Wooden Legacy Announces New Format, Playing Site
June 4, 2013
release courtesy of Wooden Legacy
The Wooden Legacy, an all-new multi-team collegiate basketball tournament, will begin play during the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday in Orange County. A four-year agreement was announced today by representatives from ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, along with officials from Honda Center, UCLA, the Wooden family, Cal State Fullerton and the Big West Conference.
The tournament was formed as two vibrant, nationally-recognized in-season collegiate basketball events join forces. The former John R. Wooden Classic will combine with the Anaheim Classic, the eight-team, three-day, 12-game bracketed event that has been staged the past six years in Anaheim.
"We're delighted to honor our father and his passion for the game of basketball through this new and exciting event," said Jim and Nan Wooden, son and daughter of the legendary coach. "For the past twenty years we have done tremendous work for local charities, while celebrating his philosophies and are certain the establishment of the Wooden Legacy will only enhance these efforts."
With the expansion, the 2013 Wooden Legacy will be held at two sites. The opening two rounds will be played at Titan Gym on the campus of Cal State Fullerton on Thursday, Nov. 28 and Friday, Nov. 29. The games then move to Honda Center with four placement contests including the championship game between the remaining unbeaten schools on Sunday, Dec. 1. The 12 games will air across ESPN networks.
Institutions from seven different leagues will be competing in the 2013 Wooden Legacy led by NCAA Championship participants Creighton (Missouri Valley, 28-8, BIG EAST in 2013-2014), Marquette (BIG EAST, 26-9), Miami (Fla.) (Atlantic Coast, 29-7) and San Diego State (Mountain West, 23-11). Creighton and Miami both captured their league’s regular-season and post-season tournament titles.
Additional schools competing in the 2013 event include Arizona State (Pac-12, 22-13, NIT participant), Cal State Fullerton (Big West, 14-18), College of Charleston (Southern, 24-10, CBI participant, Colonial in 2013-2014) and George Washington (Atlantic 10, 13-17).
UCLA will participate in the 2016 event as schools are allowed to play once every four seasons in the same exempt event.
“We are thrilled to be working with Honda Center and the Wooden family to enhance the event by staging the last four games of the tournament at one of the nation’s premier sporting facilities,” said Clint Overby, senior director of events, ERT. “The addition of the Wooden name continues to help us grow the event into one of the elite nationally-relevant in-season tournaments. The 2013 field will showcase six schools that won at least 20 games featuring teams from coast-to-coast. We are also very appreciative of the efforts by the Big West Conference and Cal State Fullerton in helping with the staging of this event.”
“We have been privileged to host the Wooden Classic since its inception in 1994,” said Tim Ryan, Honda Center President and Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to celebrating John Wooden’s legacy again this fall with an expanded field that creates the excitement of tournament action highlighted by a championship game. In our partnership with UCLA over the years, we have continued to honor Coach Wooden’s life and legacy. We look forward to having UCLA play in the Wooden Legacy on a four-year rotation, per NCAA rules.
“For many years it has been a tremendous honor for UCLA to be able to celebrate the greatness of Coach Wooden and his family by participating in the Wooden Classic,” said Dan Guerrero, UCLA Athletic Director. “While we will miss the opportunity for our team to compete in the event annually, the newly-created Wooden Legacy will bring much-deserved national exposure to Coach Wooden’s incredible body of work, both on-and-off the court. I can assure you that every four years, when UCLA is eligible under NCAA scheduling rules, we will be there. I have no doubt that the tournament will quickly become one of the must-see events of the college basketball season.”
The Big West Conference will serve as the host conference for the event. Additional information, including travel packages, can be found on the event web site at www.TheWoodenLegacy.com or on twitter at https://twitter.com/TheWoodenLegacy. Bracket pairings and tip-off time will be released later this summer. Ticket on sale information for all three days of the tournament will be released in the coming weeks.
Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell said that his conference "is proud and excited to be a part of what will undoubtedly be one of the premier early-season college basketball events in America. This tournament will bring quality teams from prestigious conferences to one of the top athletic facilities in the country and will become a "must-see" event on every Southern California sports fan's calendar. With ESPN networks airing all 12 games, this tournament will ensure that John Wooden's impact on college basketball will live on for years to come."
Jim Donovan, the athletic director at Cal State Fullerton stated that his school is “very proud to be hosting the first two days of the Wooden Legacy. As one of the nation’s premiere basketball tournaments, it’s our honor to be associated with ESPN and the legacy of one of basketball’s greatest leaders and coaches, John Wooden.”
While the Anaheim Classic started in 2007, the John R. Wooden Classic was established in 1994 as an annual tribute to the legendary coach (who passed away in 2010 at the age of 99) and the excellence he personified. Wooden had an 885-203 overall career record (81.3 percent) for 11 seasons as a high school coach and 29 seasons as a college mentor.
Wooden led UCLA to 16 conference championships in his 27-season stay in Westwood as the Bruins won an unprecedented 10 NCAA Championships in 12 years, including seven in-a-row. UCLA also won 88-straight games during Wooden’s leadership to set a NCAA's all-time consecutive victory streak record during a four-season period (1970-1974). He is the only coach to compile four undefeated seasons of 30-0 as he led UCLA to a 620-147 record.
Like the Anaheim Classic, the John R. Wooden Classic had a tradition of bringing the nation’s finest college programs to Southern California for a one-day event. The first 17 John R. Wooden Classic featured a doubleheader. The 2011 and 2012 classics had Wooden's UCLA team hosting a league and in-state rival in a one-game event.