Jim Bush was a highly successful coach at Occidental College (1962-65) and at UCLA (1965-84). During his brief tenure at Occidental, Bush-coached teams included five national champions and one Olympian, and school records were set at all events from the 100m to the mile. UCLA’s teams won five national titles and seven Pac-10 titles under Bush and sent over 20 athletes to the Olympics.
As a collegiate athlete at the University of California, Bush competed in the high hurdles and the 400 yard dash. He began his collegiate coaching career in 1960 at Fullerton Junior College before taking over the head coaching reins at Occidental in 1962.
In 1965, Bush accepted the challenge of the head coaching position at UCLA. At that time, UCLA had never beaten national powerhouse USC in dual meet competition. In only his second year as head coach, Bush accomplished that feat by handing the Trojans only their third dual meet defeat in school history. From 1965-84, Bush produced a 152-21 dual meet record that led to two USTCA Coach of the Year honors.
Benny Brown, an Olympic Gold Medalist in the 1,600m relay in 1976; Wayne Collett, a Silver Medalist at the 1972 Olympics; Greg Foster, a three-time NCAA champion and Silver Medalist at the 1984 Olympics in the 110m hurdles; and Dwight Stones, Olympic Bronze Medalist in 1976, are just a few of the talented athletes that Bush coached.
Bush’s achievements go beyond NCAA titles. He also owns a Super Bowl ring and World Series ring as a result of his success working with professional athletes. In 1982, the Oakland Raiders hired Bush to work with their number one draft pick, Marcus Allen. After Allen won Rookie of the Year honors, Bush continued to work with the Raiders as a conditioning coach until 1988. As a member of the Raiders staff, Bush earned a Super Bowl ring when the Raiders won the 1984 title. Bush, who also worked with the Dodgers, earned a World Series ring in 1988 when the LA team won the pennant. Bush also worked with the NBA’s Lakers and Kings in the 1970s.
In 1989, Bush returned to collegiate coaching as an assistant coach at UCLA’s archrival, USC. Although he never beat UCLA in a dual meet, Bush helped rebuild the USC program and coached Quincy Watts to a 1992 Olympic Gold Medal. Bush retired from USC in 1994.
Bush was the head U.S. track coach at the 1979 Pan American Games. He is a member of the USATF, Tiger Track Alumni (Occidental), Mt. SAC Relays, and UCLA Athletics Halls of Fame, and he served as President of the track coaches association from 1972-73.
Bush passed away on July 10, 2017 at the age of 90.