|Position:||Director of Intercollegiate Athletics|
Chancellor Henry T. Yang appointed Mark Massari UC Santa Barbara's 13th Director of Athletics on August 18, 2008. Massari succeeded Dr. Gary Cunningham, who retired after leading the department to unprecedented success in competition and the classroom for 13 years.
Bringing a strong background in external marketing to the Gauchos, Massari launched the "Dare to Be Great" initiative to showcase UCSB's exceptional academics and service through its athletics programs. The strategic plan solidified traditions with a letter winners program, created a first-ever annual giving effort, addressed facility improvements and strengthened student-athlete support and academic success.
In his first year, Massari established the Gaucho Fund, highlighted by a distinctive Living Scholar level of giving to increase annual support for all 20 athletics programs and 500 student-athletes. The major piece to UCSB Athletics' growth and success has been through the outreach to donors to assist in facility improvements and enhancements.
Massari introduced a comprehensive capital projects plan - The Walk of Champions plan - resulting in the Curtice Gate plaza at the entrance of Harder Stadium, honoring legendary football coach "Cactus" Jack Curtice, a new field and video board for Harder, renovated men's and women's basketball locker rooms, future Gaucho Park plaza entrance for baseball's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, and a major gift establishing the Jim and Cheryl Barber Academic & Student Success wing of the Intercollegiate Athletics Building. Recently, he led the department in collaboration with campus for a successful student referendum to provide over $10 million in improvements and maintenance funds for athletics and recreation venues, highlighted by a renovation of Pauley Track.
In attendance, men’s basketball has enjoyed its first sellouts at the Thunderdome in more than 10 years after the first back-to-back NCAA appearances in program history. Since his arrival, men’s soccer has led the nation in attendance each year and owns the record for the most fans ever to watch an NCAA soccer match on campus and the top-five most highly attended games of all-time.
The university also hosted its first NCAA Championship in 35 years when the 2010 NCAA Men's Soccer College Cup was held at Harder Stadium.
Massari has made several promising coaching hires, including women's basketball head coach Carlene Mitchell - a longtime assistant to Hall of Famer C. Vivian Stringer at Rutgers - who led the renowned Gaucho program to its 14th NCAA appearance in her first season; baseball's Andrew Checketts, who won the most games by a first year coach in program history; former University of Miami (Fla.) head coach and ACC Coach of the Year Nicole Lantagne Welch to lead the Gauchos storied women's volleyball program and women's tennis' Simon Thibodeau from Fresno State who took the Bulldogs to five Sweet Sixteen's in seven NCAA appearances. In his first season, Thibodeau led the Gauchos to their highest national ranking in 20 years.
Massari installed a department-wide commitment to outreach and diversity allowing the Gauchos to collectively give 5,000 hours in community service each year and actively promote the celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Black History Months each September and February respectively.
The Gauchos have soared even higher academically, reaching an all-time high 85% NCAA graduation success rate, second highest within the prestigious U.C. system. UCSB is one of only 62 members of the distinguished Association of American Universities.
In competition, the Gauchos have won more Big West Commissioners Cups (for best all-around athletics program) in the conference’s history than all other eight schools combined.
Massari is a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA), serves on the NCAA Division I-AAA Executive Committee and the Big West Conference Executive Council and Athletic Directors Committee for Television & Marketing.
He previously served as Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs at Oregon State University. During his seven years in Corvallis, the Beavers successfully completed $115 million in capital projects, played in six football bowl games and won back-to-back baseball national championships.
Prior to working with the Pac-12 school, the native of Napa, Calif. spent three years leading broadcast sales and affiliates for the San Francisco 49ers and its rights holder, KGO. He is credited with building one of the largest affiliate networks in the league and launching the team's first-ever Spanish language broadcasts.
Mark spent five years with the University of Miami (Fla.) directing sports marketing and sales for the Hurricanes. He began his career at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, Calif.
Massari earned a bachelor's degree in history from Sacramento State and a master's in business and sports leadership from Duquesne University (Pittsburgh, Penn.). As an undergraduate at Sac State, he was a football letter winner for the Hornets.
Mark, 44, and his wife Kimberly, have a daughter Madeline (9), son Joseph (7) and yellow lab named Hobbs.