With the backdrop of our dazzling redesigned website, I would like to again welcome our newest head coaches to the Gaucho family, Carlene Mitchell (women’s basketball) and Andrew Checketts (baseball). They will lead exceptional young men and women here at UCSB and are the kind of role models every university strives to obtain. There is an enormous buzz around campus and the area surrounding both Carlene and Andrew.
One of my favorite elements in the new site is the “Our Stories” series. Over the next few months, you will have the opportunity to watch and read about the amazing stories that have made UCSB so special. Our first installment -- “The Original Gaucho Heart” -- is very touching and I encourage you to watch. Great job Larissa White and her Gaucho Vision team.
Today, I want to share some news on the budget and our annual giving progress for 2010-11. The budget crisis in California and in particular, our UC system, has been well publicized. The campus has to collectively tighten its belt once again, including athletics. However, because of the record year in number of gifts and donors to support all 20 of our programs, the Gauchos have had tremendous success this past year. In short, we are thriving!
With the help of over 850 annual donors to the Gaucho Fund, generously giving approximately $900,000 (again, an all-time high) we have been able to eliminate not one student-athlete opportunity or cut one scholarship dollar. We are 20 strong programs on a journey of offering an educational opportunity to over 400 driven student-athletes.
And it’s all because of you. By financially supporting the Gauchos you are the spark that provides this opportunity to them at this incredible university. Today every young woman and man who dons the Gaucho blue and gold are on a mission to win in every phase of their lives. And that’s why they dare to be great. Because of you.
Here are some year-end highlights –
- We are now graduating an all time high 85% of every scholarship athlete, second most of all UC’s.
- We successfully held (in 80 degree perfect Santa Barbara fashion) the NCAA College Cup and improved, with the help of over 50 donors, a venue that is at the heart of so much enjoyment for the campus in Harder Stadium.
- We dedicated over 3,000 hours in community service through our Gauchos Give outreach program and provided over 4,500 free tickets to non-profits and local groups. We take the positive effect we have on our community, in particular youth, very seriously. It’s a passion for our student-athletes.
- Speaking of capital improvements, due to wonderful back-to-back men’s hoops runs to the NCAA tournament and the energy of our donors, development office and coaches we have successfully raised the funds necessary to start our locker-room overhaul for men’s and women’s basketball in the Thunderdome. It’s the first step of several key improvements to the TDome we have with our campus partners we are calling the “The Thunderdome Plan”.
- With the Coach Andrew Checketts hiring we unveiled the renderings and plan for Gaucho Park at Caesar Uyseska Stadium. A future place the campus and community will enjoy baseball day and night.
- We won more Big West Conference titles across several sports and played for the big title when our men’s volleyball guys went on a ride to remember, twice rocking USC in less than five days, finally battling Ohio State on ESPN for the National Championship. What a run.
- We launched story-packed DARE magazine, which every donor receives free. The next issue is due out in August. Sign up and receive a free copy or give to the Gaucho Fund at any level and you’re on the mailing list.
Moving forward, please be sure to jump on board our soccer push to create 2,000 season ticket holders (2K Strong). We already own NCAA records for attendance, both average and single game, but I’m with Coach Tim Vom Steeg who wants to create a fan-base no one can ever catch. This year defending champ Akron returns to Meredith Field along with Cal Poly, West Virginia and other Big West foes. You’ll fall in love with our brand of soccer and its affordable and value-packed pricing highlighted by the family plan at only $2.91 per ticket (which includes free kids tees and themed soccer scarf)!
We are also expanding our reach by creating a mini-plan for soccer fans in the Santa Maria/Santa Ynez Valley and Ventura County called the “V-Pack”. If you know of UCSB or soccer fans in general in those two areas, please let them know about the “V-Pack” offer. Gaucho soccer in what is truly “Soccer Heaven” is always affordable, great entertainment and the UCSB Athletics Ticket Office can easily get you on board at (805) 893-UCSB or online.
Thank you for supporting the Gauchos and have a great summer.
Mark W. Massari
Director of Intercollegiate Athletics