SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara Athletics is proud to announce that former men's basketball coach Jerry Pimm and former women's basketball star Erin Alexander will have their banners added to the walls of the Thunderdome as Legends of the 'Dome in ceremonies during the 2011-12 basketball season.
"These are two more great additions to a very select group of individuals who made the Thunderdome the legendary venue it is," said UCSB Director of Athletics Mark W. Massari at the Gauchos Downtown Basketball Huddle on Thursday. "What Erin and Jerry did for their respective programs helped lift them to this status. They are tremendously deserving."
Pimm, who guided the Gauchos for 15 seasons, is the school's all-time leader in coaching victories with 222. He took a program that had a streak of 10 consecutive losing seasons and turned it into a top-25 team.
"This is a tremendous honor," Pimm said at the Downtown Huddle on Thursday. "I accept it for all of the players who helped make our teams what they were."
Pimm's UCSB teams advanced to five postseason tournaments and had five 20-win seasons. In 1990, the Gauchos not only earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament, but advanced to the second round. In 1988-89, UCSB set a school record by opening the season with an 11-game winning streak.
Pimm's teams also made a habit of beating nationally-ranked opponents. The first time UCSB did so was in December of 1987 when it thrashed ninth-ranked North Carolina State 96-78. Most notably, were several wins over powerful UNLV, including a 78-70 win in February of 1990 that was the top-ranked Rebels last loss before they went on to win the NCAA Championship that same season.
Fittingly, the ceremony to honor Pimm will be on November 30 when the Gauchos host UNLV at the Thunderdome.
Alexander, who is now married and goes by the last name Brown, played at UCSB from 1993-97. At the time of her graduation, she was UCSB's all-time leading scorer with 1,588 points. She still ranks fifth in school history in points and first in three-point baskets for a career, season and game. The 40 points that Alexander scored in a 1996 win over USC also remains a school record.
A three-time All-Big West choice, the Santa Ynez, Calif., native was named Big West Player of the Year as a senior, a year when she propelled the Gauchos into the NCAA Tournament.
Alexander will be honored in ceremonies at halftime of UCSB's February 4 game at the Thunderdome against Cal Poly.
Both Pimm and Alexander are also members of UCSB's Intercollegiate Athletics Hall of Fame.
Along with the banners to honor the legends, Massari also announced the progress in upgrades to the Thunderdome, planned and completed, in an effort to enhance the student-athlete welfare and experience as well as improvements, for students and fans, to the storied venue.
As part of The Thunderdome Plan, improvements to the facility include a new sound system (2010), new lighting (2011), remodeled Founders, hospitality and team room (2010), media and film room (2010), athletic training room and hallway, (2011) and exterior painting (2011). A remodel of both the men's and women's basketball locker rooms will be completed following the 2011-12 season. In all, more than $1 million in upgrades have been made possible due to private donations raised by athletics along with student funds supporting the Thunderdome. Future plans between the campus partners include enhancements to concourse and entrances which will include upgrades to concession areas.
"It's a step-by-step approach with our campus partners and generous donors to not only echo the great moments the Thunderdome has seen, but to keep pace in vital recruiting battles we are now waging after playing in the NCAA Tournament the last two years," Massari said. "The Thunderdome is at the heart of our success and at the heart of a campus striving to be great. The students and the community who support the University deserve this phased-in effort of improvements and we will work tirelessly to make it better each year."
The 2011-12 season tips-off for both Gaucho teams next week. On Tuesday, Nov. 1 the women's team hosts Vanguard University in a 7:00 p.m. exhibition game at the Thunderdome. The regular season will begin on Nov. 11 with a road game at Seattle University. The UCSB men's team will host San Francisco State in a 7:00 p.m. exhibition at the Thunderdome. Their regular season opens on Friday, Nov. 11 against Chapman.
UCSB Athletics is pleased to announce a special mini-plan to catch men's basketball at the Thunderdome this season. Along with all the key conference matchups the "Big West + 1" mini-plan includes the choice of either UNLV (Nov. 30) or last year's Sweet-Sixteen darling San Diego State (Nov. 26).
Season tickets for both teams as well as the Big West + 1 Plan for the men are now available. For information or to purchase tickets, please call 805-893-UCSB (8272), visit the Ticket Office in the ICA Building on campus or by clicking here.
Also, the UCSB ICA Ticket Office is conveniently open on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and there are two handy ticket office-designated parking spots located between Robertson Gym and the ICA Building.