Rick Kimbrel

Rick Kimbrel

Rick Kimbrel, the former managing editor of PrepStar magazine, is nationally recognized as one of the leading authorities on college football recruiting. The veteran analyst and reporter was key in first making Blue Chip Illustrated and then PrepStar Magazine a recruiting publication standard.

Kimbrel has written for CBS Sportsline, ESPN.com, CNN-SI, The Sporting News, Athlon's, Lindy's, Football News, and numerous other publications. He has also consulted on All-America teams for Parade Magazine and Street and Smith's. Most recently, Rick was the West Coast Recruiting Editor for Rivals.com, national recruiting consultant for Rivals.com and publisher of BruinBlitz.com.

Rick has been a featured guest on many television shows around the nation including Prime Ticket, Fox Sports, Fox Sports West, CNN, CNN-SI and numerous local and regional stations. Kimbrel is also a highly sought after guest on radio broadcasts from coast-to-coast.

Sunday, 17 February 2013 15:15

Bruins Blank Minnesota

No. 2 UCLA Baseball Blanks Minnesota, 14-0
Vander Tuig throws six scoreless innings while Filia goes 3-6 with 3 RBI.

Junior right-hander Nick Vander Tuig threw six scoreless innings and sophomore Eric Filia posted three RBI to lead the second-ranked UCLA Baseball team to their first win of the season, a 14-0 shutout of Minnesota.

Vander Tuig picked up the win for the Bruins after giving up just four hits in six shutout innings and striking out three. Freshmen Hunter Virant and Cody Poteet made their second consecutive appearances out of the bullpen and closed out the game to earn the combined shutout. Ben Meyer took the loss for the Golden Gophers after giving five earned runs in three innings of work.

At the plate, Filia went 3-6 with a 3 RBI, including a two-run home run in the bottom of the second. Freshmen Ty Moore and Darrell Miller Jr., sophomores Kevin Kramer and Chris Keck, and junior Brenton Allen each recorded 2 RBI as well.

The Bruins struck early as Filia started off the bottom of the first with a single to right. Moore picked up his first collegiate hit by lacing a double to right center, sending Filia to third. Sophomore Kevin Kramer came to the plate next and poked a 2 RBI single to left field to give UCLA an early 2-0 lead. UCLA kept the inning going when junior Pat Valaika singled Kramer over to third, bringing up Keck. Keck then hit a sacrifice fly to center field to make it 3-0 Bruins in the bottom of the first.

In the bottom of the second, freshman Trent Chatterton hit a two-out single to left field to bring up Filia. Filia then blasted a two-run shot to right field to increase UCLA’s lead to 5-0. The Bruins kept the onslaught going in the bottom of third, starting with a two-out single by Valaika. Keck then reached on an error by Minnesota first baseman Dan Olinger, sending Valaika to third. Miller and Allen then notched back-to-back singles to score Valaika and Keck to up the lead to 7-0.

The Bruins were not done at the plate, and in the fifth inning scored five runs in part due to two errors by the Golden Gophers. With one out and Allen and Chatterton on first and second respectively, Filia singled to right, scoring Allen. Olinger committed a throwing error, allowing Chatterton to score on the play as well. Moore then reached on an error by shortstop Michael Handel, scoring Filia to make it 10-0 Bruins. After a Kramer single and a wild pitch, Valaika and Keck drew back-to-back walks, plating Moore in the process. UCLA would add runs in the sixth and seventh innings to make it 14-0 before Poteet came on in the eighth to get the next six batters and seal the win for the Bruins.

Before the game, the Bruins held a short ceremony to recognize the Gifford family for their contributions to the new scoreboard at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Members of the Gifford family met with head coach John Savage at home plate and enjoyed a slideshow of the late Jack Gifford that was shown on the video board.

