The greater Santa Barbara sports community is mourning the death of John Ward, a long-time teacher, coach and administrator. Ward, 55, died Wednesday of colon cancer, only 12 days after his disease was discovered.

At both Bishop Diego High School, where Ward worked for 23 years, and Carpinteria High, where he spent the last five years, he earned the respect of his peers and students. He was a math teacher and boys basketball coach, and at both schools he served as athletic director.

“Ward was my coach, mentor and friend,” Bishop Diego athletic director Dan Peeters wrote in a condolence to Ward’s family. “He was deeply committed and loyal to his family, friends, and players.”

Carpinteria teacher Casey Roberts described Ward as “our head cheerleader. . . .We were excited when he came to us and he left the school a better place for his endless dedication and encouragement to students and staff alike.”

GAUCHOS STUNNED: UCSB’s soccer match at Cal State Fullerton turned into a nightmare Wednesday night. Despite out-shooting the Titans 22-8, the Gauchos failed to put the ball into the goal, and they lost 1-0 when Fullerton scored at the end of the first overtime period. UCSB was a man down at the time because forward Sam Garza had been ejected in the last 15 minutes of regulation, and goalkeeper Sam Hayden received a red card at the end of the match when he protested that he was fouled. Garza and Hayden will miss Saturday night’s game between the Gauchos and UC Davis at Harder Stadium.

FIGHT NIGHT: Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Friday at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez for the Showtime network’s “ShoBox” fight card. The featured bout is a 12-rounder between junior welterweights Tim “The Pitbull” Coleman and Patrick “El Elegante” Lopez .

ROLLER DERBY: The Mission City Brawlin’ Betties will return to action at 5 p.m. Saturday at Earl Warren Showgrounds, taking on the Bakersfield Diamond Divas in a roller derby attraction billed as “Blocktoberfest.”

POLO STAR: Nacho Figueras, and international model and professional polo player, will display his talents Sunday at the Santa Barbara Polo & Racquet Club. Prior to playing in an exhibition game at 1 p.m., Figueras will give a polo demonstration to children from Girls Inc. and the Boys and Girls Club of Santa Barbara. The final game of the USPA President’s Cup tournament will take place at 3 p.m.


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