Gauchos looking for a new baseball coach; Brontsema reassigned

UCSB’s Bob Brontsema has been relieved of his duties as baseball coach and will move into an administration position in the school’s athletics department, Mark W. Massari, director of athletics announced Sunday after the Gauchos’ final regular season game.

Brontsema has been part of the UCSB baseball program for 30 years, the last 18 as the head coach. He was an assistant for 10 years under Al Ferrer and played two years for Ferrer after transferring from College of the Canyons.

Bob Brontsema coached the Gauchos for 18 seasons.

The Gauchos finished the season with a 26-26 overall record and a 10-14 mark in the Big West.

“I appreciate the efforts of Bob, but felt the difficult decision to change the direction of our baseball program was needed,” Massari said in a statement. “Because of his hard work we have two cornerstones to build on in the locker-room and state-of-the-art batting cages. A successful next chapter in Gaucho baseball will be in part because Bob directed a program with integrity and worked to make the place better. I look forward to working with him in administration on key projects in facilities and with our campus partners.

“However, the fact is, multiple programs in our conference have proven they could make a run on Omaha (College World Series) each year, we must work to be one of those programs.” Massari said.

Brontsema, the dean of coaches in the Big West, recorded the most coaching victories in the program’s history, and leaves the position with an overall record of 483-478 (.503) and a Big West Conference record of 194-235 (.453).

His best season was in 2001. The team went 40-17, finished second in the Big West and a received a NCAA Tournament bid. That was the last time the Gauchos played in the postseason.

The program has eight NCAA Regional appearances in its history but has never played in the Super Regional or College World Series. UCSB has produced 16 players who have played at the Major League level, the third most of any current league program.

Presently, there are four former Gauchos playing in the Majors: six-time All-Star Michael Young of the Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals’ starting second baseman Skip Schumaker, former American League Cy Young Award-winner and current San Francisco Giant Barry Zito, and Ryan Spilborghs of the Colorado Rockies. In all, nearly 150 former UCSB players have played professionally throughout the years.

In addition to players, the UCSB program has produced some of baseball’s fastest rising executives, including Colorado Rockies’ Senior Vice President for Scouting and Player Development/Assistant General Manager, Bill Geivett and Damon Jones, the Vice President and General Counsel for the Washington Nationals.

A national search will begin immediately.

Comments on sports message boards at UCSB, Cal Poly and throughout the Big West Conference noted that Brontsema would not be retained as coach and would be re-assigned to another position inside the athletic department.

One site posted a list of possible candidates for the job. Among the names is Teddy Warrecker, the former coach at SBCC who completed his first season as an assistant at Cal Poly, and Santa Barbara Foresters manager Bill Pintard.


  1. Every coach has his critics, It is difficult to coach the one sport that everyone happens to be an expert in.. however , I have to say, thank you Coach Brontsema for your contribution to not only UCSB but to the baseball community and more importantly to the community of Santa Barbara.. I personally want to  thank you for taking the time to coach the kids in our community, many have directly benefited from your efforts. You have given your time as a volunteer board member for PONY,  and I am sure other causes as well, I have had the chance to observe what a great father and role model you are. I enjoyed both coaching with and against you.  You are a class act and they will be hard pressed to find anyone with your commitment, knowledge and level of passion for the game. I wish you well in all that you do!  RC

  2. Al Ferrer says

    UCSB has a chance to get a quality coach in Ted Warrecker before he becomes too ingrained in the Cal Poly program.  He is a great recruiter, motivator, and ethically solid guy.  D1 baseball is all about recruiting – you either get the talent or watch the talent beat you.  CSUF wins each year because they somehow get the best players to play at a great baseball program but a lousy school.  UCSB has always had the opportunity to be an elite baseball program at an elite school.  The big thing lacking has always been fund raising.  Bring Teddy in and watch the money start flowing into the program, followed by better players, and wins – which is what every AD wants.  Pintard would be another great choice – given his community following – and ability to get people to write checks for the program.  But his summer gig with the Foresters is probably too enjoyable to take on the daily grind of running a D1 program – plus he would have to give up his scouting job which he must also enjoy doing.  

    Bottomline – the number one thing UCSB should be asking candidates is how well they can recruit.  My take is that top players would enjoy playing for a rising coaching star like Teddy. 

  3. Cardinal66 says

    Coach B- was a very good recruiter and D-1 coach at UCSB
    What is most impressive, is that he was a
    Positive role model to his student-athletes and he
    ran a clean program, unlike other D-1programs. You don’t
    coach at the D-1 level for 18 years, if you were not
    doing something right!! Besides the two names that have
    been mentioned, this position will draw some very good college coaches. Yes, the facilities are not the best but to continue to run a clean program is most important!!