The Bruins and Golden Gophers will conclude their series tomorrow at 1 p.m. out at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Game Notes: Kevin Kramer extended his hitting streak to eight games dating back to last year with his 3-4 effort today…the 14-0 win is UCLA's largest margin of victory since March 30, 2012 when the Bruins beat Utah 16-0 on the road…the 14 runs is also the most runs that UCLA has scored since that same game against Utah at March 30, 2012…this is the fifth straight game that Nick Vander Tuig has pitched at least six innings (3-1 record in that time frame).

Saturday, 16 February 2013 15:13

UCLA Drops Opener

No. 2 Bruins Fall to Minnesota, 6-2, in 10 Innings 
Kramer goes 2-4 with 2 RBI while Plutko strikes out six in 6.2 innings.

Los Angeles, Calif. - The No. 2 ranked UCLA Baseball team lost its season opener on Friday night, falling to Minnesota by a score of 6-2 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Junior right-hander Adam Plutko struck out six batters and scattered seven hits in 6.2 innings of work, earning a no-decision in the process. Freshman Cody Poteet took the loss for UCLA after giving up two earned runs in a third of an inning. Minnesota scored two runs in the seventh and four runs in the 10th to claim the victory. Overall, the Bruins used seven pitchers in the game.

Kevin Kray picked up the victory for the Golden Gophers after throwing two scoreless innings. Junior left-hander Tom Windle started the game for Minnesota and pitched four innings of shutout baseball, giving up three hits.

The game was scoreless for the first four innings before the Bruins got on the board in the fifth inning. Freshman second baseman Trent Chatterton and junior center fielder Brian Carroll got the inning started by each drawing a hit-by-pitch. Sophomore third baseman Kevin Kramer then laced a one-out double to right-center, scoring Chatterton and Carroll and giving UCLA a 2-0 lead.

The Golden Gophers tied the game up in the seventh inning when Bobby Juan hit an RBI double off of Plutko to cut the deficit to one. Plutko got the next batter, but after a sacrifice fly by Ryan Abrahamson, Tony Skjefte hit a single to shortstop to score Juan and tie the game at 2-2.

UCLA threatened in the eighth inning as they loaded the bases with two outs for Chatterton. But Minnesota right-hander Billy Soule was able to strike out Chatterton looking to end the threat. Once again the Bruins had a chance in the ninth inning when junior shortstop Pat Valaika came to the plate with runners on first and second and one out. Valaika would hit into a 5-3 double play though and the game went to extra innings.

In the top of the 10th, Minnesota scored four runs on four hits to take a 6-2 lead. First baseman Dan Olinger hit an RBI single off Poteet to put the Golden Gophers up one before Handel and Juan hit back-to-back RBI doubles off junior right-hander Zack Weiss to extend the Golden Gophers' lead. The Bruins could not muster anything in the bottom of the 10th and fell by the score of 6-2.

Kramer and Carroll each led UCLA with two hits apiece while Carroll added two stolen bases in the game. Freshman Darrell Miller Jr. made his collegiate debut at the designated hitter spot and drew two walks as well.

The Bruins and Golden Gophers will resume their series tomorrow at 2 p.m. out at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Game Notes: Adam Plutko threw a total of 93 pitches in his 6.2 innings of work...sophomore pitcher Max Schuh made his collegiate debut, facing one batter and inducing a groundout in the 10th inning...the Bruins last played an extra inning game on April 5, 2011, a 5-4 loss at UC Riverside...sophomore right-hander David Berg appeared in his eighth consecutive game in relief dating back to last season, getting outs from all six batters he faced...UCLA's record dropped to 6-3 in season-opening ballgames under ninth-year head coach John Savage. 


Friday, 15 February 2013 14:36

Plutko On Watch List


Adam Plutko Named to Golden Spikes Preseason Watch List 
Junior right-hander among 50 candidates for top amateur award.

Durham, N.C. - Junior pitcher Adam Plutko has been named to the Golden Spikes Award Preseason Watch List, as announced by USA Baseball today.

The Golden Spikes Award is presented annually at the end of the season to the top amateur baseball player. In 2011, right-handed pitcher Trevor Bauer became the first UCLA ballplayer to win the Golden Spikes Award.

