Like American Idol, the search for a new women’s basketball coach at UCSB is down to three candidates, including two clear co-favorites. They are Lindsay Gottlieb, the associate head coach at UC Berkeley, and Molly Goodenbour, the head coach at Chico State. Also in the mix, but considered a long shot, is Rae Rippetoe-Blair, the head coach at Texas-San Antonio.

UCSB is expected to announce this week who will be hired to succeed Mark French. After guiding the Gaucho women for 21 seasons, French announced his retirement on April 3.

There are differences in the background and experience of the candidates, but all three have been part of winning programs.

Gottlieb has been second-in-command to Joanne Boyle at Cal for the last three years, during which the Golden Bears have achieved unprecedented success. They went 27-7 in 2007-08 and were ranked No. 10 at the end of the regular season. They suffered a heartbreaking 55-53 loss to George Washington in the second round of the NCAA women’s tournament. Gottlieb, a native of Scarsdale, New York, previously worked with Boyle for three years at Richmond. She played on the women’s team at Brown University and began her coaching career as an assistant at Syracuse and New Hampshire.

Goodenbour has compiled a 52-11 record in two years at Chico State, a Division II school. The Iowa native was a starting guard on Stanford teams that won NCAA championships in 1990 and 1992. The latter team defeated UCSB in the second round of the tournament. Prior to taking over at Chico, Goodenbour was an assistant coach at the University of San Francisco and head coach at Santa Rosa Junior College.

Rippetoe-Blair led UTSA to the championship of the Southland Conference this year, her eighth at the school. The Roadrunners went 23-10, a school record for victories, and made their first appearance in the NCAA tournament as a No. 15 seed, losing to Texas A&M 91-52.

TODAY’S SPORTS: Tuesday, May 13

High school boys volleyball CIF playoffs, second round: Santa Barbara at Santa Ana Calvary Chapel, 7 p.m. Dos Pueblos at Camarillo, 7 p.m.; Santa Ynez at Laguna Hills, 7 p.m.; South Pasadena at Bishop Diego, 7 p.m.; Laguna Blanca at Pasadena Poly, 7 p.m.

High school boys tennis CIF quarterfinals: Santa Barbara vs. Thousand Oaks, 3 p.m.


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