UCSB job figures to draw impressive list of candidates

Following a coaching legend won’t be easy. But one thing is for sure, the location for this job might be the best anywhere.

The UCSB women’s volleyball head coaching position might be one of the most attractive jobs in the country. The list of potential candidates to replace the legendary Kathy Gregory figures to be long and impressive.

Gregory is retiring after 38 years as the coach of the program. She is the longest tenured coach in the history of UCSB athletics and ranks fifth in NCAA Division 1 in victories with 882. Her winning percentage of .681 is the highest all-time among UCSB coaches in any sport. Her Gaucho program advanced to 27 NCAA Tournaments and was one of four – joining Stanford, Nebraska and Penn State — to advance to each of the first 26 tourneys.   
“Over the past 38 years I have been blessed with the opportunity to impact so many young women, each of whom taught me something in return and helped build a legacy at Santa Barbara that will continue into the future,” Gregory said in a statement.
Names that have been mentioned on volleyball chat rooms as possible candidates to continue that legacy include some former Gaucho players: Jose “Keno” Gandara, an assistant with the women’s team at Washington the last eight years; Lee Nelson, an assistant with the women’s team at Miami; Matt McShane, the women’s head coach at Air Force; Heather Collins, the head coach at Occidental; Jon Wallace, the head coach at Santa Clara.

Two other potential candidates also have local ties: San Marcos High alum Jason Donnelly, a successful coach with the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club and the girls and boys coach at Bishop Diego High; Shawn Olmstead, a Carpinteria High alum who completed his second year as the women’s coach at his college alma mater, BYU.

Mark Massari, the Director of Athletics at UCSB, said there will be a national search for the next Gaucho coach, and Gregory will be a part of the selection committee.

Retired UCSB women’s basketball coach Mark French was on the committee that recommended Carlene Mitchell to be the program’s coach two years ago.