again in 1941, 7-7. The Bruins finally broke through in 1942 with a 14-7 win over their cross-town rivals, who had to admit that they were rivals. That propelled the Bruins into the Rose Bowl. Powerful Georgia, led by running back Frank Sinkwich, overwhelmed them, 9-0. UCLA’s quarterback, Bob Waterfield, went on to great stardom with the Los Angeles Rams. His girlfriend caused a bigger stir; typical of that touch of Hollywood glamour that has always shone brightly at UCLA. Her name was Jane Russell, the focus of Howard Hughes’s notorious obsession with her ample breasts in The Outlaw, later Marilyn Monroe’s co-star in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
Under coach Bert LaBrucherie, led by consensus All-American Burr Baldwin, UCLA was 10-0 in the 1946 regular season. This included a 13-6 triumph over USC and an 18-0 victory over Nebraska. The final AP poll ranked them fourth, but both Notre Dame and Army tied each other and were not playing in a bowl game. If the Bruins could beat Illinois in the first-ever PCC-Big 10 Rose Bowl match-up, then they could argue bragging rights. The Bruins instead got a lesson in Big 10 toughness and (their) overconfidence when the Illini smothered them, 45-14.
In 1949, arguably UCLA’s greatest coach arrived in Westwood. Henry “Red” Sanders was a Southern man charged with coaching the most integrated program in the country.
“Yes, I’m prejudiced,” Sanders stated, “in favor of the player who can block, tackle and run fast.”
Sanders immediately recognized that the USC-UCLA battle was on par with any of the big rivalries in the country.
“The USC-UCLA game isn’t a matter of life and death,” he opined, “it’s more important than that.”
Sanders coached from 1949-1957, compiling a 66-19-1 (.773) record that included one national championship (1954) and two Rose Bowls. Consensus All-Americans on his watch included Donn Moomaw, Paul Cameron, Jack Ellena, Hardiman Cureton, and Dick Wallen. Moomaw became a respected Christian pastor. Sanders was 5-4 against the Trojans, including a 34-0 rout before a crowd of more than 100,000 at the Coliseum in 1954.
Sanders was a true character who liked to pull a cork and chase skirts. He met his 1958 demise “John Garfield style,” via a heart attack in a Sunset Strip brothel. His coaching contemporary was John Wooden, a family man who did not drink, smoke or seemingly have any vices.
“We were different kind of people,” Wooden said diplomatically when asked about Sanders.
In 1954, the Bruins were 9-0, pitching an extraordinary five shutouts. In two games they allowed seven points and in one game allowed six. They won a thriller over Washington, 21-20. Aside from dismantling Troy 34-0, they beat Stanford 72-0, Oregon State 61-0, and Oregon 41-0 to claim the national championship.
In 1955, Sanders met his match in the form of multi-purpose quarterback Ronnie Knox. Knox was one of the most unusual athletes ever; a symbol of the “flaky” California athlete who remains a staple of popular mythology to this day.
Knox’s real father was a rocket scientist. He had a sister. His parents were divorced. His mother then married a wealthy Jewish car salesman from Beverly Hills named Harvey Knox. The man was intimately involved in every aspect of his “children’s” lives, to the point of obsession. The daughter was a budding ingenue and singer. The old man would buy every seat in the theatre, then hand the tickets out to prospective theatregoers, trying to assure a packed house. He attempted to bribe critics and manipulate press coverage.
That was nothing compared with the “son.” Ronnie began at Beverly Hills High School. The “father” decided that Beverly Hills did not run a passing offense suitable to Ronnie’s talents, so he transferred him to Santa Monica High. Same thing, so his junior year he transferred to Palisades. The coach and the “father” argued, so it was off to Inglewood High, where Knox was the state Player of the Year.
Ronnie then headed to Berkeley on a full ride scholarship to play for legendary California coach Pappy Waldorf. The “father” quickly made himself a resident of Berkeley, too, assumed the role of de facto “advisor” to Waldorf on how best to use Ronnie. This did not suit Waldorf. By mutual decision Ronnie left Cal and transferred to UCLA. The hard-nosed Sanders was probably the last guy who would want a prima donna like Knox, except that Knox was not really the prima donna. The problem was the old man, and besides, Knox could run and pass with the best of them.
Ronnie had blonde hair and resembled movie star Troy Donahue. UCLA’s coeds went gaga for him, but he was shy, cowed by his “father’s” overwhelming shadow. In 1955, he immediately made his mark, engineering UCLA to a 21-0 win over Bear Bryant and Texas A&M. After the game, Harvey went on and on to the press about how great Ronnie was. Sanders was asked, “Did you doubt his ability?” His one-word answer: “No.”
