|Position:||Consultant – Sand Volleyball|
Seven-time Big West Coach of the Year
Four-time AVCA West Region Coach of the Year
1993 AVCA National Coach of the Year
USBVA Hall of Fame member
The legendary Kathy Gregory announced she was retiring as headcoach in January 2013 after 38 years at the helm of one of the mosticonic programs in women's volleyball. However, her service at UCSBhas continued, as she searched on the search committee to hirecurrent coach Nicole Lantagne Welch and is currently assisting thedepartment's evaluation of adding sand volleyball as anintercollegiate sport.
For Kathy Gregory, it was a grand career. In her 38 seasons asthe first head coach in UC Santa Barbara women's volleyballhistory, "The Queen" amassed the fifth-most wins in Division Ihistory with a career record of 882-412 (.682), guided the Gauchosto 27 NCAA Championships, and saw her teams finished ranked amongthe nation's top-25 on 27 occasions.
On Sept. 6, 2008 vs. Utah State, Gregory became one of justeight collegiate coaches - and only five Division I coaches - inhistory to record 800 victories. She is also a seven-time Big WestCoach of the Year, a four-time AVCA West Region Coach of the Yearand is already in the USBVA Hall of Fame. In 2009 after leading theGauchos to a 22-win season and reaching the NCAA Tournament,Gregory was named Big West Co-Coach of the Year.
On Nov. 24, 2009, Gregory coached her 1,200th career match,becoming one of just five active coaches to coach that manymatches. The Gauchos defeated the Aztecs, 3-2 in the match.
On Sept. 12, 2003, Gregory's career became grand - literally -as she coached her 1,000th match at UCSB, a 3-1 victory overAmerican University during the Arizona Invitational. That was onlyone of many milestones in the distinguished career of Gregory, whoeasily owns the lengthiest tenure of any coach in the history ofUCSB Athletics.
While these impressive statistics are a testament to herlongevity, so is the respect the one-of-a-kind Gregory has gainedthroughout her four-plus decades of involvement on the collegiate,professional, and international levels of the sport she loves. Inaddition to earning one National and four Regional Coach of theYear awards, Gregory's dominance as a competitor led to her beingnamed one of the 10 most influential people in the sport ofvolleyball over the last 30 years and a member of two separatevolleyball halls of fame.
Gregory's coaching career started at UCSB with the inception ofthe women's volleyball program in 1975. In that inaugural seasonshe piloted the Gauchos to a 10-10 mark. Over the next 33 yearsSanta Barbara would record 20 or more victories 27 times, and hasonly once finished with a sub-.500 record. Some of the Gauchos'greatest postseason success has come in the last decade with threeElite Eight and two Sweet 16 appearances. In 1997 "The Queen"guided UCSB to its first NCAA Regional Final and a season-endingranking of fifth in the nation.
The Gauchos began 1998 with a 13-0 record, reaching No. 3 in thenational polls - highest in program history - and concluded theircampaign by returning to the Sweet 16. Gregory's troops kept theball of NCAA Tournament success going in 1999 and 2000 withback-to-back trips to the Elite Eight after pulling off upsetvictories in the regional semifinals both years. Even during her28th season in Santa Barbara, Gregory was able to establish anumber of career "firsts." In 2002 the Gauchos won their first-everoutright Big West Conference regular season title with a perfect18-0 league mark and hosted NCAA Regional play in the Thunderdomefor the first time. Gregory was rewarded for her team'sschool-record 23-match winning streak, best-ever 30-3 (.909)overall record, and another Sweet 16 appearance with her fourthAVCA Regional Coach of the Year Award.
For three consecutive seasons from 2003-05, UCSB captured theBig West Conference crown with Gregory repeating as Big West Coachof the Year, raising her career total to six such awards.
From 2002-07 her Gauchos have posted a sparkling conferencerecord of 68-14 (.829), easily the best five-year Big West run inprogram history. The 2005 campaign saw yet another milestone, asGregory guided UCSB to an undefeated home record (8-0) for thefirst time, giving her squad a school-record 16-match home winningstreak that spanned three seasons.
Meanwhile, the 1993 season epitomized Gregory's coachingexcellence. Ranked 17th nationally in the preseason, the Gauchosfinished the year at No. 4 with a 28-4 overall record and a co-BigWest Conference championship. Santa Barbara's jump in the polls wasthe biggest by any team in the country that season.Gregory wasrewarded for her team's overachievement with AVCA/TachikaraNational Coach of the Year honors.
While building her foundation of success at UCSB, Gregorydominated the sport as a competitor for more than 15 years. Afterbeing awarded Women's Beach Tournament Player of the Year in 1976,1977, 1978, 1981 and 1983, Gregory was crowned "Queen of theBeach." Over that period she captured two world championships andbecame only the third woman enshrined into the Volleyball Hall ofFame on October 21, 1989. The first two were former Olympic teammembers Flo Hyman and Jane Ward. "The Queen" is still active on thebeach volleyball scene and can frequently be seen on SantaBarbara's East Beach.
In 1996 she became the senior-most player in the nation to earnher AAA Beach rating, the highest mark a player can attain on thesand. With longtime partner Kathy Hanley, she won the Santa BarbaraBud Light Tournament. Gregory was also named a USVBA All-Americanfor the 16th time at the National Championships in Dallas in1996.
Her competitive experience was not limited to the beach as sheserved as captain of the professional San Diego Breakers of the IVA- where she was a teammate of basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain -and played on the 1968 U.S. Pan American and World Games squads. In1997 the sum of these accomplishments was recognized as Gregorybecame the 12th woman inducted into the United States VolleyballAssociation Hall of Fame.
Yet another accolade came in 2003 when she was named to theUSVBA's All-Era Team from 1949-1979. Gregory has also contributedto nationally-televised volleyball broadcasts. She served as acolor commentator for ESPN's Women's Professional Beach Tour onwhich she gained recognition for her "In the Crowd" pieces. Shealso commentated for the Prime Sports network and most recentlyserved as a studio analyst for College Sports Television's coverageof the 2004 NCAA Tournament.
Aside from what she has given to the sport of volleyball,Gregory has been recognized for her contributions to theadvancement of women's athletics. In 1981 she was given the Saluteto Women Award for her devotion to women's growth in sports.Gregory was also recently named as one of only five coachesnominated for the Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame, anorganization which honors outstanding contributions to women'sathletics.
Gregory's Milestone Victories
9/18/80 vs. Cal Poly
10/24/81 vs. USC
9/16/83 vs. Nevada
9/14/85 vs. Rhode Island
9/11/87 vs. Tennessee
10/7/89 at San Diego State
10/11/91 at Fresno State
10/19/93 at Cal State Northridge
9/26/95 at Cal State Fullerton
9/20/97 vs. Oklahoma
9/3/99 vs. Illinois
11/11/00 vs. Cal State Fullerton
12/6/02 vs. Fresno State
10/1/05 vs. UC Irvine
9/6/08 vs. Utah State
9/9/2011vs. North Dakota