    • Cardinal, actually Meyers was the recruiter at UCSB, and I agree that he does a pretty good job. That said my son never met B- until he visited the school. He was also recruited by Cal Poly and he saw their head coach in the stands a number of times he played. Coach B- was a nice guy, but like I said nice guys don’t necessarily make winners, and according to the AD this is what they want.
      Terps has a point, until the University puts money (that does not exist in the UC’s right now) they will never elevate the program. It is not even fully funded for scholarships for crying out loud. Whoever comes here better be a very outgoing individual willing to go get external money as it is not coming from the school. Were talking a major major upgrade, not saying it is not possible, but as much effort is going to have to go into developing the facilities as well as recruiting, as well as coaching. It is a huge job, but the potential is certainly there.

    • Bartle-doo says

      Before you judge a coach by his success, you need to give him a stadium with bathrooms in it.

  4. No offense to Teddy Warracker, but they will go after a National level coach who can take the program to the next level. Teddy may be a nice guy, but nice guys don’t win championships. You are sorely mistaken if you think that recruiting is the most important aspect of college coaching, yes it is important, but developing your talent and running a tight program is right up there with good recruiting. If the AD is serious the fist thing UCSB will have to do is become a fully funded program. They have 10 scholarships and the rest of the Big West schools are fully funded at 11.7. You cannot compete without those additional spots, were talking about 2-4 additional quality athletes. They also have to upgrade their facilities; they are second tier to all of the other Big West and Pac12 programs, with whom they compete with. My son and a number of his friends were recruited by them and I am thankful he went in another direction based on the announcement, as it was obvious talking to the coaches something was going on above them. I do wish Coach Brontsema the best and hopefully Coach Meyers is retained or lands somewhere quickly where he fits.

    • Teddy is not just a nice guy. He is a dedicated, motivated coach who attacks his position from all sides. He coached our son at SBCC and has already made large strides in recruiting for Cal Poly locally and I have heard rumbles that he has roped in some great prospects up and down the coast. You are just plain wrong if you think recruiting doesn’t factor largely into the overall makeup of a team. Coaching takes a big back seat to actual talent at this level. If you don’t have the guys, you don’t have a team. Not to mention his fundraising efforts which are tremendous. Teddy is a great coach and I second Ferrer that any program would improve under his reign. You think UCSB runs a tight program? that is not a word I would use to describe it.

    • Go Terps says

      UCSB has to be realistic – the “academians” do not give a shit about baseball or any other sport for that matter – they want PHDs doing world class research and getting Nobel prizes.

      With that being said you still have a D1 program which has the potential to compete at a high level.  The only National level coaches who will want the UCSB job are the ones looking for a last gig as they coast into the SB sunset knowing they will never get the support from the administration.  Honestly – most big time coaches do not want the hassle of having to constantly fund raise and literally “build” a program.   What you need is some up and comer coach looking to prove himself.  One who can garner community support and has the respect of HS coaches who are the biggest influencers in where a kid goes to play baseball. 

      If UCSB were going to actually invest heavily in better facilities, then you might get a top tier ACC coach looking to take on a new challenge.  However, it is just not going to happen.  I have seen SEC and ACC baseball programs – even the crappiest teams have tremendous facilities.  We have D3 facilities and only get the D1 kids who – 1) want to stay close to home  2) do not like LA/OC 3) girl friend is going to UCSB 4) want some special degree that UCSB excels in. 

      However, as Cal Poly continues to invest in their program you will soon seen these same players who would have gone to UCSB – now jump ship to program on the rise vs. one that just stands still.  When this happens UCSB will be just be a hapless doormat in the Big West.

  5. collegebaseballfan says

    I love it when people say this guy or this program can’t win because there aren’t enough scholarships or the field is not up to par. It just shows how little most people really know the game. What’s next, the color of the uniforms? Winning at baseball is a function of how well a team can work together, aka team chemistry. When two teams are matched up against each other on the same field with the same conditions, the team that prevails is the team that can cope, that can overcome, that can compete better than its opponent. Taken over the course of a season the value of this chemistry takes an even larger role. Why does Fullerton or Irvine continue to excel in the Big West year after year? Because Serrano (before him Horton and Garrido) and Gillespie (before him Serrano) know how to get their players to coalesce into a single unit bent on destruction. Dave Snow had that same mojo going on at Long Beach some years ago. Why have the Gauchos, Cal Poly, Northridge, etc. failed to compete at the highest levels? Because the team chemistry hasn’t been there. Masseri needs to hire a guy like Pintard, an older guy with tons of proven experience building team chemistry and a guy that will not wither in the face of teams led by Serrano and Gillespie. Hiring a young guy like Warrecker would mean committing three to five years just to get him the seasoning he needs to be able to talk to a guy like Gillespie as an equal. Winning is paramount if this program is ever going to turn around, without it things will appear to be the same and the perception will be the reality. Winning will get the field better taken care of, winning will get alumni and community sponsors fired up to lend support and winning will draw better and better players. And winning sooner than later will happen only if Masseri hires a guy that has proven his players will go through a wall for him.

  6. baseballguy says

    Former Cal St Fullerton Assistant Coach/Recruiter, Sergio Brown, is available. 

  7. baseballguy says

    yeah, where are the bathrooms at the baseball stadium?  who designed that place?