Pittsburgh's Patrick Sandle Joins UCLA Staff

July 20, 2001

Los Angeles - Pittsburgh assistant Patrick Sandle, who is from Los Angeles and prepped at Crenshaw HS, has joined the UCLA staff with the departure of Bruin assistant Steve Spencer, who on Friday was named the new men's head basketball coach at Orange Coast College.

During his five years on Ben Howland's staff at Pittsburgh (1999-01) and Northern Arizona (1996-99), Sandle (pronounced sand-al) was responsible for the Panthers' defense, scouting, conditioning and player development, on-campus recruiting and academic progress. He has 16 years of coaching experience at the high school, junior college and major college levels, including Div. I experience at Pitt (1999-2001), Northern Arizona (1996-99), Fresno State (1991-92) and Saint Mary's College, CA (1990-91).

'I know Pat is very excited to be coming back to his hometown ofLos Angeles,' said UCLA head coach Steve Lavin. 'He brings to us experience from all levels of coaching, including seven years in Div. I. For the past five seasons, he's worked for one of the nation's bright young coaches in Ben Howland. Pat has helped prepare winning programs in tough conferences like the Big East and the WAC. He's a great addition to our staff.'

Sandle, 37, is from Los Angeles and played at Crenshaw HS under legendary prep coach Willie West. As a 6-1 senior starting guard in 1980, he helped lead Crenshaw to the City Championship. Following high school, Sandle was a standout performer at Cuesta Junior College (1980-82, earning All-California and All-North Coast Conference honors) and San Francisco State (1982-84, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1986 and is a member of the school's Hall of Fame). He began his coaching career at Cuesta College in 1986-87.

'I feel like I'm going from one family to another,' Sandle said. 'For the last five years (at Pittsburgh and Northern Arizona), Coach Howland has been my teacher and mentor. Now I'm coming home to my family in Los Angeles. I want to thank Coach Lavin for this opportunity. I'm really looking forward to working with Steve (Lavin), Jim (Saia) and Gerald (Madkins), the faculty and the staff at UCLA. I grew up watching Marques (Johnson) and the rest of the Bruins under Coach (John) Wooden. Coming home and being at UCLA is a tremendous thrill for me.'

Sandle is UCLA's second new assistant. Last month, former Bruin guard standout Gerald Madkins, who as a senior in 1992 helped lead UCLA to the NCAA 'Elite Eight', was hired to replace Michael Holton. In April, Holton, who was on the Bruin staff for five seasons and a UCLA standout guard from 1980-83, was named the new men's head basketball coach at the University of Portland. Sandle and Madkins join Bruin veteran assistant Jim Saia, entering his sixth season, to complete Lavin's staff for the 2001-02 campaign.

Spencer Named New Men's Head Coach at Orange Coast CollegeSpencer, 41, was selected for the position by a hiring committee at OCC. He is also slated to teach physical education at the college.

'My five years at UCLA have been an incredible experience,' Spencer said. 'I greatly appreciate the opportunity that Coach Lavin gave me when he brought me to UCLA. I've learned a lot from him, Coach (Jim) Saia and Coach (Michael) Holton. I was looking forward to working with Coach (Gerald) Madkins. Coach (Patrick) Sandle is the best. No one in the country is better suited for the job.

'I will miss the players,' he said. ' They were all fantastic to work with and they taught me so much - all of which will make me a better coach in the future. I want to thank Peter Dalis and the great administrative and support staff at UCLA. Everyone is fun to work with and an expert in their field. I will miss UCLA.

'I am very honored to be selected for this job,' Spencer said. 'I'm excited to meet the players and I look forward to working with the other coaches. I'm excited to become a part of the team at Orange Coast College. The college has a great reputation academically and athletically.'

During his five years (1997-2001) on the Bruin staff, Spencer helped lead UCLA to four NCAA 'Sweet 16s' and the 1997 Pacific-10 title. He served as the coaching director for UCLA's basketball camps and has earned a reputation as one of the top individual developmental coaches in the nation.

'I'm very happy for Steve and this opportunity,' said Lavin. 'His work-ethic and valuable insight has been a major factor during our past five years of success. His southern California coaching background makes him a natural choice and a great fit at Orange Coast College. It's rewarding to see Steve and Michael recognized for their abilities and given opportunities to run their own programs.'

Before coming to UCLA, Spencer coached professional basketball in Australia and from 1989-94, he was an assistant at Cal Lutheran, where he earned his Masters in counseling and guidance in 1993. As a player, Spencer was a standout guard at Sonoma State (1983-84, where he earned his undergraduate degree in 1985), College of Marin (1979-81) and Sir Frances Drake HS in San Anselmo (1976-78).

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