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 (BIG EAST, 28-8), 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. The teams above help make the event one of two exempt tournaments in 2013 that feature four top-35 RPI teams from a year ago.
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 (Colonial Athletic Association, 24-11, CBI participant) 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. Wooden passed away at the age of 99 on June 4, 2010.
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.
Past John R. Wooden Classic results: December 3, 1994 - Kansas 81, Massachusetts 75; UCLA 82, Kentucky 81 December 9, 1995 - Villanova 67, Purdue 50; UCLA 73, Maryland 63 December 7, 1996 - Arizona 69, Utah 61; Louisville 93, LSU 87 (OT) December 6, 1997 - UCLA 69, New Mexico 58; Stanford 76, Georgia 74 December 5, 1998 - Kansas 62, Pepperdine 55; UCLA 69, Oklahoma State 66 November 27, 1999 - Stanford 67, Auburn 58; Duke 81, USC 68 December 2, 2000 - Georgia Tech 72, UCLA 67; USC 65, Utah 60 December 8, 2001 - Arizona 79, Purdue 66; UCLA 79, Alabama 57 December 7, 2002 - Georgia 78, Cal 73 (OT); Missouri 78, USC 72 December 6, 2003 - Stanford 64, Kansas 58; Kentucky 52, UCLA 50 December 5, 2004 - Arizona 68, Mississippi State 64; Boston College 74, UCLA 64 December 10, 2005 - Washington 81, New Mexico 71; UCLA 67, Nevada 56 December 9, 2006 - UCLA 65, Texas A&M 62; USC 74, George Washington 65 December 8, 2007 - Saint Mary's 69, San Diego State 64; UCLA 75, Davidson 63 December 13, 2008 - Saint Mary's 67, San Diego State 64; UCLA 72, DePaul 54 December 12, 2009 - Georgetown 74, Washington 66; Mississippi State 72, UCLA 54 December 18, 2010 - Saint Mary's 82, Long Beach State 74; UCLA 86, Brigham Young 79 January 5, 2012 - UCLA 65, Arizona 58 (played as a Bruin home game due to renovations at Pauley Pavilion) December 1, 2012 - San Diego State 78, UCLA 69
Past Anaheim Classic results (other schools competing in the event): 2007 - USC 70, Southern Illinois 45 (Chattanooga, Miami of Ohio, Mississippi State, San Diego, South Alabama, UC Irvine) 2008 - Wake Forest 87, Baylor 74 (Arizona State, Cal State Fullerton, Charlotte, Providence, Saint Mary’s, UTEP) 2009 - West Virginia 84, Portland 66 (Butler, Clemson, Long Beach State, Minnesota, Texas A&M, UCLA) 2010 - UNLV 71, Virginia Tech 59 (Cal State Northridge, DePaul, Murray State, Oklahoma State, Stanford, Tulsa) 2011 - Saint Louis 83, Oklahoma 63 (Boston College, New Mexico, Santa Clara, UC Riverside, Villanova, Washington State) 2012 - Cal 78, Pacific 57 (Drake, Drexel, Georgia Tech, Rice, Saint Mary’s, Xavier