Jack Mullen Scores with Basketball Courts at UCSF

Published on November 24, 2015


Jack Mullen, charter member of Bakar Fitness & Recreation Center at UCSF Mission Bay, joined the facility before construction was complete.

It so happened when UCSF was building the Mission Bay facility, Mullen was in the market for a new gym. “I had been a member at the Oakland Athletic Center when I worked at the Oakland Tribune but they closed that facility. I received a flyer in the mail from UCSF regarding the new gym they were building, and they were offering reduced rates.”

When Mullen visited Bakar Fitness Center, he was hooked. “It was a dream come true. I joined right away. I know I was one of the first members, and I’ve been here ever since. They didn’t even have finished locker rooms when I first joined.”

Mullen can usually be found playing basketball at the gym four or five times a week. “The courts are in perfect condition,” he said. “There are all different age groups and skill levels, and nobody seems to care if you are a first-time player or ex-NBA star.”

Ben O’Banion, Outdoor Programs and Recreational Sports Supervisor, said Mullen pops into Bakar Fitness Center just about every afternoon. “Always cheerful, Jack is up for a game of horse or a conversation about baseball. We are truly lucky to have him as a member at UCSF.”

Mullen grew up in Medford, Oregon, and played basketball from fifth grade through high school. “I wasn’t good enough to play college basketball but I played in adult leagues and occasionally rubbed elbows with former college players.”

He moved to San Francisco in 1977 to start a business but now that he’s retired, he spends a lot of time at the gym. “I think it’s the best gym in the whole city, including Kezar Pavilion.”

Mullen is such a fixture on the courts that he’s been asked to play on the UCSF faculty team when they take on the students. “The fact that they consider me part of the faculty is a great honor.”

When he’s not shooting hoops, Mullen can be found working out with weights or on a cardio machine. “I really like the TVs in the gym. I can always find a ballgame or news channel to watch so boredom isn’t a problem.”

Mullen said playing basketball with younger players helps him forget how old he is. “The younger players really accept me and some of the other older players. I’ve forged a lot of friendships at the gym. The atmosphere on the courts is very cordial and there is a great mix of people. It’s an important part of my life.”