The right-hander from Glendora, Calif. has earned preseason All-American acclaim from Louisville Slugger/Collegiate Baseball, the NCBWA and Baseball America entering this season. He received first-team honors from Collegiate Baseball and the NCBWA and third-team acclaim from Baseball America. Plutko went 12-3 with a 2.48 ERA during his sophomore year, striking out 99 batters in 119.2 innings as the ace of the UCLA pitching staff. He also finished the 2012 season with a 7-0 record in his final seven starts, posting a 0.89 ERA and a .180 opposing batting average in that span.

Plutko has twice been named to the Pac-12 All-Conference team, and last season captured third-team All-America honors from Baseball America. In the postseason, he has been dominant, going 4-0 in four career starts with a 0.88 ERA. His 0.88 ERA mark is the lowest postseason ERA in school history (min. 12 IP) and his four postseason wins are also tied for the most in UCLA history. Overall, Plutko has gone 19-7 with a 2.26 ERA in his two seasons in Westwood.

UCLA is ranked as high as No. 2 in the preseason polls and begins its 2013 season tomorrow against Minnesota at 6 p.m. out at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Plutko will take the mound for the Bruins in the season opener. The two teams will continue the three-game series on Saturday at 2 p.m. and Sunday at 1 p.m. 

Thursday, 14 February 2013 17:50

UCLA Baseball Media Guide



Los Angeles, Calif. - The 2013 UCLA baseball media guide is now available online, providing the most up-to-date content on the program. UCLA will open its 2013 season this Friday at home against Minnesota at 6 p.m. out at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

The media guide features coach and player biographies, updated statistics and complete information on the 94-year history of UCLA Baseball. The media guide can be accessed in a viewable and PDF format.

The Bruins are coming off of their second consecutive Pac-12 championship and a trip to the College World Series in 2012. The team has been ranked as high as No. 2 in the preseason polls and returns 17 letterwinners off of last year's squad.

Thursday, 14 February 2013 15:56

UCLA Gymnastics On The Road

No. 4 UCLA Begins Three-Meet Road Swing at No. 13 Oregon State

Bruins face first of three Top 15 opponents on the road Saturday.     


UCLA Travels to Oregon State

Fourth-ranked UCLA (7-0) visits 13th-ranked Oregon State (7-5) on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 7 pm. This meet will kick off UCLA's three-game road swing during which the Bruins will face three Top 15 teams in back-to-back-to-back weekends.


Live Coverage

Saturday's meet will be televised live nationally on the Pac-12 Networks at 7 pm. Jim Watson and Olympic gold medalist Amanda Borden will have the call. Live stats will be available at osubeavers.com. Follow @uclagymnastics on Twitter for in-meet updates.


In The Rankings

UCLA remained at No. 4 in the national rankings with a season average of 196.765. The Bruins rank first on floor, fifth on beam, sixth on bars and eighth on vault.

Vanessa Zamarripa ranks No. 1 in the nation in the all-around (39.613) and floor exercise (9.944), No. 4 on uneven bars (9.875) and No. 5 on vault (9.910) and balance beam (9.881). Olivia Courtney ranks 10th in the all-around (39.35), No. 18 on vault (9.885) and tied for No. 9 with Alyssa Pritchett on floor (9.890). Two Bruin freshmen rank in the Top 25 on beam - No. 6 Danusia Francis (9.880) and No. 22 Sophina DeJesus (9.838). Monique De La Torre makes her rankings debut this week on bars at No. 17 (9.850).   


Last Time Out

The Bruins hit 24-for-24 routines for the first time this season and captured first place in a quad meet against Washington, UC Davis and Sacramento State with a score of 196.950. Vanessa Zamarripa led the charge once again, scoring 39.625 to win her fourth all-around title in as many attempts. She also took first-place honors on vault, bars and floor. Olivia Courtney also had a strong all-around showing, scoring a season-high 39.475 and tying for first on beam with Danusia Francis.  


