Jim Bush, US track and field Hall of Fame coach, dies at 90
LOS ANGELES (AP) Jim Bush, who guided UCLA to five NCAA track and field championships during his 20 years coaching the Bruins, has died. He was 90.
Bush died Monday of cancer at his home in Culver City, his wife, Francoise, said Tuesday. He had decided to stop chemotherapy treatment after a recurrence of cancer two years ago.
”I reached my goal of being 90 years old and you can’t ask for everything,” he told his wife of 36 years.
Bush coached the Bruins from 1965-84, winning five national championships and seven conference titles along the way. Among his standout athletes were 400-meter runners Wayne Collette and John Smith, triple jumper Willie Banks, hurdlers Greg Foster and Andre Phillips, high jumper Dwight Stones and shot putter and discus thrower John Brenner.
Bush coached 30 Olympians in his career and served as head track and field coach at the 1979 Pan American Games.
He was inducted into the U.S. Track and Field Hall of Fame in 1996.
In outdoor dual meet competition, Bush had a record of 152-21, including 10 undefeated seasons.
Before Bush’s arrival in Westwood, UCLA had never beaten USC in a dual meet. During his tenure, the Bruins beat their crosstown rival 13 times.
Born Sept. 15, 1926, in Cleveland, Bush grew up in Bakersfield, California. He attended Kern County Union High School, competing in football and track. After graduating in 1944, Bush joined the U.S. Navy Air Corps and served during World War II. He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1951 after competing for the Golden Bears for three years as a quarter-miler and high hurdler.
Bush began his coaching career as an assistant at Berkeley High in 1952. He later coached at Fullerton (California) High, Fullerton Junior College and Occidental College in Los Angeles. After Occidental beat UCLA three straight years, he was hired to be the Bruins’ coach.
Bush produced 188 individual NCAA medalists at UCLA.
Following his retirement from UCLA in 1984, Bush became a speed and strength consultant for the Los Angeles Raiders, Dodgers, Lakers and Clippers. He earned a Super Bowl ring with the Raiders in 1984 and a World Series ring with the Dodgers in 1988. He returned to coaching track and field at USC from 1991-94.
Besides his fourth wife Francoise, Bush is survived by son Don Bush and daughter Jean Richmond from his first marriage; stepsons Gary and Patrick Ruggieri; and 21 grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
Services were pending.