10 Things You Didn’t Know About UCLA Football

UCLA is the home of the Bruins. The Bruins are the team for the University of California in Los Angeles. They have a rich history as well as a solid future. If you’re a UCLA football fan there here are ten interesting facts about them that you probably didn’t know.

1. The team has existed since 1919

UCLA football has been a thing since the played their first official game in 1919. This means that the team is 120 years old as of 1919. Their first head coach was Fred Cozens who has gone down i the history books.

2. They didn’t participate in an Athletic conference for a year

The first year of their formation, the UCLA football team didn’t play in an athletic conference, but they still played a full schedule of games. They played against a range of local high schools as well as other assorted teams when they were just starting to get their act together as a brand new team. Their first intercollegiate game was played in 1920.

3. The first three head coaches were replaced annually

Early in the history of UCLA football the first coach was Fred Cozens. He willingly stepped down from the position after the first season yielded a record of 2 wins and 6 losses against high school and other teams, non-collegiate. Harry Trotter took over the next year and ended with a record of 2-13-1 and was replaced with coach James Cline. After two wins in the 1922-23 season he was replaced with William H Spaulding who had a more impressive season in 1925. The UCLA team took a few years to realize their potential

4. The first bowl appearance was in 1938

Under the coaching of William Spaulding the Bruins finally made it to a major bowl game. They achieved a victory at the Poi Bowl in 1938. The team had left the SCIAC and joined the Pacific Coast Conference in 1928. This was ten years prior to their bowl win which turned around the trajectory of the team.

5. Spaulding holds the record number of wins

Spaulding is the coach that has the highest number of career wins. In the fourteen seasons that he coached the team, he led them in 72 wins. This gives him the highest ranking of any head coach in Bruin football history.

6. Their first big rivalry win came with Jackie Robinson

The Bruins were coached by Edwin C. Horrell after Spaulding’s retirement. They had a longstanding rivalry with USC. They achieved their first win against the rival team with the soon to be famous Jackie Robinson. For those of you who didn’t know, he went on to become an esteemed alum of UCLA and this is where he got his start in competitive sports.

7. 1954 was an exceptional year for the Bruins

The Bruins had an exceptional year in football 1954. The team compiled a record of 9-0. They shared the national championship with Ohio State that year. They were not allowed to compete in the Rose Bowl that season because of a “no repeat rule set in place by the PCC.

8. Coach Henry Sanders was the most inspirational coach for inciting the rivalry

Henry Sanders made a habit of starting out every game with a speech. He ended the speed with “Beat SC” and this saying stuck and became the mantra of the team. It wasn’t long before players and fans espoused the notion that beating the SC team was not just a matter of life and death… it went beyond that in terms of seriousness.

9. Two head coaches in a row suffered tragedy

This is an interesting fact that we discovered about the UCLA football team. They had two coaches in a row who endured tragedy. Just prior to the start of their 1958 season, Sanders died of a heart attack at an LA hotel. The next coach to take over was George W. Dickerson but only on an interim basis. He suffered a nervous breakdown shortly after and was also replaced.

10. UCLA has made it to the top ten of the AP Poll regularly

Here’s an interesting and fun fact about the UCLA Football team. They have ranked among the top ten in the AP Poll with a minimum of at least once every ten years since the start of the poll sometime in the 1930s. This is an impressive record in itself.


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