About The Beavers

Oregon State will be competing in its first home meet since Jan. 11. The Beavers have been on the road for a month and are coming off a 196.3-195.45 win at Arizona State on Feb. 8. Kelsi Blalock ranks eighth in the nation in the all-around (39.425) and 17th on bars (9.85). Makayla Stambaugh leads the Beavers with eight event titles. Oregon State head coach Tanya Chaplin recorded her 300th career win last week.


From Bruins to Beavers

Oregon State coaches Tanya and Michael Chaplin have extensive ties to the UCLA gymnastics program. The former Tanya Service was a six-time All-American and two-time (1987 and 1989) Pac-10 Gymnast of the Year at UCLA while current Bruin head coach Valorie Kondos Field was an assistant coach. OSU associate head coach Michael Chaplin won an NCAA title with the UCLA men's gymnastics team in 1987 and was teammates with current UCLA associate head coach Chris Waller.   


Series History

UCLA owns a 45-18-1 series advantage over Oregon State. UCLA won the matchup at the Pac-12 Championships, and the two teams tied on Feb. 17, 2012 in Corvallis with identical scores of 196.775. The last four matchups at Oregon State have been close. In 2012, the Bruins came back from a 0.40 deficit at the halfway mark to tie the Beavers. In 2011, UCLA edged the Beavers by .05, 196.675-196.625, with a fourth rotation rally on the balance beam. The dual meet in 2009 came down to the last routine, with Aisha Gerber's 9.875 on beam clinching UCLA's 196.575-196.35 win. In 2007, Oregon State needed a hit routine from its last competitor on floor to seal the victory (196.65-196.375).


Zamarripa Ties Record with Fourth Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week Honor

Vanessa Zamarripa earned her second consecutive and fourth overall Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week award this season, tying the conference record held by UCLA's Kristen Maloney in 2005 for most Gymnast of the Week awards in one season. Zamarripa won the all-around for the fourth time this season and took first place honors on three events in UCLA's quad meet win over Washington, UC Davis and Sacramento State. Now ranked No. 1 in the nation, Zamarripa scored 39.625 in the all-around to boost her season average to 39.613. She also won vault for the third-straight meet, scoring 9.95, placed first on uneven bars with a 9.925 and remained undefeated on floor exercise, earning 9.925. With her three event victories last weekend, Zamarripa has now placed first on 12 of 18 routines this season, and she also has won the all-around in each of the four meets in which she has competed all four events.


Courtney Continues Consistent Effort

Junior Olivia Courtney has been one of the Bruins' most consistent gymnasts since her freshman season. Through her career, she has hit 95 of 98 routines (97%), with all three misses coming on balance beam, and is 17-for-17 this season. She averages 9.889 on vault, 9.828 on bars and 9.847 on floor in her career. Last weekend, she posted 39.475 in the all-around, just .025 shy of a personal-best, and tied for first on beam with a season-high 9.875.


Back On Bars

Senior Monique De La Torre made her season debut on uneven bars last weekend after sitting out the event the first four meets due to a shoulder injury. The 2011 first-team All-American showed no signs of rust with her new routine that featured a hop full to double layout dismount, scoring 9.85.    


Francis Beaming as Anchor

Freshman Danusia Francis has flourished in the role of anchor on balance beam. Since being moved to that position vs. Utah on Jan. 12, she has placed first in every meet, scoring 9.925 twice and 9.875 two other times. Francis ranks sixth in the nation on the event with an average of 9.880. The 2012 British Olympic alternate made her debut in the floor lineup last weekend, scoring 9.725 after going out of bounds on her last tumbling pass.


DeJesus Sidelined Another Week

Freshman Sophina DeJesus is expected to sit out for a second-straight week after sustaining a concussion during practice last week. DeJesus has been a strong performer for the Bruins all season, earning Pac-12 Freshman/Newcomer of the Week honors twice and totaling two event wins and five Top 3 finishes. She is averaging over 9.825 on both beam and floor and has a high of 9.9 on uneven bars.


