UCLA fundraiser offers personal glimpse of Wooden


A Newport Beach family is offering local UCLA supporters a chance to learn more about late legendary basketball coach John Wooden this weekend at an intimate fundraiser with Wooden’s daughter and some of his former athletes.

Last year, Roger and Lynn Tomalas attended an event in Los Angeles County where Wooden’s daughter, Nan, and two of his former athletes shared their memories of one of the most successful college basketball coaches in history. They decided to bring that personal touch to Newport on Sunday.

“I think they’re going to get a more personal perspective of John Wooden, including his relationship with his wife,” Roger Tomalas said. “It was a very inspirational love affair. Those close to the UCLA basketball program knew. Not until after he died [last year] and she died did many know how close they were. And that’s what I got out of it, a little more personal information about the man and his sense of humor and things like that.”

Two of Wooden’s former athletes, 1960 Olympic decathlon gold medalist Rafer Johnson and former UCLA All-American Keith Erickson will discuss their relationship with the 10-time national championship winner.

The event is small, for only about 20 guests to raise $10,000 for the UCLA women’s gymnastics team to have its own locker room. Tickets are $500 and a few are still available.

To attend, call Roger Tomalas at (949) 673-5604. Once confirmed for a seat, an address will be provided. Dinner and cocktails are included. The fundraiser begins at 4:30 p.m.

Twitter: @JosephSerna