UC Santa Barbara Director of Athletics Mark W. Massari announced Sunday that a change in leadership has been made in the Gauchos’ baseball program and that Bob Brontsema, the head coach since 1994, would move into an administrative position within the Athletics Department.
“I appreciate the efforts of Bob, but felt the difficult decision to change the direction of our baseball program was needed,” Massari said. “Because of his hard work we have two cornerstones to build on in the locker-room and state-of-the-art batting cages. A successful next chapter in Gaucho baseball will be in part because Bob directed a program with integrity and worked to make the place better. I look forward to working with him in administration on key projects in facilities and with our campus partners.
“However, the fact is, multiple programs in our conference have proven they could make a run on Omaha (College World Series) each year, we must work to be one of those programs.” Massari said.
Brontsema’s 2011 team finished with an overall record of 26-26 and a Big West mark of 10-14. In his 18-year career, he recorded the most coaching victories in the program’s history, and leaves the position with an overall record of 483-478 (.503) and a Big West Conference record of 194-235 (.453).
The program has eight NCAA Regional appearances in its history but has never played in the Super Regional or College World Series. UCSB has produced 16 players who have played at the Major League level, the third most of any current league program.
Presently, there are four former Gauchos playing in the Majors: six-time All-Star Michael Young of the Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals’ starting second baseman Skip Schumaker, former American League Cy Young Award-winner and current San Francisco Giant Barry Zito, and Ryan Spilborghs of the Colorado Rockies. In all, nearly 150 former UCSB players have played professionally throughout the years.
In addition to players, the UCSB program has produced some of baseball’s fastest rising executives, including Colorado Rockies’ Senior Vice President for Scouting and Player Development/Assistant General Manager, Bill Geivett and Damon Jones, the Vice President and General Counsel for the Washington Nationals.
A national search will begin immediately.