Rookie Performers Shine

With UCLA needing to replace 12 routines from last year's NCAA Championships, many new faces are emerging to play key roles in 2013. Freshmen Sophina DeJesus and Danusia Francis have jumped right into competition, with the duo combining to win six events in UCLA's five meets. DeJesus has one each on uneven bars and balance beam, while Francis has won beam in each of the last four meets. A pair of sophomores who did not compete due to injuries a year ago have also been strong competitors - Dana McDonald is averaging 9.810 on vault and 9.835 on floor in the leadoff position and scored 9.7 on her first career beam routine at ASU, and Sadiqua Bynum has competed in each meet on floor, with a high of 9.85 set last weekend. Additionally, two other athletes who missed most of last season with injuries, are back - junior Sydney Sawa scored 9.8 on vault vs. Utah and scored on floor at ASU, and senior Lichelle Wong has a pair of 9.9s on bars and a 9.85 on beam to her credit. Wong ranked No. 1 on bars in the first two national rankings. 


Super Seniors Leading the Way

The Bruins' three redshirt seniors - Kaelie Baer, Alyssa Pritchett and Vanessa Zamarripa - are making the most of their final season of competition. Baer, who sat out the 2010 season and most of 2011 due to injuries, has competed in every meet in 2012 and 2013. This season, she has scored a career-high on vault with a 9.875 and is averaging 9.845 and has been a consistent leadoff performer on beam with a high of 9.8. Pritchett enjoyed a breakout year in 2012 after missing 2011 with a stress fracture in her ankle and came back even better in 2013, averaging 9.89 on floor with Top 3 finishes in every meet and a new career-high of 9.925 set Jan. 12 vs. Utah. Zamarripa sat out 2011 with a ruptured Achilles and came back in 2012 to score two perfect 10s on vault and enjoy a dominating all-around performance at the NCAA Super Six, scoring a career-high 39.775. Dominating doesn't even begin to describe Zamarripa's 2013 campaign thus far. She has captured 16 out of a possible 22 event titles this year and has won the Pac-12 Gymnast of the Week award four out of six weeks. She currently ranks in the Top 5 nationally on all events, including No. 1 in the all-around and on floor.  


UCLA to Host 2013 NCAA Championships

UCLA will host the 2013 NCAA Championships in Pauley Pavilion on Apr. 19-21. This will be UCLA's fourth time hosting the NCAAs. The Bruins won the national title the last time they hosted in 2004, scoring an NCAA record 198.125.

UCLA also previously hosted in 1998 and 1984. Tickets for the Championships are on sale now atuclabruins.com/tickets

Thursday, 14 February 2013 15:19

Word From Westwood

What a week for UCLA sports! The teams competing for the Bruins across the department racked up one victory after another: basketball, tennis, softball, golf – it simply did not matter, the Bruins brought their “A” game, and that deserves special recognition. The long, winding road that comprises any season is certainly treacherous, and each week brings many different results, but the last seven days should serve as a reminder to all about the truly amazing things our young men and women can achieve …

Men’s Basketball Climbs Standings with Pair of Victories, Sets up Big Road Trip 
Thanks to back-to-back wins against the Washington schools at Pauley Pavilion last weekend, the UCLA men’s basketball team (18-6 overall, 8-3 in conference) enters this week in a three-way tie for first place in the Pac-12 standings, along with Arizona and Oregon.

The Bruins head north on Interstate 5 this week for a pair of games: a Thursday, 6 pm tussle with Cal (live on ESPN2) and a Saturday 1 pm battle against Stanford (also live on ESPN2).

Meanwhile, the Wildcats and Ducks will be competing as well, with Arizona travelling to Utah and Colorado, and Oregon staying in the Pacific Northwest for games at Washington and Wazzu.

ESPN's College GameDay Returns to Pauley on March 2
UCLA's Pauley Pavilion will host ESPN's College GameDay Covered by State Farm on the morning and evening of Saturday, March 2, prior to the Bruins' home contest against Arizona that evening. The ESPN program will make its second appearance in Pauley. The Bruins' iconic home first served as the backdrop to College GameDay on Feb. 2, 2008, when UCLA defeated Arizona, 82-60.

