Overview of UCSB athletics
The nickname of UC Santa Barbara is the Gaucho, while the school colors are “Pacific Blue” (Pantone 286) and “Gaucho Gold” (130), with the occasional accent of “Navy Blue” (275).
In 2009, the athletics program under the leadership of new athletic director Mark Massari underwent a transformation, giving UC Santa Barbara a new brand and visual identity. As a result, UCSB athletic program rolled out a new logo, different colors, and unifying names. For athletic purposes, the school is now known as “UC Santa Barbara” or “UCSB” while the nickname for the sports programs are the “Gauchos”.
The main rivals of the Gauchos are Long Beach State and Cal Poly. New this year, the Blue-Green Rivalry series which calculates points between Cal Poly and UCSB to see who is the better sport school.
History of NCAA Division I sports
The UCSB Gauchos compete in the Big West Conference in the overwhelming majority of its sports offered. Only the men’s water polo and volleyball teams compete in an alternate conference, the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation.
Over the years, Gauchos sports teams have won 2 total NCAA National Championships, 1979 Men’s Water Polo and 2006 Men’s Soccer.
UC Santa Barbara currently fields a varsity team in 10 men’s sports and 10 women’s sports. They are:
Track and field
Track and field
Selected notable programs
Main article: UC Santa Barbara Gauchos men’s soccer
See also: UC Santa Barbara Gauchos men’s soccer professionals and UC Santa Barbara Gauchos men’s soccer seasons
2006 White House visit with George W. Bush.
In 2004, the men’s soccer team advanced to the College Cup (college soccer’s “Final Four”). UCSB routed Duke University Blue Devils in the semifinals 5-0, but lost in the championship match to Indiana Hoosiers on penalties.
In 2006, UCSB again advanced to the College Cup. In the semi-finals, the Gauchos and 2nd seed Wake Forest Demon Deacons played to a 0-0 tie; UCSB won the game on penalty kicks 4-3. In the championship game, UCSB faced the UCLA Bruins and won by a score of 2-1 to win their first NCAA Men’s Soccer title and the second overall NCAA championship (1979 Men’s Water Polo) in school history.
In conference play, the Gauchos have dominated Big West competition. They have won the Big West Championship in 5 of the last 7 years. Also, the Gauchos have had no less than 5 former players receive full international caps.
Both UCSB men’s and women’s basketball teams play at the UCSB Events Center, commonly known as the Thunderdome.
In 2005, the women’s basketball team won its unprecedented ninth straight Big West Conference Championship. The team had its best year in history during the 2004 season when it advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 where it lost to eventual champion University of Connecticut Huskies, led by Diana Taurasi. UCSB was the only team to hold UConn to less than a double digit victory in the NCAA playoffs.
The Gauchos men’s basketball team had its best years in the late ’80s and early ’90s under coach Jerry Pimm, highlighted by a 77-70 victory over #1 UNLV Runnin’ Rebels in 1990, and NCAA tournament appearances in 1988 (lost to Maryland) and 1990 (defeated Houston and lost to Michigan State). The Gauchos returned to the NCAA tournament in 2002 where they nearly upset powerhouse Arizona in the opening round. Over the years, a few of Pimm’s assistants at UCSB have gone on to coach other major programs across the country, including Ben Howland (1982-1994) of UCLA Bruins and Jamie Dixon of Pittsburgh Panthers.
The Gauchos men’s basketball team is enjoying great success again and this year are in first place in the conference and are looking to get back to the NCAA Tournament.
Some famous Gauchos basketball players are Brian Shaw, Carrick DeHart, Eric McArthur, Chris Devine, and Alex Harris.
Based out of Campus Pool on the UCSB campus, the swimming program has seen its fair share of success. For 32 seasons Gregg Wilson has been the head coach of the men’s and women’s swimming teams. Wilson has posted a dual meet record of 292-208-1 (172-115 with the men, 120-92-1 with the women). Even more impressive, his squads have collected 34 Big West Conference Championships, 24 by his men teams and 10 by his women teams. Before the Texas Longhorns men’s swim team broke it, the UCSB men’s swim team set the NCAA record for most consecutive conference titles in any sport with 23 straight Big West Conference championships from 1979-2001. The men teams have been ranked as high as 16th nationally and several of his swimmers over the years have advanced to the NCAA Championships. In fact, the men team has turned in 38 All-American performances under Wilson.
Notable alumni of the program include Olympic gold medalists Richard Schroeder, Jason Lezak (the current American record holder in the 100 meter freestyle), Sandy Neilson, Sophie Kamoun, former 50-meter freestyle world record holder Bruce Stahl (the first person to ever hold this world record), and Pat Cary.
Water Polo & Volleyball
UCSB won the 1979 National Championship in men’s water polo, defeating UCLA Bruins in the championship match by a score of 11-3. The men’s volleyball team has finished as the NCAA runner up 4 times, most recently in 1988. The women’s volleyball team plays at the UCSB Events Center, while the men’s team plays at Robertson Gymnasium.
Main article: UC Santa Barbara Gauchos club sports
Athletics at UCSB is not limited to the Intercollegiate Athletic Department. While there are 450 students-athletes in ICA, there are over 700 in Club (Recreational) sports teams including: Alpine Racing, Cycling, Fencing, Field Hockey, Lacrosse, Rugby, Sailing, Soccer, Triathlon, Ultimate, Water Ski, and Rowing. Many of these teams are highly regarded and compete against Intercollegiate teams from across the United States. For example, Rowing has produced several National Team members including nine-time US National Rowing Team member Amy Fuller, winner of several Olympic and World Championship medals who currently serves as the head coach of the UCLA Bruins rowing program.
