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UCLA reacts to death of former player's father in Beijing

August 9, 2008 |  1:41 pm

Former UCLA volleyball player Elisabeth Bachman

The UCLA athletic community was stunned Saturday by news that the father of former Bruin volleyball player Elisabeth "Wiz" Bachman had been stabbed to death Friday while visiting a popular tourist spot in Beijing.

Todd Bachman of Lakeville, Minn., died after being attacked during a tour of the Drum Tower, about five miles from the main Olympic venues. His wife, Barbara, suffered what the U.S. Olympic Committee described as "serious and life-threatening injuries." Here is a link to The Times' story from reporters on the ground in Beijing.

Elisabeth Bachman, who played on the 2004 Athens Games volleyball team and lives in Irvine, is married to U.S. men's volleyball team coach Hugh McCutcheon. She was with her parents at the Beijing landmark but was not injured.

UCLA's sports information department Saturday afternoon released statements from two coaches who had coached Elisabeth Bachman.

Here is the statement from Bruin head women's volleyball coach Andy Banachowski:

I am shocked and saddened by the news of the attack on Wiz (Elisabeth) Bachman's parents, Todd and Barbara, in Bejiing. The only comfort is that Wiz was not injured in the heinous attack.

Todd and Barb have been two of the most supportive and friendly people (parents) that I have ever encountered. They have a genuine knack for making everyone welcome, and continued their support of UCLA volleyball even after Wiz graduated.

They love the sport and are beloved in the volleyball community.

We are all in a state of shock here at UCLA. My heart goes out to Wiz and her husband Hugh (McCutcheon, head coach of the men's Olympic volleyball team) and we will support them in any way possible.

Here is a statement from UCLA assistant women's volleyball coach Kim Jagd:

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Wiz (Elisabeth) and her husband Hugh (McCutcheon) in the wake of this tragedy.

Wiz has always been a dedicated athlete and teammate. Team has always come first to Wiz, just like family, and that is because of the qualities instilled in her by Todd and Barbara.

Wiz worked tremendously hard as an athlete to pursue and live her dream of being an Olympian, always with the support of her parents. Her character-driven lifestyle and her determination has earned her many friends and fans through her illustrious career.

The volleyball community is tight-knit and I am sure it will reach out and their thoughts and prayers will hopefully help Wiz deal with this senseless tragedy. Our thoughts are not only with the Bachman family, but with both of our Olympic teams who know Todd and Barbara well.

(Updated at 2:22 p.m.)

Here is a link to UCLA's Bruins in Beijing blog.

-- Greg Johnson

Photo: Former UCLA volleyball player Elisabeth Bachman, left, goes for the ball. Credit: UCLA