The popular ESPN program's first hour begins at 7 am PT on ESPNU, with coverage continuing at 8 am on ESPN. After an extended break, programming resumes with a one-hour edition at 5 pm on ESPN. UCLA fans will be allowed entry to Pauley Pavilion for the morning program of College GameDay as early as 5 am, and event programming will begin at 5:30 am.

Fans interested in attending that morning's show are encouraged to line up outside the northwest entrance of Pauley Pavilion.

Admission is free, and fans must be wearing blue or UCLA gear to be admitted. Tasteful signs are always welcomed and encouraged and, of course, increase a fan’s chance of being seen on TV.

Alyssia BrewerWomen’s Basketball Completes Sweeps/Looks to Avenge Earlier Defeats 
Road victories against both Washington schools last weekend gave the #15-ranked UCLA women’s basketball team sweeps in both those season series. The Bruins are preparing to host #6-ranked Cal and #4-ranked Stanford this weekend at Pauley Pavilion.

The Bruins (19-4 overall, 10-2 in conference) will be looking to avenge their only two league losses of the 2012-13 season – and will host the Bears at 6 pm Friday (Pac-12 Networks) and the Cardinal at 12:30 pm on Sunday (ESPNU). The Bruins enter the weekend one game behind both teams in the conference standings.

Tickets remain for both games. For more information or to purchase tickets, please visit uclabruins.com/tickets or call the UCLA Central Ticket Office at 310-UCLA-WIN (825-2946).

Breast Cancer Awareness Games Right around the Corner
Friday night against Cal, the women’s basketball team will hold its annual breast cancer awareness game. The first 1,000 fans through the turnstiles will receive a limited edition pink t-shirt commemorating the evening.

In addition, former UCLA student athletes will be on-hand to sell raffle tickets, with proceeds being split equally between the Play 4Kay Cancer Fund and the five breast centers on the UCLA campus.

Sunday afternoon will also include pink elements, including t-shirt and pom-pom giveaways, as well as coverage of UCLA’s Play 4Kay Initiative on the ESPNU broadcast.

Reminder: Next Sunday will be Dads and Daughters Day in Pauley 
Don’t forget that, in conjunction with the UCLA-Stanford women’s basketball game this coming Sunday, UCLA will host its annual Dads and Daughters Day. For just $10 per person, fans receive a ticket to a father-daughter-only pregame fair, a game ticket and a commemorative t-shirt. For more information or to order tickets, please click here.

Early-Bird Deadline for Season Ticket Renewals is this Friday 
By now, all football and men’s basketball season ticket holders should have received their renewal notification from the Central Ticket Office. In case you may have missed it on the form, the early-bird deadline for renewals is this Friday, February 15.

Those accounts renewed by this Friday will be entered into a raffle with the chance to win several prizes, including:

  • Courtside seats at a future men’s basketball game
  • Sideline passes for a 2013 football game
  • Game-worn jerseys
  • Autographed UCLA Athletics merchandise
  • A full credit for the purchase of your 2013 football and men’s basketball season tickets

In addition, all season ticket holders who renew in the month of February will have payment deferred until July 1.

For more information, or to renew now, please call the Central Ticket Office at 310-UCLA-WIN (310-825-2946).

Ugandan DelegationUgandan Delegation Returns to UCLA to Study Teachings of Coach Wooden 
As many of you may have seen at last Saturday’s men’s basketball game in Pauley, for the second consecutive year, a delegation of select Ugandan basketball coaches visited the UCLA campus this week to get a better understanding of John Wooden’s coaching philosophies.

The coaches arrived at UCLA as members of a cultural exchange funded in part by the U.S. State Department. The program was conceived by Texas Tech sports science professor Jens Omli, who has partnered with UCLA psychology professor Tara Scanlan, who hosted Coach Wooden as a guest lecturer in her courses for many years. During their stay in Westwood, the Ugandan delegation has had the opportunity to watch film of many of those lectures, interact with Scanlan on the teachings contained therein, and spent time with both the UCLA men’s and women’s basketball coaches.

