Nearly two dozen former UCLA quarterbacks to gather with one charitable purpose

A group of former UCLA quarterbacks at a luncheon table.
Sixteen former UCLA quarterbacks gathered to honor former Bruins coach Terry Donahue at a luncheon in 2018. That event inspired an upcoming charity fundraiser April 15 that will feature 22 former UCLA quarterbacks.
(Courtesy of Larry Stewart)

Gary Beban is the only Heisman Trophy winner in UCLA history. Troy Aikman is the school’s only quarterback to win three Super Bowls. Cade McNown is the only one to go 4-0 against USC.

Who was the greatest quarterback during his time as a Bruin? You just might get to ask them yourself.

The UCLA legends are among 22 of the school’s quarterbacks scheduled to attend a charity fundraiser April 15 at the Luskin Center benefiting UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital.


What’s believed to be the largest gathering of former quarterbacks on campus will include walk-ons and Hall of Famers, some having thrown only a handful of passes and others having led the Bruins to Rose Bowl victories.

“This is completely inclusive,” said Patrick Cowan, the event’s primary organizer as well as the orchestrator of UCLA’s 13-9 upset of No. 2 USC in 2006. “It doesn’t matter if you’re a starter, won a Rose Bowl, won a Heisman, took a couple snaps — we collectively shared something together on campus at one particular point and time. This is a Bruin family forever, it isn’t just the couple of years you play.”

UCLA radio broadcaster Josh Lewin, who will serve as emcee of “An Evening with the UCLA Quarterback Club,” should have his pick of inspirational stories beyond panelists Beban and Aikman. Rick Neuheisel went from walk-on to Rose Bowl champion. John Barnes went from watching the USC rivalry game in the stands one year to leading the Bruins to a 38-37 victory over the Trojans the next, a star turn that helped land him a cameo role as the Alabama quarterback in “Forrest Gump.”

Follow along as voice of UCLA Josh Lewin explains why he pushed to cover a basketball game in Vegas and football game in Pasadena on the same day.

Dec. 2, 2021

The quarterbacks are expected to attend UCLA’s spring practice earlier in the day, giving coach Chip Kelly some extra options in case he doesn’t like what he sees from five-star freshman Dante Moore, highly rated transfer Collin Schlee and incumbents Ethan Garbers and Justyn Martin.

The idea for the fundraiser was hatched after a 2018 luncheon at a Long Beach restaurant honoring former coach Terry Donahue. Beban, who was among the 16 quarterbacks to show up that day, suggested to Cowan that the group use its platform for something more meaningful than just catching up with one another.

The quarterbacks championed a special-needs fund of UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital that allocates money for unexpected expenses such as the transportation of severely immunocompromised children and the hiring of staff to meet specialized patient demand.


Hopefully, this is just the start of what we can collectively do to bring good to others.

— Former UCLA quarterback Patrick Cowan

“I consider it a privilege to convert my time playing a game to bring value to such an important UCLA faculty and to individuals who deserve all the support we can muster,” Beban said.

The goal is to raise $250,000 through sponsorships, donations, ticket sales and a silent auction. Jerseys bearing the signatures of quarterbacks who played in each decade from the 1960s to the 2020s will be auctioned in addition to autographed helmets and footballs. The event will start with a cocktail reception at 5 p.m. followed by dinner and a panel discussion.

The quarterbacks intend to connect not only with each other but also with fans who have adored them for years, if not decades. Cowan said one fan told him he met his wife the night of UCLA’s epic upset of USC in 2006, and another said the victory allowed him to hold his head up high around Trojan family members that Christmas.

UCLA five-star quarterback prospect Dante Moore talks with The Times before the All-American Bowl on Saturday in San Antonio.

Jan. 7, 2023

“I think the legend of it grows more and more,” Cowan said. “When you play, you’re just playing for your buddies, you don’t understand the greater aspect of it and how that game can touch so many people and you get a better understanding of what that means as the years go on, so it’s special.”

If all goes well, a similar fundraiser will be staged every other year.

“Hopefully,” Cowan said, “this is just the start of what we can collectively do to bring good to others.”


Tickets are $1,250 each and table sponsorships are available for $10,000 and $25,000. For more information, go to or call (310) 569-9657.