Ronnie injured his leg at mid-season but returned for the Rose Bowl, a thrilling loss to Michigan State. Ronnie was considered one of the best players in the country, just a sophomore with two more years of eligibility. But Harvey immediately started talking about what a great professional Ronnie would make, how he was risking the loss of big money if he got injured playing college ball, and so forth. Sanders was fed up, all but telling “father” and “son” to “take a hike.” Then Knox announced that he “hated” football, was not cut out for physical contact, certainly disliked all the yelling, and was dropping out of school not to pursue a pro football career, but because he had signed a movie contract with MGM.
Beach boy Ronnie was no Laurence Olivier, or even Troy Donahue for that matter. The acting experiment quickly fizzled out. Then he went to play in the Canadian Football League, where he was briefly brilliant but it did not last. He played for the Chicago Bears, but not surprisingly his act (and Harvey’s) did not impress George Halas. Ronnie returned to Southern California.
In 1960, Sid Gillman was starting up the new Los Angeles Chargers’ franchise in the American Football League. There was only one quarterback Gillman wanted to run his high-powered, new-style passing schemes: Ronnie Knox. The problem was that nobody knew where he was. A manhunt ensued.
“I found him living in a tent on Venice Beach,” recalled Gillman. “He was covered by towels, had birds living in there with him. He had long hair and a beard and was like some guru on top of a mountain in the Himalayas.”
Gillman tried to entice Ronnie with a nice contract offer and visions of the aerial circus that eventually was the AFL. Ronnie told him he was done with football and that was that. Ronnie lived for years at Venice Beach, in and out of actual housing. He became a well-known “local institution.” People would periodically come looking for him. All they had to do was ask locals where Ronnie Knox was, or “that guy who played in the Rose Bowl.” With a little luck he could be found. In the 1980s the L.A. Times did a portrait of the “poet of Venice.” Ronnie wrote beautiful poetry; so beautiful that with a little moxie he could have made money off his writings, but he eschewed such bourgeoisie.
The sister? One rumor was that she became a Sunset Strip hooker, but that apparently was just a rumor. A more accurate story had her marrying into wealth in Hawaii, but this was years ago and developments beyond that are less known.
The Knox-Sanders story was just part of some very weird days on the Westwood campus. With the G.I. Bill, many servicemen came to school with money in their pockets. California real estate skyrocketed in the 1950s. Rents exploded, especially in Westwood. Slush funds were created by boosters at UCLA, USC, Washington, Stanford and California, helping football players handle these high rents at off-campus apartments. The NCAA started to investigate, starting with Stanford. Knowing that they would get caught red-handed, and knowing that all of their PCC competition was doing the same thing, Stanford turned “state’s evidence,” so to speak. They “snitched” on their rivals. The NCAA re-focused their investigation on the other schools while leaving Stanford alone as a reward for “self-reporting.”
It broke USC, took much of Washington’s thunder away just as they were getting good, all but de-escalated the focus on sports at California, and set the PCC years back. They had finally started to catch up to the Big 10, establishing themselves as a major conference again after many down years.
But UCLA managed to keep winning. Quarterback Billy Kilmer was a youthful version of Sanders. He came to UCLA from the Los Angeles suburbs, which were growing by leaps and bounds. He was a wild “party animal” who loved all those UCLA coeds, and would “throw his fists” at the drop of a hat. On the field, he “ate nails for breakfast.” What he lacked in ability he made up for in guts, toughness and leadership.
Kilmer went to the San Francisco 49ers, where he was used as a runner/passer in Red Hickey’s successful-yet-short-lived “shotgun” offense. After bouncing around pro football for a decade, Kilmer replaced the strong-armed Sonny Jurgensen as Washington’s quarterback. Kilmer’s passes were described as “dying quails” and by this time he could no longer run. But coach George Allen liked his stubborn toughness. Together, they led the “over the hill gang” Redskins to the 1973 Super Bowl, where they were beaten by the unbeaten Dolphins in Kilmer’s old “stomping grounds,” the Coliseum.
What did the Bruins in was the untimely and embarrassing demise of Sanders, followed by John McKay’s arrival at USC in the early 1960s. UCLA saw all their football prestige lost to the national champion Trojans, but in 1965 Sander’s former assistant, the Tennessee-bred Tommy Prothro, took over the program. That first year was one of the most memorable in Bruin football annals.
Led by Heisman Trophy-winning running back Mike Garrett, Southern California dominated UCLA for fifty minutes. USC lost two fumbles in the third quarter but seemed to have it won with a 16-6 lead and four minutes left. Then Bruin linebacker Dallas Grider forced USC quarterback Troy Winslow into a fumble, recovered by UCLA. Sophomore quarterback Gary Beban hit Dick Witcher with a touchdown pass to narrow it to 16-13. On the ensuring on-side kick, Grider recovered the fumbled ball. Beban hit Kurt Altenburg for a 52-yard game-winning touchdown, 20-16.
