When UCLA Ruled College Basketball
Southern California in the 1960's- sun, surf, beach and of course, UCLA basketball. The Bruins go back to 1919 yet it was only during a short historic period in 1964-75 when they forged UCLA’s legacy as the NCAA’s winningest Division I men’s basketball team.
When UCLA Ruled College Basketball
Southern California in the 1960's- sun, surf, beach and of course, UCLA basketball.
The Bruins go back to 1919 yet it was only during a brief period in 1964-75 that they forged UCLA’s legacy as the winningest NCAA Division I men’s basketball team.
Under the stewardship of legendary coach John Wooden, the school’s basketball squad ruled the court, racking up ten national titles in twelve consecutive seasons.
Wooden joined UCLA in 1948, toting his “pyramid of success” philosophy to a team that had only known two conference victories in almost a generation. The first year saw him turn the Bruins’ losing record of 12-13 to 22-7, laying the groundwork for an unprecedented 27 uninterrupted winning seasons under his tenure.
The first championship came in 1964, closing out a perfect 30-0 season. UCLA faced Duke at the Final and took down the Blue Devils 98-83. Junior Gail Goodrich led with 27 points and senior Walt Hazzard took home the MVP; both were later drafted by the LA Lakers.
The second national crown came in 1965 with Goodrich netting a then record 42 points to upend Michigan 91-80.
Post 1964, UCLA rode another three perfect seasons in 1967, 1972 and 1973. Central to Wooden’s coaching tenet were 25 behavioral traits he identified as cornerstones to competitive success.
Fundamental game skills was just one. The rest were qualitative measures transcending sports and touching on life in general: industriousness, initiative, enthusiasm, cooperation, patience, etc.
1966 introduced another future Laker to the Bruins lineup, sophomore Lew Alcindor, later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The imposing 7’1” center helped guide the California school to three straight NCAA championships: 1967 (Dayton), 1968 (North Carolina) and 1969 (Purdue).
Alcindor’s dominance could only be matched by the MVP awards he earned after each tournament. At the end of his college career, his superstar legacy would be marked by more than just points and rebounds. Jabbar's towering presence under the net led the NCAA to ban the slam dunk until it was reinstated in 1976.
Junior Sidney Wicks picked up where Jabbar left off, clinching the MVP in 1970 after UCLA defeated Jacksonville for the trophy. Wicks helped overtake Villanova at the 1971 Final before joining the Portland Trail Blazers.
With sophomore Bill Walton on the Bruins' 1972 roster, UCLA was on its way to a record 88-game winning streak. That season, UCLA averaged over 30-point winning margins and overcame Florida State at the championship. Memphis State succumbed the following year as the 6’11” Walton landed 21 of 22 field goal attempts and scored 44 points to claim the title.
After defeating Kentucky in 1975, Wooden retired with a UCLA career record of 620-147 (81%). Regarded by many as the greatest coach of all time, the dynasty he created and the players he inspired remain unmatched in the annals of college basketball.
FOOTBALL February 6, 2001 The Green Bay Packers defeat the Pittsburgh Steelers 31-25 in Super Bowl XLV. Packers quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, launched 3 touchdowns and completed 24 of 39 passes to win the game MVP. His counterpart, Ben Roethlisberger, hurled 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, one of which resulted in a 37-yard running score against Pittsburgh. It was the 4th SB victory for Green Bay, the NFL’s first champions dating back to the 1966 season.
BASKETBALL February 11, 2001 The NBA holds its 50th All-Star game at the MCI Center in Washington, DC. Allen Iverson picked up the MVP after rallying the Eastern Conference to defeat the West in a narrow 111-110 game. Vince Carter (Toronto Raptors) and Iverson (Philadelphia 76ers) topped the highest number of selection votes from the East, while Shaquille O’Neal (Los Angeles Lakers) and Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers) were most popular in the West.
BASEBALL February 4, 1991 The Board of Directors at the Baseball Hall of Fame votes 12-0 to bar Pete Rose from being inducted. Due to his past gambling activities around the game, both as player and manager, Rose continues to be kept out of the prestigious institution. Playing for and managing the Cincinnati Reds from 1963-1989, Rose was a 17x All-Star and 3x World Series champion. In his playing career he batted .303, hit 4,256, and had RBI of 1,413.
MOTOR SPORTS February 15, 1981 Rich Petty wins the 23rd annual running of the Daytona 500. Rounding the 200-lap chase in just under 2 hours and 57 minutes, Petty beat Bobby Allison by 3½ seconds and brought out Buick’s first NASCAR win since 1956. It was the 7th and last Daytona 500 victory for the North Carolina native who still holds the record for most wins at the famed track. Petty is tied with Jimmy Johnson and Dale Earnhardt for the NASCAR series (7x).