Since 1998, UCSB athletics have received support from a booster club, the Gaucho Locos, founded by the UCSB student body. The Gaucho Locos were originally known as the Gauchoholics but changed its name due to negative connotations. The Gaucho Locos could be spotted at UCSB athletic events with their signature golden yellow t-shirts with a top ten list on their back, similar to the ones on Late Show with David Letterman.
The Locos are also accompanied by their famous mascot, “The Fantom of the Dome” – a man with black swim goggles and a black cape who usually wears denim shorts along with a golden yellow UCSB basketball jersey and a Gaucho loco t-shirt underneath. The current Fantom is a UCSB Alumni who graduated in 1995 who only manages to make a couple of games a year since he is no longer in school.
This year the school got a new mascot, Ole. Ole is a big mascot with a UCSB jersey, a zorre hat, and big shoes. He is a solid mascot and attends all the games. He has great dance moves.
The Jr Locos are another major supporter. It is a group of about 10-20 kids who attend most of the Mens Basketball Games. They are well known and are the best teenage fans in the country.
The Gaucho Pep Band
Like many organizations at UCSB, the Gaucho Pep Band is completely managed by students. As a volunteer organization, members (by definition) receive no financial or academic compensation for their service. The reward most members of the Gaucho Band find is in the acquisition of lasting friendships and a sense of camaraderie unlike that found anywhere else on campus or off. The pep band plays at all home men’s and women’s basketball games along with the occasional soccer games. The band participates in post-season travel with the basketball teams including the Big West Basketball Conference Championship, the NCAA March Madness, and the National Invitation Tournament. Being in the band is simple; all you really need to do is be able to play an instrument and be committed to the Gauchos.
Ol, Ol Ol Ol! Gauchos, Gauchos!
he unofficial fight song.
El “C” Grande
We are Sons of California,
Fighting for the Gold and Blue.
Palms of glory we will win,
For Alma Mater true.
Poly men will soon be routed
By our dazzling ,
Wel stomp m in the mud
Their green will turn to blood,
In our hour of victory!
U! C! Sss! B! U-C-S-B, Go Gauchos!
Joe Cannon, 2002 & 2004 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, current goalkeeper for the San Jose Earthquakes, and former member of the United States National Team.
Larry Dierker, 1969 & 1971 MLB All-Star pitcher and 1998 NL Manager of the Year for the Houston Astros.
Eric Fonoimoana, 2000 Olympic Games Gold Medalist in Beach Volleyball.
Rob Friend, soccer forward for Borussia Mnchengladbach of the German Bundesliga and the Canadian National Team.
Carin Jennings, 1991 FIFA Women’s World Cup and Golden Ball Winner, 1996 Olympic Games Gold Medalist in soccer; National Soccer Hall of Fame (Personal) and United States Olympic Hall of Fame (as 1996 Women’s Soccer team) inductee. UCSB’s only 4-time All American and the NCAA’s all-time leading scorer (men or women) with 102 career goals.
Jason Lezak, 4 time Olympic Gold Medalist and 7 time Olympic Medalist swimmer in the 2000, 2004, and 2008 Olympic Games.
Tony Lochhead, soccer left back for Wellington Phoenix FC of the Australian A-League and the New Zealand National Team.
Thiago Martins, soccer striker for FK Bod/Glimt of the Norwegian Tippeligaen.
Kevin McClatchy, co-owner of Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates franchise.
Todd Rogers, 2008 Olympic Games Gold Medalist in Beach Volleyball; 1997 AVP Rookie of the Year, 2004-2007 AVP Best Defensive Player, 2006 AVP MVP, 2007 AVP Champion.
Jim Rome, Sports radio talk show host and former Sports Director of KCSB, the college radio station located on the UCSB campus.
Brian Shaw, 3-time (2000, 2001, 2002) NBA Champion point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers and current assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Ryan Spilborghs, MLB center fielder for the Colorado Rockies.
Craig Wilson, U.S. Olympic Water Polo goalie Silver Medalist in the 1984 & 1988 Olympic Games and participant in the 1992 Games.
Michael Young, 5-time (2004-2008) MLB All-Star shortstop for the Texas Rangers and 2006 MLB All Star Game MVP.
^ “UCSB Unveils New Logos”. UC Santa Barbara Athletics. 19 August 2009. http://ucsbgauchos.cstv.com/genrel/081909aaa.html. Retrieved 21 September 2009.
^ “NATIONAL CHAMPIONS!!!”. UC Santa Barbara Athletics. 03 December 2006. http://ucsbgauchos.cstv.com/sports/m-soccer/recaps/120306aaa.html. Retrieved 21 September 2009.
^ “Gauchos Complete Amazing Run to Earn Program’s First NCAA National Championship, Defeat UCLA 2-1”. UC Santa Barbara Athletics. 03 December 2006. http://ucsbgauchos.cstv.com/sports/m-soccer/recaps/120306aab.html. Retrieved 21 September 2009.
^ “UCSB Athletics Teams With Bridges of Hope International to Make Lasting Difference in South Africa”. UC Santa Barbara Athletics. 21 September 2009. http://ucsbgauchos.cstv.com/genrel/092109aaa.html. Retrieved 21 September 2009.
Official UC Santa Barbara athletics website
Gaucho Locos supporters website
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Categories: UC Santa Barbara Gauchos | Multi-sport clubs