Softball Auction to Benefit Charity Upcoming at UCLABruins.com 
The UCLA softball team will be auctioning off three pink authentic, team-issue helmets and two pink jerseys, signed by all of the players and coaches, beginning later this week on UCLABruins.com.

The proceeds raised will benefit the Iris Cantor Women’s Health Education and Resource Center at UCLA. The auction will continue for two weeks once it is launched, so please check it out and make a bid, all for a good cause.

Last Call: Northern Trust Open Hosts UCLA Day on Saturday 
With the date fast approaching, please remember to make plans to join fellow Bruin fans, coaches (including football coaches Noel Mazzone, Lou Spanos and Eric Yarber and men’s water polo coach and 2012 Olympian Adam Wright), staff, and the UCLA Spirit Squad this Saturday, February 16 for UCLA Day at the Northern Trust Golf Open at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades.

The special day features a $65 ticket that allows access to the tournament grounds and the Palisades Club, Riviera’s new, open-air and tented VIP hospitality venue. Half of all ticket proceeds will be donated back to UCLA Athletics.

For more information or to purchase your $65 VIP ticket, please visit northerntrustopen.com/ucla.

Football Signing Day Celebration in Pauley a Rousing Success 
The first-ever UCLA Football National Signing Day Celebration in Pauley Pavilion, presented by UCLA Athletics and the Wooden Athletic Fund, on February 6, drew a crowd of more than 3,000 Bruin fans. The spectacular Signing Day celebration featured head coach Jim Mora and his staff, as well as the UCLA Spirit Squad, UCLA Band, and highlight videos. Joined by the entire coaching staff, and with the UCLA Football team cheering from the audience, Coach Mora stood center court to announce one of the top-ranked recruiting classes in UCLA Football history.

Prior to the larger celebration, the Wooden Athletic Fund sponsored a private VIP Reception in the Pavilion Club with the football staff and significant backers of UCLA Athletics. Coach Mora took the opportunity to thank all of the tremendous donors who have supported UCLA Football since his arrival. He conveyed that the assistance of so many generous UCLA alumni, fans and friends was a major key to the recruiting success of the football staff.

The Wooden Athletic Fund encourages all Bruin fans to learn more about getting involved with UCLA Athletics and UCLA Football by: purchasing UCLA Football season tickets; supporting all UCLA student-athletes through the Wooden Athletic Fund; and/or directly supporting UCLA Football through the THEN NOW FOREVER Fund.

