The 2011 season marks the 30th year of Head Coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UC Santa Barbara baseball program. With two years as a player, 10 as an assistant coach and now in his 18th season at the helm, Bob has been involved in 886 Gaucho victories, far more than anyone in UCSB baseball history. In fact, he has participated in over 60 percent of all UCSB victories in school history. Brontsema is the school's all-time wins leader, ranks third in overall career winning percentage and third in career conference winning percentage. He also holds the record for most Division I wins in school history. His 18 years as Gaucho head coach tie him for the longest tenure in UCSB baseball history, along with Dave Gorrie who was at UCSB for 18 seasons (1960-1977). Head Coach: The dean of Big West coaches, Coach Brontsema enters his 18th season as head coach in the prestigious Big West Conference. He currently ranks first in Big West career wins amongst active Big West coaches and number one in overall wins. In career conference wins, only five individuals throughout the history of the Big West surpass Brontsema. The Big West Conference is consistently ranked as one of the toughest baseball conferences in the country. Last season, a UCSB 11-6 victory over USF on March 28, gave Bob his 446th career victory, making him the winningest coach in school history. Milestone dates in his coaching career include April 27, 1997, marking his 100th career win with a 16-4 victory over the University of Pacific and April 7, 2001, that saw him earn career win number 200 with a 7-2 victory over UC Riverside. The 6-1 victory over San Jose State on Feb. 13, 2005 marked yet another milestone for Brontsema, career win number 300. Victory number 344, which pushed him past Dave Gorrie and into the No. 2 spot in career wins, came May 12, 2006 in an 8-6 win over Long Beach State. Finally, the skipper earned his 400th career victory over Cal Poly SLO on April 27, 2008 on a dramatic Brian Gump grand slam in the final inning. In just his third season as head coach, Brontsema piloted the 1996 team to a 32 win season, earning the Gauchos a trip to the NCAA Tournament regional in Palo Alto, Calif. A runner-up finisher in the Big West, that team boasted the likes of future big leaguers Justin Lehr (Cincinnati) and Michael Young (Texas). That year, Coach Brontsema was named Big West Coach of the Year for the first time, with five players being named All-Big West Selections. His 2001 squad proved to be one of the most accomplished groups in school history. The Gauchos put together 40 wins and finished just shy of the Big West title. This earned them a trip to South Bend, Ind. for another post season appearance. Their No. 2 seeding was the school's highest in post season history. The .702 winning percentage ranks third highest in school history. Ten Gauchos signed professional contracts following this stellar year, and Coach Brontsema was honored with his second Big West Coach of the Year Award. Under Brontsema, athletes turning professional, All-Conference selections and All-Americans have highlighted the rosters of Gaucho baseball. Following the 2009 season, UCSB equaled its record by having nine players drafted in the June amateur draft. In addition to the aforementioned Lehr and Young, pitchers Barry Zito (San Francisco), Virgil Vasquez (Detroit and Pittsburgh), infielder Skip Schumaker (St. Louis) and outfielder Ryan Spilborghs (Colorado) also have reached the big leagues. Young is a six-time American League All-Star selection, won the AL Batting Title in 2005 and was named the MVP of the 2006 All-Star Game. Young earned his first Gold Glove Award in 2008. Barry Zito quickly rose to all star prominence winning the American League Cy Young Award in 2001 in only his third season in the majors. Schumaker (2006), Spilborghs (2007) and Young (2010) have all participated in the World Series. Of the 73 athletes under Brontsema's tutelage selected into the professional ranks, only eight had been drafted before entering UCSB. Fifty-five of Brontsema's athletes have earned All-Big West honors. Ten of his Gauchos have been named All-Americans. In addition, three of his players were named All-Regional selections in 2001. Former shortstop Chris Valaika (Cincinnati) was a freshman All-American in 2004 and was also named Big West Freshman of the Year. The honors for the Gauchos do not end on the playing field. Brontsema's rosters consistently produce some of the highest graduation rates in the country. On a regular basis, the entire Gaucho Athletic Department yields higher graduation rates than the non-athlete UCSB student community. Two Gauchos, Brad Wright (1997) and Bryan LaCour (1998) have earned the prestigious NCAA Academic All-American Award. Brontsema is also currently serving as Chairman of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee.
Assistant Coach: Brontsema served as an assistant coach from 1984-1993. During this time, the Gauchos were honored with 54 All-Big West honorees and six All-Americans. Twenty eight Gauchos went on to the professional ranks. Bruce Eggloff (Cleveland), Erik Johnson (San Francisco), Mark Leonard (San Francisco), Joe Kmak (Milwaukee), Quinn Mack (Seattle), Eddie Pierce (Kansas City), and Brady Raggio (Arizona) went on to enjoy major league action. Three of these Gaucho squads saw NCAA post season play: 1986, 1987 and 1990. In 1987 and 1988, Brontsema served as head coach for the Santa Maria Indians semi-professional team. In those two years, the Indians compiled an 89-15 record, earning two trips to the National Baseball Congress World Series in Wichita, Kan. Under Bob's guidance were future major leaguers Dave Mlicki (Detroit, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers) and Tim Spehr (Kansas City). In the Alaskan League, Brontsema served as an assistant coach for the North Pole Nicks in 1985 and 1986. The 1985 squad played in the NBC Championship game. Nine Nicks went on to play in the show, including Luis Gonzalez (Los Angeles Dodgers), Todd Zeile (New York Mets), Mark Grace (Arizona) and Steve Finley (San Francisco). Student-Athlete: The Long Island, N.Y. native first arrived in Gaucho blue in 1982. In his second season, the Gauchos enjoyed the third highest win total in school history with a 44-22 record while winning the Southern California Baseball Association title. They continued on to a NCAA Regional berth in Palo Alto, Calif. finishing one win shy of Omaha, Neb. Bob was named to the West 1 All-Regional team. Brontsema was also named ALL-SCBA as a second baseman that year, while setting a then-school record for stolen bases with 45. As a junior college athlete, Brontsema enjoyed an outstanding career at the College of the Canyons, highlighted by being captain of the 1981 California State Junior College Champions. He was named All-Western State Conference while leading the state in stolen bases. He also lettered in track at COC as a long and high jumper, earning the Field MVP Award. His high school career spanned three sports at Chatsworth High. Recently, Bob and his 1981 teammates were inducted into the College of the Canyons Hall of fame. Personal: Brontsema is a graduate of UCSB with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Liberal Studies. He earned a Masters of Arts in Education from Azusa Pacific University. He and his wife Kathleen have two children, Kathryn (17) and John (14) and reside in Santa Barbara. Contact coach Brontsema at (805) 893-3690 or Bob.Brontsema@athletics.ucsb.edu.