UC SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The leader of UC Santa Barbara's athletic department is saying goodbye to the Gauchos as Mark Massari is stepping down to return to Oregon State.
Massari became the Director of Athletics at UC Santa Barbara in August of 2008. In his six years at UCSB, the school's NCAA graduation success rate has risen to an all-time high 85%, second in the University of California system.
Massari made several coaching hires during his tenure including Andrew Checketts, Nicole Lantagne Welch and Carlene Mitchell. Checketts led the Gauchos baseball team to its first NCAA postseason appearance in more than a decade. Lantagne Welch directed the women's volleyball program to the NCAA Tournament last year in her first season with the Gauchos. Mitchell guided the women's basketball team to the NCAA Tournament in her first year but the program is struggling now under the former assistant coach from Rutgers.
Massari came to UCSB from Oregon State and that is where he is headed back as has accepted the position of Deputy Director of Athletics with the Beavers. He will stay at UCSB through July and former Gauchos AD Gary Cunningham who still lives in Santa Barbara, will be the interim Director of Athletics beginning August 1.
A national search will be conducted for Massari's replacement.