John Wooden set a high standard in Los Angeles that his successors never have been able to replicate.
At one time, UCLA dominated the college basketball scene when John Wooden was coach.
But since Wooden left in 1975, the Bruins have had more success than the Gophers, their opponent in Friday night’s NCAA tournament game, but more coaches as well.
Wooden left with a 620-147 record at UCLA along with 10 NCAA championships. Since then, the team has gone 852-349 with eight coaches: Gene Bartow, Gary Cunningham, Larry Brown, Larry Farmer, Walt Hazzard, Jim Harrick, Steve Lavin and Ben Howland. In his 10th season with UCLA, Howland is the longest-tenured coach at the school since Wooden.
Still, despite the school’s .709 winning percentage since Wooden left, they have only won one NCAA championship, with Harrick in 1995. Howland is the only other coach to have taken the team to a championship game since Wooden, losing 73-57 against Florida in 2006, the first of three consecutive Final Four appearances for the Bruins.
To give an idea of how different the coaching culture is at UCLA consider this: since the year that Wooden left, the Gophers have gone 658-478 for a .579 winning percentage and have only had six coaches in that time: Jim Dutcher, Jimmy Williams, Clem Haskins, Dan Monson, Jim Molinari and Tubby Smith. And Williams and Molinari were only interim coaches for part of a season.
In that span the Gophers have made the NCAA tournament 11 times — that’s counting four trips, including their 1997 Final Four appearance, vacated due to an academic fraud sanction.
As for this season, the Gophers and Bruins have shared only two opponents. The Gophers beat Stanford and Southern California in nonconference play before the new year; UCLA went 3-1 against those two Pacific-12 foes, losing at home to USC.
One thing in the Gophers’ favor is that the Bruins start four freshmen, part of the No.1 recruiting class in the country last year.
The Gophers are a three-point favorite according to the Vegas books. Nate Silver of the New York Times gave the Gophers a 61.9 percent chance of beating UCLA while ESPN.com’s Giant Killers blog gave them a 74 percent chance of victory.
Hollins’ UCLA history
Lionel Hollins, father of Gophers guard Austin and coach of the Memphis Grizzlies, was a member of the Arizona State basketball team in 1975 that lost to UCLA in the NCAA West Regional final.
Now the young Hollins will try and gain revenge for his father.
That was the final year of Wooden’s great career, and his big star was Marques Johnson who went on to become a standout for the Bucks in the NBA.
Not many athletes in this town contribute more to charities than Vikings linebacker Chad Greenway, along with his wife, Jenni. On Wednesday, the Greenway family launched their third “Chad’s Locker” at an area children’s hospital, this one at the Hudson (Wis.) Hospital and Clinics.
The locker provides patients and their families access to technology as a means of relaxation and communication. It includes kid-friendly laptops, iPads and video game systems. The locker will provide an outlet for thousands of patients and families.
• How badly does Kentucky want to recruit Tyus Jones, the Apple Valley junior point guard ranked by many as the No. 1 recruit in the country? After Kentucky got beat in the first round of the NIT by Robert Morris on Monday night in Pittsburgh, Wildcats coach John Calipari flew in Tuesday to watch Jones score 19 points and add seven assists in an 81-67 victory over Brainerd in the Class 4A state quarterfinals.
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