Olympic Sports Report

  • The UCLA baseball team, ranked as high as #2 in the preseason polls, opens the 2013 season with a three-game series against Minnesota starting on Friday at 6 pm at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The series will continue on Saturday at 2 pm and Sunday at 1 pm.
  • The #2-ranked UCLA women's tennis team reached the finals of the USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships for the second year in a row. However, the Bruins came up short in the end, falling to #8 North Carolina, 4-3 in Monday's championship match. Despite being down a key player during the tournament due to illness, UCLA still managed to post convincing wins over #21 Vanderbilt, #10 Miami and #6 Georgia. The Bruins are now 7-1 on the year.
  • The #3-ranked UCLA men's tennis team posted three home victories last week, downing #26 San Diego (5-2), #19 Stanford (7-0) and #13 Cal (6-1) to improve to 7-0 on the season. UCLA now focuses its attention on this week's USTA/ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.
  • The #3-ranked women’s water polo team improved to 12-1 on the year by winning its home opener over Cal Lutheran on Saturday, 18-3. The Bruins return to action this week when they host UC Irvine at Spieker Aquatics Center on Friday at 7 pm.
  • #4-ranked UCLA Gymnastics defeated three other teams, including #25-ranked Washington, in a quad meet in Pauley Pavilion on Sunday, scoring 196.950. The Bruins embark on a challenging three-match road swing, beginning on Saturday at #13-ranked Oregon State. That meet will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks at 7 pm PT.
  • Freshman golfer Jake Knapp won the CSU San Marcos Invitational last week at Shadowridge CC. Later last week, #4-ranked UCLA won its second stroke play tournament of the season by capturing the Amer Ari Invitational title in Hawaii. The Bruins won in a playoff against Washington after both teams finished at 22-under par.
  • The #6-ranked men's volleyball team returns home this week for matches against #13 Hawai'i this week. On Friday, the Bruins and Rainbow Warriors battle in the John Wooden Center, and on Saturday, the two teams meet again in Pauley Pavilion. Both matches start at 7 pm. Next Monday, the Bruins travel across town for an 8 pm Pac-12 Networks match against USC in the Galen Center.
  • The #19-ranked softball team went 3-1 last weekend in the season-opening Stacy Winsberg Memorial Tournament, defeating Wright State twice and McNeese State before falling to #17 Texas A&M 7-6 in eight innings. The Bruins head to Las Vegas this weekend for the Easton Desert Classic, playing five times in three days, starting on Friday.
  • The men's and women's indoor track and field teams split to compete at meets in both Seattle and Albuquerque. Junior captain Mike Woepse’s pole vault performance led the way for the Bruins at the Don Kirby Elite Invitational in New Mexico, setting a new personal best of 18-4½. The Bruins now focus their attention on this weekend's Run for the Dream Invitational in Fresno next Sunday.
  • The #12-ranked women’s swimming and diving squads had the week off from competition and conclude their regular-season schedule on Saturday with a 12 pm meet at USC.
  • The women’s golf team competes in the Northrop Grumman Regional Challenge in Palos Verdes.

Thoughts from the Athletic Director

As mentioned in earlier sections of this edition of the blog, UCLA’s Olympic Sports teams are clicking on all cylinders, with some in the midst of very successful seasons and others just getting out of the block, but at break-neck speed.

The women’s basketball team leads the way, currently with the best winning percentage of any college or professional basketball team in Los Angeles. Coach Cori Close, her coaching staff and the players have worked tirelessly in their two seasons to get the program nationally-ranked once again and in position to battle for a Pac-12 Conference and Tournament title. The program has been nationally ranked virtually all season long and will be looking to finish strong in order to get the best seed possible for the NCAA Tournament.

Nearly every team currently competing is nationally-ranked, including women’s water polo, softball, men’s and women’s tennis, gymnastics, baseball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s indoor track and field and women’s swimming. Other teams are right on the verge of being ranked and may get there at some point in time during the season. Sand volleyball, which has taken to the beach and opens its inaugural season later this month, will no doubt be a factor in its first campaign.

With fall sports completed, UCLA currently ranks seventh in the Learfield Director’s Cup, the competition that acknowledges the best broad-based programs in the country. Typically we fare as well as, if not better than any other school in the country when it comes to excellence in our winter and spring sports. With a great run from here on out, we will do our best to bring the Cup to Westwood.

UCLA, which finished third in the Director’s Cup last year (2011-12), remains one of the most consistent programs in the country when it comes to measuring the collective success of an institution’s men’s and women’s programs. This is critically important to our mission, important to our coaches and student-athletes and important for the UCLA athletics brand.

With National Letter of Intent signing day recently concluding, it was not just football that enjoyed a banner day, though it received the most media attention. Head Coach Jorge Salcedo in men’s soccer, again, landed the No. 1-ranked recruiting class in the nation. In addition, women’s soccer, men’s and women’s track and field and men’s water polo all signed terrific classes, which will bring more elite student-athletes to our campus in the fall. Again, a great job by all of the head coaches and their assistants.

I wrote briefly about recruiting last week and can go on and on about how well we did, but you get the point. We have been very fortunate to see success in our major programs through our history, but it is our broad-based excellence in all sports that differentiates us from virtually every other school in the country. This fact certainly makes us all proud Bruins.

Kudos to all our coaches and student-athletes for the hard work they have put in so far and nothing but the best to them as they continue (or in some cases begin) their seasons.

Go Bruins!

Dan Guerrero 
UCLA Athletic Director