Lindsay Gottlieb is taking over as the head coach of UCSB women’s basketball team with full support from the university’s brain trust. Chancellor Henry Yang, speaking at Gottlieb’s introductory press conference, affirmed that Gottlieb was his first choice to replace Mark French. Yang said others wanted UCSB to hire the associate head coach at UC Berkeley, included his wife, Dilling, and Professor Herbert Kroemer, winner of the 2000 Nobel Prize in physics. Kroemer has been an ardent fan of the Gaucho women.
One of the Gauchos’ senior players next season will be 6Ê¹4Ê° center Kat Suderman, who is already taking graduate courses after earning her degree in Creative Studies/Literature. With her grade point average of 3.50, Suderman garnered one of UCSB’s Golden Eagle scholar/athlete awards, a program sponsored for 21 years by Pete Jordano-thus elevating (to some minds) the status of the golden eagle symbol that adorns the beer products Jordano sells. Jenna Green, another 6Ê¹4Ê° Gaucho who’s awaiting NCAA approval of her petition for another year of eligibility, will be entering the Graduate School of Education next fall.
Gottlieb, a graduate of Brown University, has the brains to match her talent. She wondered, however, if following the remarkable successes of French was the smart thing to do. “Usually, you want to follow someone who’s fallen on his face, then you come in and look great,” she said. “If that’s the case, I’ve made my first mistake.”
French, who retired last month, praised his 31-year-old successor as “a very bright young woman. She’s really enthusiastic and energetic. She can’t wait to deal with all the issues of the job. I was getting tired of it.”
Joanne Boyle, the head coach at Cal, has the highest regard for Gottlieb, who was her top assistant from the day she hired her at Richmond six years ago. “She has a very mature mind for her age,” Boyle said. “She was smart to take the Santa Barbara job. It would be really hard if your first head coaching job was at a big school in a major media market. I made a smart move by going to Richmond, a small, private school, before I moved to Cal.”
Gottlieb said she considers UCSB’s program to be such a good fit that she intends to be here for the long run.
VOLLEYBALL TOWN: If the third time is the charm for Santa Barbara High, the Dons volleyball team will be playing for the CIF Division II championship on Saturday, May 24, at Cal State Dominguez Hills. The match is slated to start at 5 p.m.
The Dons swept three consecutive playoff matches and rolled into the semifinals on Wednesday night in their own gym. Their opponent, Corona del Mar, defeated them in the semifinals in 2006 and in the championship match last year. Dons coach Chad Arneson said he still had nightmares over the losses to the Sea Kings. But with a lineup full of seniors, including setter Andy Abayan, middle blocker Danny Miller, and outside hitters Will Montgomery and Craig McGowan, he hoped the memories will fuel their motivation for revenge.
Dos Pueblos High could also reach the finals if it pulls a big upset over top-ranked Valencia. The Chargers ousted Laguna Beach in a marathon quarterfinal match (the scores were 25-21, 24-21, 19-24, 16-25, and 15-10). Valencia had not dropped a game in the playoffs and had the home-court advantage over the Chargers.
In other volleyball news, the hometown beach team of Todd Rogers and Phil Dalhausser locked up their berth in the Beijing Olympics by taking the bronze medal in the Italian Open. All they really needed was to show up and fulfill the requirement of playing in eight international (FIVB) tournaments since the Olympic qualification process began. But Rogers and Dalhausser, the reigning world champions, never just show up. They defeated defending Olympic champions Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos of Brazil in the bronze medal match.
GAUCHO BASEBALL: UCSB kept its postseason hopes alive by sweeping UC Riverside in a three-game series last weekend. They wrapped up a 23-6 home record in style by lowering the Highlanders, 13-2, 10-4, and 14-8. The third-place Gauchos conclude the Big West season with three games at UC Irvine this weekend.