UCLA coaching legend Jim Bush regales Striders with stories of yore

Hall of Fame track coach Jim Bush, who tutored dozens of Olympians at UCLA and ended his career at rival USC, riveted attentions Saturday night at an Orange County Persian restaurant — scene of the latest Southern California Striders awards dinner. The masters track club gave its top honor, the Robert Watanabe Award, to Kathy Bergen, who set about a half-dozen world indoor and outdoor records this season in the sprints and high jump. Bush, 84, told of how he showed pro teams like the MLB Dodgers, NHL Kings, NBA Lakers and NFL Raiders how to improve their speed by running hills and lifting weights. He also described how he kicked Dwight Stones off his Bruin team — and refused him back despite his being a world record holder (Dwight wanted to compete in only three meets for UCLA: the USC dual, conference meet and NCAA’s, Jim said.)

Jim Bush told of tutoring the likes of NFL legends Marcus Allen and Howie Long.

Kathy wore a lovely floor-length dress in accepting her second Watanabe trophy. Her first was in 2006.

Kathy receives trophy from Striders President Brenda Matthews, who won Top Female Athlete honors for a season that including defeats of Phil Raschker in the 60 indoor and 100 outdoors at nationals.

USC alumnus Rick Muth receives the club's Renegade Award from Jeanne Bowman for his dedication, attitude and many contributions to the club and local track. Plus running on the 4x4 at nationals.

Rita Hanscom picks Bush's brain for wisdom on training for the 400. Bush coached several Olympians in the quarter.

Rick Muth, Ken Stone and Ruffus Morris received photos of their bronze-medal M55 4x4 team at Sacramento (missing is George Cohen). Despite many efforts, the Striders never received their bronzes — or their third-place team trophy.

Kathy Bergen enjoys herself at Darya, where Striders held their annual awards banquet for the first time after several years at Firefox.

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November 21, 2010

9 Responses

  1. Bubba Sparks - November 21, 2010

    Very neat story and photos. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Cornell - November 21, 2010

    I have a cool story about Jim Bush was when I was training at USC in 1995. I was running four 350s 2/2 with my trainer and he inquired if I had signed with any college. Well I was blown away because I was 33 and only running so fast because my girlfriend really teed me off. We later had a short conversation about his former Olympic athletes. What a compliment from such a great coach.

  3. christel donley - November 21, 2010

    Kathy, more than well deserved! and looking great, away from the track!

    Bob Watanabe was a wonderful friend, Orthopedist, and athlete – in any order. Hope, you had a chance to meet him.

    Happy Thanksgiving, at lot to be thankful for!

  4. christel donley - November 21, 2010

    This is for Rita:
    Do I recall those glasses? At least the frames…

    Also, you do not need any pointers from a coach,
    how to run a 400 m. Take the ones that were given to me 50 yrs ago: get out of the blocks, stay inside the lane AND RUN… (did not really work for me, or better, I did not enjoy it)maybe I needed Jim Bush.

  5. Liz Palmer - November 21, 2010

    All the ladies look beautiful. Guys, you look good too! It looks like a lovely evening.

  6. gary - November 22, 2010

    Had the pleasure of speaking to Jim Bush via telephone a few years back, needed advice on training for the 400; he not only gave me advice but shared stories of some of his best sprinters, what a great man.

  7. Ronald Shipley - February 19, 2011

    Coach Jim Bush; . A man of great integrity and true to his word! Back in 1955 (maybe 56), you were a coach at F.U.H.S., Fullerton, CA. I was involved in a fight with another student (Lynn Russel) during 7th period. Due to one very stupid thought and movement by myself Coach Bush ‘pushed me aside and told me I was receiving an “F” at semester’s end.’ No matter how much or hard I tried sure enough there was that BIG “F” on my report card. “”Thank You”” Coach Bush, because you taught me my very first lesson in true integrity that has remained with me all these years now.” With deep respect and love Coach! Ron Shipley (2011)

  8. suzanne marie bush-hall - January 13, 2014

    I enjoyed spending time with Jim Bush…although I addressed him as Granpa…he has had quite an impact on athletes and me as well. I have not seen him in a very long time. He is quite the legend and for good reason.I am glad to see he has made a difference in peoples lives.

  9. John Ewing - January 1, 2015

    Jim Bush, Bill Bowerman, Payton Jordan and Bob Watanabe were the main speakers at a clinic I put on at the 1984 Olympic T & F Trials. It was poorly promoted and attended, but what a great feeling to get these great people together and hear their thoughts on what it took to become a great athlete and or coach. To hear Jim Bush talk about training the long sprints and hurdlers helped me and many others. Interesting to note that as great as Payton Jordan was Jim Bush had a much better college coaching record. I think he had some unique ideas and he had a real talent for reading his athletes. Thanks Jim.

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