Joe Pasternack's first season as the head basketball coach at UC Santa Barbara was nothing short of remarkable.
In his first campaign at the helm, Pasternack's Gauchos tied a school record for wins with 23 and equaled the NCAA's largest increase in regular season victories from one season to the next, going from six wins in 2016-17 to 23 in 2017-18, a leap of 17. In addition to their 23-9 overall record, they narrowly missed winning the Big West Conference's regular season title with an 11-5 league mark. UCSB also became just the third Big West school to go from single-digit wins one season to 20 or more the next. Finally, the program went 12-2 at home equaling the best Thunderdome record in school history and it won a school record 11-straight home games to open a season.
UCSB's turnaround wasn't solely reflected in its win total. One season after averaging just 60.8 points per game, the Gauchos scored a school record 2,425, an average of 75.8 per game. They scored 70 or more points 23 times and 80 or more a school record 14 times.
Here are some additional program accomplishments in Pasternack's first season:
• Pasternack had easily the most successful first season in Santa Barbara history at 23-9. The previous best record by a first-year coach was 15-10 by Art Gallon in 1957-58.
• For just the second time in school history, and the first since 1970-71, UCSB played two players – Max Heidegger and Leland King II – on the All-Big West First Team.
• Heidegger set school records for points by a sophomore (612) and three-point baskets in a single season (95).
• UCSB had winning streaks of seven in a row and eight in a row during the regular season, marking the first time ever that the program had two winning streak of seven games or more in the same season.
• The Gauchos led the Big West Conference in assists with 481 and fewest turnovers with 337.
• UCSB went 11-3 in non-conference games with the three losses coming to teams from the SEC, ACC and Pac 12.
Pasternack was introduced as the Head Men's Basketball Coach at UC Santa Barbara on April 4, 2017. He joined the Gauchos' program after spending four years as the Associate Head Coach at the University of Arizona.
Pasternack joined Sean Miller’s Arizona staff for the 2011-12 season and was promoted to the Associate Head Coach position in June of 2013. In his six seasons on the Wildcat bench, the team recorded a 174-47 overall record, including 124-23 over the last four seasons, while advancing to five NCAA Tournaments, two Sweet 16s and a pair of Elite Eights.
“Joe Pasternack is as talented of an assistant coach as I have worked with during my 13 years as a head coach,” Miller said. “He positively impacted our program at Arizona on every level. His recruiting ability, on-the-floor coaching and game planning was matched only by his relentless, competitive spirit every day. As a head coach, he will passionately build UCSB into the champions of the Big West Conference in a matter of time. We wish Joe and his wonderful family all the success in the world! We will miss them here in Tucson.”
Pasternack was a key part of Arizona recruiting efforts that resulted in six consecutive top-10 classes, including four top-five groups during that stretch. In 2013-14, he played an integral role in the development of Aaron Gordon from a top recruit to an All-America-caliber player who was named Pac-12 Freshman of the Year and was taken fourth overall by Orlando in the 2014 NBA Draft. Pasternack was also instrumental in the development of Stanley Johnson, the eighth overall selection in the 2015 NBA Draft by the Detroit Pistons and the 2015 Pac-12 Freshman of the Year.
Prior to his six-year run at Arizona, the native of New Orleans spent four years as the head coach at the University of New Orleans from 2007-11. He led the Privateers to 19 wins in his first season and he was credited with the Sun Belt Conference’s top recruiting class. In his final season at UNO, Pasternack guided the program to 16 wins despite losing the majority of his roster to transfer in the wake of the school’s decision to transition out of NCAA Division 1 due to financial hardships in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.
Before his tenure at UNO, Pasternack was on the staff at Cal from 2000-07 where he oversaw the Bears’ scouting and game preparation efforts, worked with the team’s guards on a daily basis and was involved in coordinating recruiting efforts that landed several top-25 classes.
Pasternack got his start in college basketball as a four-year manager under Bob Knight at Indiana University, where he broke down film and assisted in scouting opponents. He graduated from IU in 1999 with a degree in marketing.
Pasternack played four years of varsity basketball at Metairie Park Country Day School in New Orleans. He and his wife, Lindsay, have a son, Joe IV, and a daughter, Lilly.