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Byline: Brian Dohn

Staff Writer

Ten years before the Internet was invented, long before e-mail was the preferred way to communicate, Bernard Quarles received hate mail the old-fashioned way.

It came via letters to his home, and to UCLA's athletic department.

The subject was black and white -- literally.

Twenty-eight years ago today, Quarles made the second of two career starts at UCLA UCLA University of California at Los Angeles
UCLA University Center for Learning Assistance (Illinois State University)
UCLA University of Carrollton, TX and Lower Addison, TX
. And until Osaar Rasshan stands under center and takes the Bruins' first offensive snap a few minutes beyond 12:30 p.m. today at the Rose Bowl, Quarles will be known as the last African-American to start at quarterback at a school that produced Jackie Robinson Noun 1. Jackie Robinson - United States baseball player; first Black to play in the major leagues (1919-1972)
Jack Roosevelt Robinson, Robinson
, Kenny Washington There are several notable persons named Kenny Washington, including:
  • Kenny Washington: an American football player
  • Kenny Washington: a jazz musician
  • Kanuri Qawi, whose birth name was Kenny Washington
 and Arthur Ashe Noun 1. Arthur Ashe - United States tennis player who was the first Black to win United States and English singles championships (1943-1993)
Arthur Robert Ashe, Ashe

"Very surprised, and disturbed by it, and very disappointed," Quarles said. "It's discouraging. I thought it should have happened a long time ago, considering there is a lot of talent in the African-American community that plays that position.

"I'm very surprised."

Another link between Quarles and Rasshan is UCLA's opponent -- Arizona State. But while Rasshan faces a defense for the ninth-ranked team in the nation focused on limiting his running ability and making him throw the ball, which is not a strength, Quarles went against more than a few tough defenses.

"Back then, people were sending me a lot of hate mail," Quarles said. "They threatened me. They threatened my family. They said if I step on the field they were going to kill me. There were a lot of racial slurs. They tried to convince me not to play."

Quarles' first action came twogames prior the Arizona State game in 1979. He relieved injured Rick Bayshore and led the Bruins to a 28-27 victory over California. A week later, Oct. 27, he was the first African-American to start for UCLA since Bill Bolden in 1968, but the Bruins lost to Washington 34-14.

When Quarles struggled against the Sun Devils
  • Arizona State Sun Devils
  • Sun Devils, a DC Comics maxi-series
, coach Terry Donahue Terry Donahue (born June 24, 1944 in Los Angeles, California) is a former college football coach and NFL general manager, and a current football analyst. Player
Terry graduated from Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, California. Donahue played defensive line at UCLA.
 sent Tom Ramsey Tom Ramsey (born July 9, 1961 in Encino, California) was a former professional American football quarterback, who played four seasons in the NFL for the New England Patriots. Earlier he played for the Los Angeles Express of the USFL.  in as a replacement. Quarles never got his job back, finished the season 15 of 32 for 186 yards with three interceptions and one touchdown, and transferred to Hawaii because he didn't think Donahue would "give me a chance to play" in 1980.

Rasshan, of course, would not be in this position if not for circumstances and desperation.

When the season began, his quarterbacking career appeared over. After two seasons at UCLA, and much deliberation with his family, he switched to receiver in the summer, but injuries to Ben Olson For the American soccer player, see .

Benjamen James Olson (born February 23, 1983 in Thousand Oaks, California) is a redshirt junior quarterback for the 2006 UCLA Bruins football team.
 and Patrick Cowan Patrick Edmund Cowan (born March 23, 1986 in Surrey, British Columbia) was the starting quarterback for the UCLA Bruins football team after starter Ben Olson was injured in the middle of the 2006 season. Cowan is a redshirt sophomore.  and a meltdown by walk-on backup McLeod Bethel-Thompson against Notre Dame Notre Dame IPA: [nɔtʁ dam] is French for Our Lady, referring to the Virgin Mary. In the United States of America, Notre Dame  thrust Rasshan into the position he coveted cov·et  
v. cov·et·ed, cov·et·ing, cov·ets
1. To feel blameworthy desire for (that which is another's). See Synonyms at envy.

2. To wish for longingly. See Synonyms at desire.

His first action came last week in a loss to Arizona, after Cowan was injured early in the third quarter. He was 3 of 10 for 78 yards passing, but his running (eight attempts, 57 yards) sparked what was a dismal offense as the Bruins scored 13second-half points in a 34-27loss.

When Rasshan moved to receiver, the biggest reservation his father, Khalif kha·lif  
Variant of caliph.

Noun 1. khalif - the civil and religious leader of a Muslim state considered to be a representative of Allah on earth; "many radical Muslims believe a Khalifah will unite all Islamic lands and
, had was how the move would be perceived. Rasshan said he figured out the impact weeks after UCLA finished a summer throwing session against WestL.A. College.

"As we're shaking hands with them, a guy walks by me and says, 'Hey, switch back to quarterback,'" Rasshan said. "It kind of took me by surprise because I didn't know what he meant. I thought about it for a couple of weeks, and I knew what he meant. I think he was saying it for a lot of African-American quarterbacks out there.

"Me switching, it's a ripple effect ripple effect Epidemiology See Signal event. , and it would make a difference if I played here or not. I believe it can open up a lot of doors for other up-and-coming, athletic African-American quarterbacks that are trying to make it."

Now, Rasshan eagerly grabs the baton Quarles held for nearly three decades, and teammates are rallying around the cause.

According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.

2. In keeping with: according to instructions.

 UCLA, Bert Emanuel, who is African-American, played quarterback at the school in 1991 before transferring to Rice, but did not attempt a pass nor earn a varsity letter.

"If you think about it, this is UCLA history," said Bruins senior defensive end Bruce Davis, whose father, also named Bruce, was a teammate of Quarles' at UCLA in 1978. "Osaar and I have become pretty close, especially last year and the beginning of this year when they were switching him back and forth. He came up to me and said, 'This is pretty hard for me because it's always been my dream to play quarterback at UCLA."'

Karl Dorrell, the first African-American football head coach at UCLA, downplayed any social ramifications ramifications nplAuswirkungen pl  of Rasshan's start.

"No real significance for me," Dorrell said. "I know it has been a while. When we recruited him, we fully anticipated him playing quarterback. That's the reason we recruited him in the first place, and there was going to be a time where he would be on the field, so we're just at that point. He's on the field. It is his time."

Quarles, who grew up in LosAngeles and is owner and president of Quantum Branch Security Services, Inc., in L.A., disagrees with Dorrell's sentiment. He said he doesn't pay close attention to UCLA, but will today, with a keen eye on Rasshan.

"I think it's a step in the right direction," Quarles said. "I think it's a good sign and I wish him all the luck in the world."


vs. Arizona ST.,

12:30 p.m., Rose Bowl,

Ch. 7, 570-AM.


2 photos


(1 -- color) Converted receiver Osaar Rasshan has completed 3 of 10 passes for 78 yards in three games at quarterback this season.

Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

(2) Bernard Quarles started two games at quarterback for UCLA in 1979, but later transferred to Hawaii.

Photo courtesy of UCLA/
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Sports
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Nov 10, 2007

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