“John McKay said that game hurt more than any he ever coached,” said Jim Perry, the co-writer of his autobiography McKay: A Coaches Story. “He watched film of that game at least once a week for years afterwards, thought about it as he went to sleep. He particularly disliked the notion in the press that Prothro was smarter than he was.
“ ‘I guess he was smarter than me on those two fumbles,’ he would say.”
The writers started calling UCLA the “gutty little Bruins.” USC called them the “little Bruins” but the word before that, which started with an “s” and also ended with a “y,” was not “gutty.” The victory propelled UCLA into the Rose Bowl, but what awaited them in Pasadena was enough to make a grown man tremble. The unbeaten, untied, number one-ranked Michigan State Spartans were coached by Duffy Daugherty and led by the monumental defensive end Bubba Smith. They were seemingly unbeatable.
Then Daugherty made the mistake of housing his free-spirited group in a monastery somewhere in the mountains above Los Angeles. Just finding a monastery in the mountains above L.A., while avoiding the likes of the Manson family or whatever 1960s crazies might have been camped out up there, was an achievement.
Smith got totally spooked, unable to sleep. At night the wind blew his windows open. The night sounds of exotic birds, flapping shutters and wolves drove him nuts. The fog drifted in, making it look like a combination of a Boris Karloff movie and the Passover scene when Moses was preparing to flee Egypt.
By the time the Spartans arrived at the Rose Bowl they were ordinary human beings. Then there were the “verbal humiliations.” Michigan State was openly confident, expressing to the Los Angeles press just how they would handle little UCLA. Every juicy sentence was posted on a bulletin board in UCLA’s dressing room, firing them all up.
Beban engineered a ball control offense. UCLA led 14-6 with thirty-one seconds to play. Michigan State scored, then tried a two-point conversion for the tie. Two defensive players, Bobby Stiles and future coach Terry Donahue, made key tackles in the game. They barely weighed 300 pounds between. Stiles, who weighed 175 pounds, was knocked unconscious in making the stop on the two-point try, saving the 14-12 victory.
“Bobby sacrificed his life <figuratively>, and we had what we thought was the biggest upset ever,” recalled Beban.
In 1966 UCLA was 9-1 with a 14-7 win over USC, but somehow the Trojans got the Rose Bowl bid. In 1967, all the forces of football creation came together in one unforgettable gridiron moment, which all things considered may be the biggest game ever played.
On November 18 number one UCLA met number four USC. The winner of the game would be the AP and UPI national champ, still decided in pre-bowl fashion by both polls. The AP switched it back that way after briefly voting after bowls. The game would also decide who would win the AAWU championship and go to the Rose Bowl. Naturally, city bragging rights were at stake as always. But it was the final factor that marked this as a game to be recognized above almost all others.
UCLA’s senior quarterback, Beban was the leading contender for the Heisman Trophy. USC junior running back O. J. Simpson was his only strong competition. In what some still say is the biggest sporting event in Los Angeles history, the two stars were San Franciscans; Beban the son of a longshoreman, O. J. the son of a single mother from Potrero Hill.
Beban played the greatest game of his life, passing for over 300 yards. O. J. rambled for a game-winning 64-yard touchdown run that still tingles the spine of all Trojans. It brings dread to the hearts of all Bruins. Afterward, the L.A. press turned it from a football game into something more akin to Homer or Shakespeare. Supposedly, as O. J. was running like the wind past him, Prothro turned to an assistant remarking, “Only man can catch him’s runnin’ interference for him.” That was Olympic sprinter and teammate Earl McCullough.
The press also quoted McKay saying at the same time, “McCullough’s the only one who can catch him and he’s blockin’ for him.”
Either way, it was the closest UCLA would come to a national championship since 1954, but their hearts would be broken again. On November 22, 1969 both UCLA and USC were unbeaten when they met in a night game at the Coliseum. A high school football player named Pete Carroll sat in the stands watching and dreaming. Both teams were still in the hunt for national championships, since earlier that day Ohio State was upset by Michigan. Everything at stake in 1967 was on the line again in 1969, with the exception of the Heisman Trophy.
UCLA quarterback Dennis Dummitt led his team to a 12-7 lead with three minutes left in the fourth quarter. Trojan quarterback Jimmy Jones was having a terrible night, having completed only one pass. He then completed three, but on a desperate fourth down try overthrew his receiver. It looked to be over, except that the official threw a controversial flag (still disputed in Westwood) on the Bruins’ Ken Graham. Given reprieve with 1:32 left to play, Jones hit Sam Dickerson in the corner of the end zone with a 32-yard game-winning touchdown. Despite being denied the Rose Bowl and possibly more, the 8-1-1 Bruins of 1969 may well be the best UCLA team ever; a real offensive juggernaut.
