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Shame of a Nation
View From the Hot Seats
The Man Who Knows Too Much
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Fall 1998
View from the Hot Seats
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Bob Toledo and Steve Lavin talk about pressure, the press, winning and losing and playing for keeps

By Paul Feinberg '85 and B.J. Violett '81

UCLA has the most successful, across-the-board athletic department of any university in the country. It has produced world-famous athletes too numerous to mention. In almost every sport, it ranks among the nation's elite, and coaches like Al Scates and Guy Baker are recognized as among the best — if not the best — at what they do.

Still, no one can deny that football and basketball are the engines that run the machine, the glamour programs, first among equals, if you will. They get the press — for better or worse; they play in front of large crowds; they're on television. They also bring in the cash.

So it's probably fair to say that Bob Toledo and Steve Lavin occupy sort of parallel worlds in the hot seats of the UCLA sporting universe. But the synchronicity doesn't stop there:

Both are Bay Area expatriates, from San Jose and San Francisco, respectively. Both went to San Francisco State (Toledo transferred in, Lavin out). Both were Bruin assistants to longtime, successful UCLA head coaches. And both have already experienced the pressure-cooker ups and downs of running big-time programs. But as they enter their third year at the helm, they have established their respective programs as their own. Need proof? According to the national recruiting services, the UCLA football and basketball programs both had the top recruiting classes in the nation. If that's ever happened before — anywhere — we couldn't find evidence of it.

Last summer, Lavin and Toledo took a break from their summer camps to sit down with UCLA Magazine to tell us some of their secrets. And, no, Toledo did not reveal his next trick play.

We wondered, Bob, if you knew of Steve's father, Cap, a renowned high school and college basketball player, coach and teacher in the Bay Area?


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