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UCLA's Adams to Retire

Baseball coach will step down after the 2004 season, his 30th at the school.

June 12, 2003|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

UCLA baseball Coach Gary Adams will retire after the 2004 season, ending speculation that Athletic Director Dan Guerrero would go for a triple crown of sorts and fire coaches in the three major men's sports in his first year.

Adams, 63, will return for a 30th season, then will spend one additional year in an administrative capacity, enabling him to maximize University of California retirement benefits.

Guerrero fired football coach Bob Toledo and basketball coach Steve Lavin, but took a kinder, gentler approach with Adams, who is popular with players but was unable to win consistently in recent years.

Adams is best known for grooming major league stars, including Troy Glaus, Eric Karros and Todd Zeile.

"I've had a tremendous time working with the [players] in our program," he said in a statement. "Watching them develop during their time at UCLA and then watching their successes in all fields after college has made me proud to be their coach."

Adams is 950-793-7 at UCLA, but only 84-93 since 2000 and 28-31 this season, finishing fifth in the Pacific 10 Conference. UCLA has not qualified for the postseason since 2000, when 12 Bruin players were drafted.

Thirty-eight UCLA players coached by Adams have reached the major leagues -- the most developed by any active college coach -- but he has led the Bruins to only one College World Series appearance, in 1997.

Adams began his career at UC Irvine and won NCAA Division II championships in 1973 and 1974. His overall record is 1,138-862-12. Although UCLA has never won a College World Series game -- the Bruins went 0-2 in 1997 -- Adams believes he could make a run next season.

"We have most of our key players from this season's team returning, and I am looking forward to one great final season," he said. "It's been a great 30 years, but it's time for someone else to lead this program."

Arizona Coach Andy Lopez and UC Irvine Coach John Savage, both of whom have ties to Guerrero, are considered the leading candidates to replace Adams.

Lopez and Guerrero were UCLA teammates in the 1970s, and Guerrero was the athletic director at Irvine when Savage was hired to resurrect the school's baseball program.

Lopez was a senior infielder in 1975, Adams' first season.

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