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Fate played a hand in UCLA track coach Jim Bush winning NCAA titles

September 06, 2012|By Chris Foster

How did the Titanic almost keep UCLAfrom having the most national championships in college sports?

Ask Jim Bush, former Bruins track and field coach.

Bush, a member of the National Track Hall of Fame, said that his grandmother was left on the dock in England when the Titanic sailed.

“She had her luggage stolen on the dock, so she couldn’t go,” said Bush, who will turn 86 on Sept. 15. “My mom was just a little girl then.”

Bush’s grandfather had already emigrated to the United States. He was working for Hills Bros. Coffee when he sent for his wife and daughter.

Bush was born in 1926, 14 years after the Titanic struck an iceberg and sank.

“My grandmother and mom would have had tickets on the lower part of the ship, where everyone died,” Bush said. “The first time I heard that story was the day I started believing in God.”

Bush spent 20 years as the Bruins’ coach and helped develop some of the top track and field athletes in the United States, sending 21 athletes to the Olympics.

His teams also won five NCAA titles.

UCLA has 109 national titles. USC has 106.

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