If you’re a UCLA Baby Boomer alum or fan, you’ll remember Tommy Prothro.
At a time in the 1960s when the Westwood campus was agog over John Wooden’s basketball greats, football took a back seat to the hoops.
And then along came Tommy Prothro.
The late Prothro, who coached UCLA to its first Rose Bowl victory, was among two former players and a sports columnist inducted into the Rose Bowl Hall of Fame Sunday.
The other inductees were former USC running back Ricky Ervins, former Minnesota defensive lineman Bobby Bell and sports columnist Art Spander.
The ceremony and luncheon was held in a tent in the Rose Bowl Stadium’s parking lot.
Former UCLA coach Terry Donahue, a defensive tackle on the Bruins team that upset top-ranked Michigan State in the 1966 Rose Bowl Game for the school’s first victory in college football’s oldest bowl game, spoke on behalf of Prothro, who died in 1995 at the age of 74.
Prothro also coached Oregon State in the 1957 and 1965 Rose Bowl Games and was Duke’s quarterback in the 1942 Rose Bowl Game, which was shifted to Durham, North Carolina following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
Ervins was the MVP of the 1990 Rose Bowl Game, running for 126 yards and a touchdown on 30 carries in the Trojans 17-10 victory over Michigan. Ervins also played in the 1988 and 1989 Rose Bowl Games.
Bell anchored the Golden Gophers defense that limited UCLA to 107 yards in Minnesota’s 21-3 victory in the 1962 Rose Bowl Game, its only Rose Bowl Game victory and most recent appearance.
Bell also played for Minnesota in its 17-7 loss to Washington 1961 Rose Bowl Game.
Spander has attended 63 consecutive Rose Bowl Games and covered the last 53. The Dorsey High School and UCLA alumnus started his career in United Press International’s Los Angeles bureau in 1960.
Spander began covering sports full time in 1963 for the Santa Monica- based Evening Outlook as the beat writer for the Los Angeles Rams and Los Angeles Dodgers.
Spander joined the San Francisco Chronicle in 1965, covering golf, football, baseball and basketball. He became the lead sports columnist for the San Francisco Examiner in 1979.
The Rose Bowl Hall of Fame was established in 1989 to honor individuals connected with the game. This year’s class increases its membership to 121.
–City News Service and staff
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