Gary Cunningham

Gary Cunningham

UCSB Athletic Director Retires

Cunningham Oversaw Gaucho Sports Since 1995

Dr. Gary Cunningham, athletic director at UCSB since 1995, will retire in the summer of 2008, he announced Tuesday. Cunningham oversaw facility improvements to the major athletic facilities at the school, and also hired many of the successful coaches currently at the school, including soccer coach Tim Vom Steeg, who led the men’s soccer team to the 2006 National Championship.

I am proud of what we have accomplished in my 12-and-a-half years,” Cunningham said in a statement. He came to UCSB after being an athletic director at Fresno State, the University of Wyoming and Western Oregon State College. He also played basketball at UCLA under Coach John Wooden and was an assistant under Wooden for 10 years before coaching the team himself for two years.

A national search will take place to find a replacement for Cunningham, who helped the UCSB program flourish in many ways. UCSB has won six of the last seven Big West Conference Commissioner’s Cups, given to the conference’s all-sports champion. “With his tremendous legacy and stature, he will continue to make important contributions to the promotion of athletics and our understanding of their impact on society,” said UCSB Chancellor Henry Yang. “I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Cunningham for his outstanding contributions to Gaucho athletics, and especially for his inspirational mentorship of our coaches and student-athletes.”

In addition to the Vom Steeg hire, Cunningham is responsible for hiring men’s basketball coach Bob Williams, whose team is off to a 12-3 start, as wellas both women’s soccer coach Paul Stumpf and men’s tennis coach Marty Davis. Cunningham has also helmed improvements to the Thunderdome, Caesar Uyesaka Staium, Harder Stadium and Campus Softball Diamond. UCSB student-athletes, in the most recent tracking period, graduated at a nearly 80 percent rate.

To submit a comment on this article, email or visit our Facebook page. To submit information to a reporter, email

Be succinct, constructive, and relevant to the story. Leaving a comment means you agree to our Discussion Guidelines. We like civilized discourse. We don't like spam, lying, profanity, harassment or personal attacks.

comments powered by Disqus
event calendar sponsored by:

Carousel House Now for Rent

The iconic octagon is available for parties and classes.

‘Fess Parker’ Name Dropped from Santa Barbara Waterfront Hotel

Change to Hilton Santa Barbara said to help the hotel reach a broader demographic.

Nicholas Kristof Hashes Out How To Help

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author joined local nonprofits to talk global development.

Pile Burn Season Raises Alarms

Uptick in citizen emergency calls upon viewing smoke and fire.

Jon Peterson Departs Habitat for Humanity

Takes a post with Covenant Trust Company of Chicago.