Santa Barbara Sports Figure of the Month: Brian ‘Chuckie’ Roth

American Riviera Bank

Brian and Leslie Roth, with children Indy, left, and Kumani, right.

Celebrated and much-loved teacher, coach, mentor and role model — Brian Charles Roth — who logs countless hours helping local kids learn water safety, swim instruction and aquatic athletic competition as a San Marcos High School physical education teacher and two-sport (swimming & water polo) coach – a commitment furthered by his on-going, tireless out-of-school swim & water polo club coaching contributions – has been named Presidio Sports’ Sports Figure of the Month for June 2012.

June was a big month for Roth ? or ‘Chuckie? as he is known to most of the free world ? as he became the first physical education teacher to be honored as a Santa Barbara County Distinguished Educator of the Year.

?He teaches young people how to set goals, meet with success, learn vital life skills, and have the confidence to solve problems and tackle life’s many challenges,? says Bill Cirone, SB County Superintendent of Schools.

Chuckie Roth

On his own time, Roth is an avid waterman who frequently participates in local ocean swimming events.

This same sentiment is shared by all around him ?

?Chuckie has a gift,? according to Cathy Neushul, UCSB women?s water polo coach whose youngest daughter Ryann currently plays on his 12 & Under SB Water Polo Club team.

?He is a master of instilling self-confidence in his players, especially in those who need it most — that?s the ultimate test of a good teacher and coach,? she explains.

?Chuckie is one of the most passionate, caring and knowledgeable of teachers,? offers Desa Mandarino, a SMHS colleague with impressive 2011-2012 SB County Teacher of the Year credentials of her own.

?He is the type of educator that students note when asked who changed their lives for the better ? All of the San Marcos family and community is blessed to have such an extraordinary man investing in hundreds of lives daily,? she says.

?Chuckie is just a great guy ? he is ?the real deal? and you get ?the whole package? ?everything: commitment, enthusiasm and accountability — he holds himself accountable and same for his kids and their parents,? embellishes Abe Jahadhmy, SMHS athletic director.

?He leads by example ? works hard and really cares for kids ? goes extra mile to get things done ? and supports all aspects of school life,? Abe adds.

American Riviera Bank

This award is made possible by American Riviera Bank

Not bad for guy with early dreams of being a firefighter, like his grandpa and uncle.

And an early glimpse of Chuckie?s positive can-do spirit, fortitude and make-the-most-of-every-opportunity personality came shining through at a rather early age (8) when Sever?s Disease (as in NY Met pitching ace and Hall of Famer, Tom) limited his athletic horizons?


Wikipedia — Sever’s disease or calcaneal apophysitis is the most common, cause of heel pain in the growing athlete and is due to overuse and repetitive microtrauma of growth plates of the calcaneus in the heel. It occurs in children ages 7 to 15, with the majority of patients presenting between 10 and 14 years of age. It is in relation to Osgood-Schlatter disease which affects the knee rather than the heel/ankle.


Unable to run due to the pain, he literally jumped head first into the pool.

A tryout with the Arcadia Riptides swimming team forever changed his life ? he loved it!! Been swimming and playing water polo ever since ?

And been blessed with great coaches, too!!

Early on by quality guys like Ray Petersen (UCSB Alum 1947), Ron Milich (?who was like my dad?) and Mike Gautreau, (?who all helped turn me into a man?) and, later, local icons: UCSB?s Gregg Wilson and Joe Brien provided golden opportunities, which also helped him define his own truly unique coaching abilities.

At SMHS, he?s transformed the girls water polo program from an ?0h and 22? team before his arrival ? and since: to vast improvement and four years in the playoffs and even a Top 10 CIF ranking last year ? all in a super-octane heavyweight division that includes perennial powerhouses ? those SB Dons and DP Chargers.

?I am very lucky to be at San Marcos (where he is also physical education co-department chair) and to have these great kids during their formative years and their families, and to have such incredible community support,? Chuckie says.

Coach Roth’s 12-and-under girls club team stand at the top of the National Junior Olympics podium in 2011.

