WeissCrax: Tawkin’ Beach, BBQ & Gaucho B-ball

New UCSB women's head basketball coach Carlene Mitchell, standing in front of her players at Goleta Beach, speaks to a crowd of fans.

It’s a new day for Carlene Mitchell …

She’s loving her uber-smooth transition from East Coast ‘Joisey’ living to her new digs on Southern California’s sandy shores.

Especially today.

And with her shift west, UCSB’s new women’s hoops coach brings her A-game.

It’s why she’s here.

And it’s the only game she knows …

Arkansas-native Mitchell is fresh off a 10-year stint as Rutgers associate head coach for All-World Head Coach C. Vivian Stringer – a prime launching pad for this primo Gaucho gig.

The women's basketball team's first game in on November 11.

Her new boss, Mark Massari, UCSB Athletic Director, introduces her at Sunday’s special barbeque reception at super-summer-sunny Goleta Beach.

Not bad for October.

It’s a fun opportunity for her to address her Board of Directors, as well, if you will …

That would be about 175 Fast Breakers – passionate Gaucho boosters and #1 fan club. There’s a lot more of them here than last year.

And like this investigative sportz reporter – most seem to be prematurely gray.

Mitchell and her team are actually all surrounded by a sea of blue – the Pacific at their back and casually blue-dressed Breakers in front as she shares candid insights on the new season.

They already have one week of practice under their belts.

“We will be known for three things: our discipline … for being in the best conditioned shape in the Big West … and for our mental toughness,” she offers.

The ‘winning part’ is implied …

But, it’s crystal clear that Coach Mitchell means business.

The 15 players, along with assistant coaches & support staff, all have an opportunity to individually introduce themselves.

Mitchell taking the time to get to know the fanbase.

All are over-dressed for the beach – but looking sharp uniformly dressed in stylish Gaucho-warm-up ware.

Also blue.

And with the cheers, there’s new hope that the Gauchos could soon enjoy a long-standing prominence Coach Mark French’s teams commanded during his long run as chief architect of the Lady Gaucho Hoops Empire.

In fact, he’s here today and in the background, of course.

But, at like six-foot eleven inches, he’s a tuff one to miss.

“Mark’s been great! Very supportive. We talk and I’ve had dinner with him and his girlfriend Paula a few times,” Mitchell later confides.

French even picked Mitchell up at Santa Barbara’s new airport when she arrived in town.

“Many former Gaucho players have reached out to me, too,” she added. “It’s all appreciated.”

And all about family …

The team has already fanned out into the community helping local kids at places like the Page Youth Center – one of the many trademarks started with the Gauchos of yesteryear.

The ever-popular Gaucho Kid Camps could even return next summer …

That’s premature right now as all sights are focused on readying for a championship run.

First test in the exhibition season is November 1 vs. NAIA power Vanguard.

First game (non-league) on November 11 at Seattle University.

It’s all good ….

And about Mitchell’s chillin’ new home base of basketball operations?

“It’s wonderful to wake up to sun and warm weather everyday,” she sez.

Safe to say, things are indeed looking bright and should heat up a little more come November…

Stay tuned and Go Gauchos!

Let’s hope it’s ‘just another day at the beach’ …