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1 UCLA

April 28, 1997
April 28, 1997

Table of Contents
April 28, 1997

Jock Schools

1 UCLA

VARSITY TEAMS: 21 INTRAMURAL SPORTS: 18
FAMOUS ALUMNI: KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR, JACKIE ROBINSON
EXTRA CREDIT FOR: RECORD 94 NATIONAL TEAM TITLES

This is an article from the April 28, 1997 issue Original Layout

All things considered, UCLA should change its name to the
University of California, Loaded with Athletes. Consider: The
Bruins have won 94 national team titles in 19 sports, the most
of any school. The 49 current or former UCLA athletes at the
Atlanta Olympics took home 22 medals, and their haul of 12 golds
was exceeded by only six countries. The list of alumni is even
more mind-blowing than these accomplishments would lead you to
believe.

UCLA can boast of the best player in the history of college
basketball (Lew Alcindor, now Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), softball
(Lisa Fernandez) and volleyball (Karch Kiraly). The media
darling of the Atlanta Games, Kerri Strug, is now a freshman in
Westwood. Bruins athletes as social crusaders? How about Arthur
Ashe? Even after you throw in Troy Aikman, Gary Beban, Jimmy
Connors, Gail Devers, Kenny Easley, Florence Griffith Joyner,
Rafer Johnson, Jackie Joyner-Kersee, Eric Karros, Liz Masakayan,
Corey Pavin, Sinjin Smith, Peter Vidmar, Bill Walton, Keith
Wilkes and the many other All-Americas, there's still little
doubt as to who is UCLA's top athlete ever. That would be Jackie
Robinson, the 1940 NCAA long jump champion, star of the
basketball team and a quicksilver starting halfback on the
football team. Oh, and a pretty decent shortstop, to boot.

No wonder SPORTS ILLUSTRATED has put UCLA athletes and coaches
on its cover 93 times and has bestowed four Sportsman of the
Year awards on them. SI even ran a six-page paean to the song
girls in the March 16, 1981, issue. "One lost the top of her
halftime uniform while dancing in front of the band," the
article reported breathlessly, "causing every spit valve in the
horn section to weld shut and two freshman percussionists to
attain puberty at precisely the same moment." Yes, UCLA is a
great place to be a sports fan.

The venues are first-rate, starting with Pauley Pavilion, home
to 35 national title-winning teams. O.K., it's a schlepp to get
to the Rose Bowl for home football games, but it's the Rose
Bowl. Jackie Robinson Stadium is the most charming place this
side of Wrigley Field to take in a baseball game.

UCLA is a first-rate place to play, too. It doesn't hurt that
the climate is terrific or that the 11-acre intramural field is
right off Bruin Walk in the heart of campus. Intramural sports
are hypercompetitive in everything from basketball to squash to
inner-tube water polo. Which brings us to the school year's most
eagerly anticipated sporting event, held every spring. March
Madness? Puh-leeze. Try the intersorority beach volleyball
tournament.

By the way, it's only a 15-minute bike ride to the azure
Pacific. At the university's Aquatic Center in Marina Del Rey,
students can get sea kayaks and sailboats, not to mention
instruction in their use. There's a surf club--and a ski club.
In fact it's possible to double-dip on the same morning by
catching some swells at sunrise and then making the 80-mile
drive to Mountain High Ski Area, in the San Gabriel Mountains,
in time to catch the first run of the chairlifts.

Yet for all its other sporting credentials, UCLA will forever be
known as a basketball mecca--the school that under coach John
Wooden won 10 NCAA men's titles between 1964 and '75. But the
success of the varsity is only half the story. UCLA is a pickup
hoops hub, and with 38 rims on campus there's always a game
somewhere. The most stirring basketball is played in the late
spring and summer at Pauley, where varsity players as well as
Magic, Shaq and a couple dozen other members of the sport's
royalty convene. Longtime NBA guard Doc Rivers once said some of
the best teams he ever played on were in the pickup games at
Pauley. Naturally, students pack the joint to watch, and sitting
up there in the stands, in the shadow of all those championship
banners, they're thinking the same thing: Now this is a jock
school.

--ALAN SHIPNUCK

COLOR PHOTO: GERARD RANCIMANThey're No.1! Olympic gymnast and UCLA student Kerri Strug, a trio of Bruins football players and the beach at Santa Monica are just five of reasons for rating UCLA the top jock school in the U.S. (page 52) [T of C]COLOR PHOTO: PETER READ MILLER ATHLETES FROM ALL SPORTS THRIVE ON THE NATION'S MOST JOCK-FRIENDLY CAMPUS [Athletes representing numerous sports on steps of UCLA campus]