The UCLA Athletic Department is pleased to announce a commitment of $1,000,000 from Troy Aikman, one of the greatest quarterbacks in UCLA and NFL history, to be put towards the Wasserman Football Center project. In honor of Troy’s generosity, UCLA’s football-specific strength and conditioning facility within the state-of-the-art new building will forever be known as The Troy Aikman Strength and Conditioning Center.
“There is no better role model for our UCLA student-athletes than Troy Aikman,” said Director of Athletics Dan Guerrero. “Not only was Troy committed to making the most of his UCLA experience on the field, he was committed to finishing what he started in the classroom as well, returning to school to complete his degree. Today, he is demonstrating this commitment as an alumnus, giving back to the place where he laid the foundation for a remarkable career both on and off the field. We cannot thank Troy enough for his tremendous generosity and are excited to have his name play as prominent a role in our future as it has in our past.”
Aikman arrived in Westwood in the fall of 1986 and over the next two seasons, led the Bruins to a record of 20-4, including two bowl victories, while becoming the first quarterback in school history to lead UCLA to back-to-back 10-win seasons. In 1988, the senior signal caller earned consensus All-America honors and won the Davey O’Brien National Quarterback of the Year Award.
Selected by Dallas with the first overall pick in the 1989 NFL Draft, Aikman led the Cowboys to three Super Bowl titles, becoming the first quarterback in NFL history to win three Super Bowls in a four-year span. His 90 wins in the 1990s made him the winningest quarterback of that decade. Overall, he passed for 32,942 yards and 165 touchdowns during his 12-year career (all with the Cowboys) while being named to six Pro Bowls.
Enshrined in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006, two years later, Aikman was inducted into the National Football Foundation’s College Football Hall of Fame, becoming just the second Bruin (there are now three) to be selected to both Halls of Fame. In 2009, the Hall-of-Famer completed the requirements for his degree in Sociology and participated in graduation ceremonies that June. Most recently, in November of 2014, Aikman became the ninth player in UCLA football history to have his jersey retired as his #8 was unveiled at a halftime ceremony on the façade of the Rose Bowl’s Terry Donahue Pavilion.
“UCLA holds a very special place in my heart,” said Aikman. “As you go through life, it is common to be defined by the company you keep. I’ve been fortunate to be associated with two outstanding institutions. In many eyes, I’ll always be a Dallas Cowboy, and I’m extremely proud of that. By making this contribution to UCLA Football, It’s clear that I am, and always will be, a UCLA Bruin as well. My time at UCLA helped mold me into the person I am today, and I want the Bruin student-athletes that come after me to have the same opportunity I had to achieve their boyhood dreams.”
Retiring from the NFL in 2001, Aikman has served as the No. 1 analyst for FOX Sports’ NFL game broadcasts for more than a decade now. Aikman, a member of the National Football Foundation Board of Directors, has endowed a grant-in-aid for UCLA Football and is also still very active in the Dallas community, continuing to give back by assisting numerous charities and causes through the Troy Aikman Foundation. Among its many initiatives, one example of the Foundation’s work is the partnership with country music legend Garth Brooks to build Child Life Zones – interactive playrooms within the walls of children’s hospitals in different cities across the country.
In fall of 2013, the UCLA Athletic Department announced a campaign to raise private funds for a comprehensive football training facility to be located on the west side of Spaulding Field, the practice field for the Bruin football team. The planned state-of-the-art facility, now named the Wasserman Football Center in tribute to generous support from The Wasserman Foundation and its President, UCLA alumnus Casey Wasserman, will house a locker room, athletic training area, strength and conditioning facility, coaches’ offices, team meeting rooms, equipment rooms and video rooms, in addition to several elements that will feature the storied history of UCLA football.
Including Aikman’s commitment, the UCLA Athletic Department has now totaled more than $54 million in private funds raised just 18 months removed from the initial campaign announcement (September 2013) and well in advance of the scheduled fall 2015 groundbreaking. UCLA Athletics is now in phase two of its fundraising plan for the Wasserman Football Center and is in the process of working to reach a total of $65 million in private funding. In an effort to complete the Wasserman Football Center by the most comprehensive means possible, the additional monies raised will allow for first-rate finishes, furniture, branding and technology, ultimately securing its place as one of the elite football specific training facilities in the nation.
“Troy is a once in a generation type player,” said UCLA head football coach Jim Mora. “He could have pledged nothing, and we would still stand in awe of his accomplishments and continue to recognize him as one of the all-time greats. Instead, Troy not only continues to redefine what it means to be great, he continues to redefine what it means to be a Bruin.”
Additional naming opportunities for the Wasserman Football Center remain. For more information or to become involved in the campaign, contact the UCLA Athletics Development Office at 310-206-3302, or visit www.UCLAFootballFacility.com.
Source publication: UCLA Athletics