Consensus UCLA All-Americans of the 1960s included Mel Farr (who would go on to star with the Detroit Lions), Don Manning and Mike Ballou. They also produced the great Jimmy Johnson, an All-Pro with the San Francisco 49ers whose brother Rafer, a UCLA track and basketball star, was the hero of the 1960 Olympics.
Pepper Rodgers took over in 1971. Excellent UCLA teams were overshadowed by majestic USC teams. In 1972, UCLA upset Nebraska, 20-17 in the season opener at the L.A. Coliseum. The victory ended a 32-game Cornhusker unbeaten streak. The Bruins’ hero was veer/option quarterback Mark Harmon. Harmon was the son of Michigan Heisman Trophy legend Tom Harmon, who was in the broadcast booth announcing the game.
Mark, a handsome son of a gun, was voted the “Sexiest Man Alive” by People magazine in 1986. Much more than just a pretty face, Harmon enjoyed a highly successful acting career as a surgeon on St. Elsewhere, a teacher in Summer School, a cop in The Presidio, and the eerie portrayal of serial killer Ted Bundy in The Deliberate Stranger.
Kermit Johnson was a consensus All-American in 1973. Dick Vermeil became their coach and on January 1, 1976 led UCLA to another enormous Rose Bowl upset, 23-10 over number one Ohio State. Quarterback John Sciarra, a consensus pick, was the game’s MVP. He played for the Philadelphia Eagles. Vermeil left UCLA and took over the Eagles. Terry Donahue replaced him.
Between 1976 and 1995, Donahue was 151-74-8 (.665). After losing his first four games to Southern Cal, he managed a career 10-9 record against USC. This included three straight victories over the Trojans from 1982 to 1985, then five straight between 1991 and 1995. A member of the College Football Hall of Fame and the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame, Donahue is the winningest coach in Pac-10 Conference (ninety-eight) and UCLA (151 victories) history. He was 8-4-1 in bowl games, became the first coach to win seven straight bowls, and was 3-1 in Rose Bowls.
UCLA’s Super Bowl MVP
Troy Aikman (1993)
Consensus All-Americans under Donahue were Jerry Robinson (who went on to an All-Pro career with the Eagles), Kenny Easley (a star in Seattle), Tim Wrightman (Bears), Don Rogers, John Lee (considered one of the greatest place-kickers ever), Darryl Henley, Carlton Gray, J. J. Stokes, Bjorn Merten, Jamir Miller, and Jonathan Ogden (1995 Outland Trophy winner). Two of Donahue’s all-time greatest players teamed up as All-Pros on Dallas Cowboy Super Bowl champions: linebacker Ken Norton and Quarterback Troy Aikman.
UCLA’s Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year
Kenny Easley, Seattle S (1984)
Between 1991 and 1998 UCLA beat USC eight consecutive times. In 1998 the unbeaten Bruins played at Miami in the final game of the season. It was a golden opportunity to compete in the BCS championship game, but they were denied by the Hurricanes; not to mention the hurricane, which had post-poned the game to December and given Miami a chance to improve. It was a wild score, 49-45. Under coach Bob Toledo (1996-2001), consensus All-Americans included 1998 Outland winner Kris Farris, Chad Overhauser, Cade McNown, Fred Mitchell, and Robert Thomas.
Dave Ball made consensus in 2003. Under coach Pete Carroll, USC took firm control over the city again. USC beat UCLA seven straight times while establishing themselves as one of college football’s all-time greatest dynasties. Under Karl Dorrell, UCLA faces an uphill road. California, for years a doormat, has taken UCLA’s traditional place as the main conference challenge to USC. But in the 1960s and early 1970s, the USC-UCLA rivalry was as good as any in the nation. UCLA established themselves as a major national power. Under Terry Donahue, they regained that position. Their history is dotted with ups and downs; they are not as dominant in football as in other sports and remain a “basketball school”; but this is a program with the potential to explode.
Bear Bryant always viewed Florida, because of the many natural advantages they possessed, as a “sleeping giant” just waiting to assert themselves as a dominating collegiate football superpower. All they needed, Bryant said, was “the right man.” Eventually, they found Steve Spurrier, then Urban Meyer. They promise to shine brightly for years to come. If UCLA ever finds “the right man” – a football version of John Wooden? – then watch out! We will all “hail the blue and gold.”
Causes Steven Travers Supports
Conservative, Christian, USC, American patriotism