BIDDING ADIEU: After six years as UCSB's athletics director, Mark Massari (above left) is heading north to start his new job as deputy director of athletics at Oregon State. Before departing, Massari presented longtime fan
BIDDING ADIEU: After six years as UCSB's athletics director, Mark Massari (above left) is heading north to start his new job as deputy director of athletics at Oregon State.
Before departing, Massari
presented longtime fan "Mr.
Gaucho" Phil Womble with a letterman's jacket.
Despite that reality, it was with considerable reluctance that Mark Massari
decided to make the leap to the richer side of the gap
The director of Gaucho athletics for the past six years, Massari
has departed to become the deputy director of athletics at Oregon State
had been a rising star in OSU's
athletic department when UCSB
recruited him in 2008.
succeeded Cunningham, who had retired after 13 years of steady-as-she-goes administration, and he
brought a new energy to the campus.
"I could tell why I was able to get the job … the things I could bring to the table from an outreach standpoint, fundraising, marketing things," Massari
said, "a little bit of [he clapped his
hands for emphasis] 'Let's go somewhere; let's do a couple things.'"
's athletic budget of more than $60 million is four times that of UCSB
Furthermore, 90 percent of the Beavers'
support comes from outside sources (the Pac-12, TV revenues, football play-offs, ticket sales, sponsors, and donors), while 80 percent of the Gauchos'
support comes from the campus (student fees and institutional funds).
"The economics are a lot different, but at the core level, where you have dedicated, driven coaches and athletes, [UCSB] can maintain a high level," Massari
"It's never going to be a level playing field.
The facilities are better at certain schools.
You have to choose the sports where you want to be bold, rather than invest across-the-board."
highlighted Gaucho men's soccer, which has led the nation in attendance for seven years; he
brought the 2010 College Cup to UCSB
In replacing another legendary coach, Kathy Gregory of women's volleyball, Massari
found Nicole Lantagne Welch, who led the Gauchos
to a conference championship in her first year.
"One of the things I'm most proud about is how certain groups of alums feel about the place," Massari
"Some of it is financial, but a lot of it is emotional support."
French, who was on the search committee that brought Massari to UCSB, said the outgoing athletic director "did a good job at what we thought he'd do - marketing, promotions, videos.
was less successful at nurturing camaraderie within the athletic department, which French attributed to "his inexperience in managing people hands-on."
Cunningham agreed to hold down the fort while a new search committee, chaired by former vice chancellor Gene Lucas, starts assessing candidates to replace Massari.
did things differently, but he
recognized Cunningham's legacy.
"This place has the morals of Gary in it," Massari