Lindsay Gottlieb’s coaching career will not reach maturity at UCSB.
Gottlieb, who guided UCSB women’s basketball for the last three years, has been hired to take over the program at UC Berkeley. The 34-year-old coach worked as an assistant at Cal before she took her first head coaching job at UCSB in 2008 following the retirement of Mark French.
Gottlieb had mixed success at UCSB. She was named Big West Coach of the Year in her first season, as the Gaucho women went 22-10 and won both the regular season title and the conference tournament, primarily with players she inherited from French. The Gauchos slipped to 15-17 in the 2009-10 season, and then rebounded to go 19-12 in Gottlieb’s third year, leaving her with an overall record of 56-39.
A seven-game winning streak boosted the Gaucho women to a share of the 2011 Big West regular season championship, but they were upset by Pacific in the first round of the conference tournament — their earliest exit in 15 years — and lost a first-round game in the Women’s NIT to USC, 67-64.
When Cal coach Joanne Boyle resigned to take the coaching position at Virginia, Gottlieb immediately was identified as a potential successor. The two worked together for six years at Richmond and Berkeley. In her last season with the Golden Bears, Gottlieb was appointed associate head coach by Boyle.
“I am both excited and humbled to return to Cal as the head women’s basketball coach,” Gottlieb said in a press release issued by Cal. “When I set foot on campus six years ago, I felt Cal could be a gem in the women’s basketball landscape. Now I know that to be true. Joanne Boyle and the talented young women who have worn the blue and gold have elevated the program to national prominence and I look forward to taking the baton and helping Cal basketball reach unprecedented heights.”
Now UCSB will have to start searching for a head coach for the second time in three years, after French had given the Gaucho women 21 years of steady leadership.
Gaucho athletics director Mark Massari said in a statement: “Moving forward we will look for the next leader of our storied program who will develop strong women on the court and in life. We are invested, as a campus, in women’s basketball.”