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.