AD Massari leaving UCSB for post at Oregon State

Mark Massari, the Director of Athletics at UC Santa Barbara since August of 2008, will leave the school to accept the position of Deputy Director of Athletics at Oregon State University, he announced Wednesday.

“I would like to thank Chancellor (Henry T.) Yang for the wonderful opportunity to serve this distinguished university,” Massari said. “It has been my honor to learn from him and I am extremely proud of what has been accomplished as a campus together. My family and I have been fortunate to be beside such incredibly talented and dedicated coaches, staff, student-athletes, donors and alumni. Isla Vista and UCSB are in our hearts. We have loved being Gauchos.”

Mark Massari is returning to Oregon State.

Mark Massari is returning to Oregon State.

Massari has overseen an athletics department that includes 20 NCAA Division I programs and, nearly 500 student-athletes and 100 staff members During his tenure at UCSB, the school’s NCAA graduation success rate has risen to an all-time high 85%, second in the University of California system.

“I want to thank Mark sincerely for the leadership he has provided to our athletics department since 2008, and especially for his inspirational mentorship of our student-athletes and coaches,” said Chancellor Henry Yang in a statement to the university community. “Congratulations to Mark on taking on this wonderful opportunity at one of the finest Pac-12 Conference athletics programs. We wish Mark and his family the best in this new opportunity.”

Upon his arrival, Massari launched the “Dare to Be Great” campaign, a strategic plan that strengthened traditions with a letterwinners program, created an annual giving effort, addressed facility improvements and increased student-athlete outreach and academic success.

During his tenure, Massari established the Gaucho Fund, resulting in the largest number of annual donors to athletics ever, including the first $1 million dollar gift to a women’s program (basketball) and the single largest gift to athletics ($2 million for scholarships) in program history.

He introduced the “Walk of Champions” plan, which is a conceptual road map to address capital project needs on a sport-by-sport basis. The plan was instrumental in raising funds to renovate Harder Stadium – highlighted by the Curtice Gate plaza entrance – that allowed UCSB to host the 2010 NCAA College Cup, the first national championship event held on campus in 35 years. Additionally, several improvements were made to the Thunderdome, including new basketball locker rooms, upgraded media and video rooms, and an upgraded main lobby.

Massari also initiated numerous marketing, outreach and donor stewardship programs. The list is lengthy and includes the Living Scholar Program, One Donation is Gold, The Gaucho Order, Legends of the Dome, Gauchos Give, Dare magazine, Gauchos in Thirty television show, Great Examples, GKids, the “This is Soccer Heaven” campaign, and Gauchos Give community service program. 

From a personnel standpoint, the Napa, Calif. native made several outstanding coaching hires while also securing extensions for Tim Vom Steeg (men’s soccer) and Bob Williams (men’s basketball), the winningest coaches in their respective programs’ histories. His hires include Andrew Checketts, who guided the baseball program to its first NCAA Regional in more than a decade, Carlene Mitchell, who led women’s basketball to consecutive postseason appearances in her first two seasons, Nicole Lantange Welch, whose women’s volleyball team won a Big West title and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in her first season, and Simon Thibodeau, who led the women’s tennis program to its highest ranking in 20 years.

In competition, seven different Gaucho teams have advanced to 20 separate postseason appearances during Massari’s six years.
Massari will continue to serve the university through July. 
Former UCSB Director of Athletics Gary Cunningham (1995-2008) will serve as Interim Director of Athletics beginning Aug. 1 as a national search is conducted for Massari’s replacement.