He credits his family and wife, Leslie and their two young sons (#1 son ?Indy? is almost age two, #2 Kumani just two months) with helping bring out his best every day.

The Distinguished Educator of the Year recognition capped an incredible school year for Roth — one started tragically with the sudden, shocking loss of close colleague, office mate and good bud, Jeff Hesselmeyer, last summer.

?We worked side-by-side for three years — there were no secrets,? says Roth ?

?Hess was such ?a giver.? His death made me appreciate life and people all that much more.?

The year would wind up completing ?the circle of life? with the birth of Kumani on May 3 (same day as the Channel League Swimming Championships).

Brian Charles Roth loves and lives in these every day moments?

And from the very beginning, he?s also had something very special.

In his own words ?.

My mother was always my best inspiration. She is the greatest mom ever. She always got me to practice, to meets and games and was always there to support me. A person can?t be so involved in sports without support at home. When I was about 8, I was playing soccer and got kicked in the face with a ball. I began crying, they stopped the game and the coach went to take me out. My mom shouted from the sidelines, “Leave him in the game. He will be fine.? My mom taught me many things but first and foremost was that quitting and giving up is never an option. Without those teachings who knows where I would be because I have had some trying moments.


He knows that for teachers and coaches, the true measure of success really isn?t the grades, the records and the wins but, rather, the life-long imprints on those they touch along life?s journey ?

?I enjoy what I do and always remember and appreciate all the investment people have made in my life,? he says. ?So, if I can make a positive impact on, at least, one kid every day, I know I?m doing the right thing.?

And from one sharp, in-the-know sideline perspective ? whether it?s coaching JO?s (Junior Olympics), club or high school ? every day there?s especially one ?right thing? about him already confirmed?

?Chuckie is helping these young girls become women,? Neushul says.

And what award could be possibly better than that?!?


Top Ten Things You Might Not Know About ?Chuckie?

10. Only his Mom and wife call him Brian.
9. Nickname ?Chuckie? stuck from a night in Isla Vista when college pal Todd Jennings kiddingly introduced him that way to seemingly hundreds of people.
8. Lived in Arcadia, CA and attended Temple City High School and later at Citrus Junior College — was in the Top 10 in the state in the 100 Fly.
7. Graduated from UCSB in 1997 where ?he was a three-year member of the
UCSB men’s conference champion swimming team, as well as a starter for the 1996 Gaucho water polo team.?
6. Exactly one day after graduation, he was hired as a Gaucho assistant water polo coach and later served as an associate head coach.
5. After his three-year Gaucho coaching stint — he launched the Temple City HS girls water polo program that quickly became repeating CIF Champs in 2003 and 2004, immediately prior to his coming to Santa Barbara.
4. Swam with the Industry Hills Aquatic Club as a kid with former SMHS principal Craig Morgan?s son, who later hired him @ SMHS where he?s been since Fall, 2004.
3. Serves as SBCC beginning, intermediate and advanced water polo teacher.
2. Met his wonderful wife, Leslie ? DPHS women?s track coach — at Nite Moves on May 9, 2006 — she swam it only two weeks after Kumani?s birth and added the run a week after that!
1. Oh & by the way ? Chuckie?s U-12 girls water polo club team is rated No. 1 in the USA.


  1. Congrats Chuckie! Indy has gotten so big!

  2. Leigh Myers says

    Congratulations Chuckie. You bring out the best in all of us. I can’t imagine our community without you. We cherish
    you, The Myers family

  3. Leigh Myers says

    Congratulations Chuckie. You bring out the best in all of us. I can’t imagine our community without you. We cherish
    you, The Myers family

  4. Leigh Myers says

    Congratulations Chuckie. You bring out the best in all of us. I can’t imagine our community without you. We cherish
    you, The Myers family

  5. Leigh Myers says

    Congratulations Chuckie. You bring out the best in all of us. I can’t imagine our community without you. We cherish
    you, The Myers family

  6. Leigh Myers says

    Congratulations Chuckie. You bring out the best in all of us. I can’t imagine our community without you. We cherish
    you, The Myers family