Martin Jarmond reflects on busy first year at UCLA
May 13, 2021
It has been one year since Martin Jarmond was hired as the Director of Athletics at UCLA. Jarmond took the job under difficult circumstances, with the athletic program shutdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic. One year later, the athletic program has renewed energy and optimism because of the success of the athletic programs this spring.
In an email message to the UCLA community, Jarmond talked about the past year, "Believe it or not, next week will mark one year since I humbly accepted the job as your Director of Athletics, and I wanted to give you a brief update on how things have been going. It has been an incredible nonstop journey for me, as I immerse myself in all things UCLA and learn something new every day about why we can all be proud to be Bruins."
Jarmond continued to say, "As an athletic department, we have had a lot of E.L.I.T.E days lately. In case you haven't been able to keep up, below are just some of the highlights from the past few months."
• Men's Water Polo – National Championship (12th in program history; 119th NCAA title for UCLA)
• Men's Basketball – Final Four
• Women's Soccer – Pac-12 Championship
• Women's Tennis – Pac-12 Championship
• Beach Volleyball – Pac-12 Championship
Jarmond added that, "We're not done yet. With our women's tennis, men's and women's golf, and women's water polo teams currently pursuing national championships, and softball, baseball, rowing, and track & field soon to join them, we can expect more excitement in the coming months."
It is easy to see why Jarmond is so excited about UCLA athletics. UCLA Softball is currently ranked No. 2 in the country with a record of 38-3 and the baseball team is currently ranked No. 23 in the nation. Both are locks to make the NCAA Tournament. The Bruins magical Final Four run in the NCAA basketball tournament through the field of 68 teams has really energized the UCLA community.
The success of the storied Bruins basketball program this past season has created an atmosphere of hope and momentum that could lead to more success next season. With their Final Four run, the Bruins retained their Blue Blood program status that had been slipping in recent years. The Bruins have now been to 19 Final Fours in the NCAA men's basketball tournament, second only to Kentucky at 20.
The challenge for Jarmond will be turning the football program around, which has had a record five consecutive losing seasons. UCLA won three games and was in contention in all four losses last season. Head Coach Chip Kelly had the Pac-12's second-best scoring offense (35.4 points per game), 20th in the nation. The Bruins were 12th in rushing offense in the nation and 21st in total offense in the nation.
The Bruins lost to Oregon and USC, the Pac-12 divisional winners, by a combined eight points. With their strong offensive unit and 20 of 22 starters returning, the expectations for the Bruins football team at a minimum will be a winning season and a bowl appearance.
A month into his new job as Athletic Director, Jarmond was informed by Under Armour that they were ending their $280 million dollar contract with UCLA for apparel and shoes. UCLA sued for breach of contract, first in federal court and, after withdrawing that complaint, then in state court. UCLA is seeking $200 million in damages.
In the meantime, Jarmond moved the UCLA apparel and shoe deal to make Jordan Brand and Nike the Bruins' official athletic footwear, apparel and equipment provider beginning July 1, 2021. UCLA will become just the fifth university in the country to join forces with Jordan Brand on football, as well as both men's and women's basketball. It has been a very busy year for the first year Director of Athletics at UCLA.