SBART Luncheon: Building, maintaining winning cultures

The culture of local basketball programs was the top menu item at Monday’s press luncheon of the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table.

There were coaches who spoke of changing the culture in their programs, one coach who wouldn’t change a thing and another aiming to improve the culture.

UCSB women’s assistant coach Mia Fisher and San Marcos girls coach Chris Hantgin spoke about turning things around in their respective programs.

Fisher played on four Gauchos teams that won the Big West title and went to the NCAA Tournament each year. She’s returned to her alma mater to help first-year coach Bonnie Henrickson turn around a program that won only two games last season and just 10 over the last two seasons

“A major thing Bonnie wanted to talk about is changing the culture and changing the mentality,” Fisher said. “It’s a process. We understand it’s not going to happen overnight, even with Bonnie’s 30 years of coaching and me being 32 years old and playing here. That’s not going to help. It’s going to be every single day, every practice, night in and night out; it’s repeating habits of excellence and repeating the same behavior that you want.”

Dos Pueblos cross country runner Hunter Clark was the male Athlete of the Week.

Dos Pueblos cross country runner Hunter Clark was the male Athlete of the Week. Clark qualified for the CIF State Finals and finished 14th in the Division 2 race.


Hantgin is in his second year of coaching the San Marcos girls basketball team. It, too, has suffered through some tough years.

“We’re in the middle of changing our culture as well,” he said.

Hantgin cited players Alexa Calvillo and Kaitlynn Miller as motivators in getting things turned around at San Marcos.

“I can’t be more proud of

Carolin Chang, the female Athlete of the Week, won the State Community College individual golf title and led SBCC to the team title.

Carolin Chang, the female Athlete of the Week, won the State Community College individual golf title and led SBCC to the team title.

these two for their leadership and determination, perseverance to come to work and ready to play each day,” he said. “We’re definitely moving in the right direction.”

Santa Barbara boys coach David Bregante said the culture in the Dons program is just fine.

“We’re not trying to change the culture at Santa Barbara High School, we’re trying to continue the culture,” Bregante said. “We’ve won the league three years in row. That’s what we aim for. If we don’t do that, we don’t feel like we’ve had a real good year.”

Westmont coach John Moore, whose team is coming off a runner-up finish at the NAIA National Tournament and is off to a 5-2 start, said he’s not trying to maintain nor change the culture in his program. Instead, “We’re trying to make our culture better; evaluate what are some things that we can change even when we’re really, really good. I think that’s the best way to go about it. We’re talking about character.”


Westmont women: Coach Kirsten Moore’s team is off to a 6-1 start, which includes a comeback win over old GSAC rival Azusa Pacific. She said her team “played horrible” in the first half. “The worst I’ve seen my team play in a couple of years.”

The Warriors shot 8 for 28 and fell behind 33-20.

But they turned things around in the second half, scoring 51 points and outscoring the Cougars 29-10 in the fourth quarter for a 71-65 victory.

“That’s one of the most remarkable comebacks I’ve been apart of against a very good basketball team,” she said.

Moore pumped up the Dec. 8 home game against Vanguard. Vanguard is ranked third in the country and is picked to win the GSAC. Westmont is rated fifth in the NAIA poll.

UCSB Women: “A lot of people say don’t talk or complain and be the change you want to be. And that’s one of the reasons why I came back,” said Fisher about her return to the Gauchos to assist Henrickson.

Henrickson, who came from Kansas, has been coaching college basketball for 30 years. Fisher is relishing the chance to work with her.

“A woman never really tells her age but I’m 32, so Bonnie’s been coaching for almost longer than I’ve been alive,” Fisher said. “You can imagine how much I’m learning under her, and our players are learning a lot.”

UCSB men: Assistant coach Brandon Veltri said the Gauchos played “probably our most complete game from start to finish” in their 70-68 loss at Arizona State on Sunday. The Sun Devils won on a putback just before the buzzer.

He noted that newcomers like Maxwell Kupchak are making valuable contributions.

“We’re moving in the right direction and we’re pleased with the progress the team is making,” he said.

The Gauchos (2-3) play their third Pac-12 opponent on Thursday when they host USC.

San Marcos boys: Coach Landon Boucher has been impressed in the maturity of senior captain Scott Everman “It’s been really special to watch,” he said.

Boucher said when his players talked about what they can do better to help the team, Everman’s response was: “ ‘I need to be able to make everyone better when I’m on the court with them.’ The second thing was, ‘I want to make sure everybody is ready to practice every day.’ It has nothing to do with him other than how he serves the team. It’s amazing how that type of maturity has propelled him into unbelievable play.”

The UC San Diego-bound Everman scored 36 points in San Marcos’ season-opening win over Pioneer Valley.

The Royals play three home games this week: Tuesday against Arroyo Grande, Thursday versus Moorpark and Saturday against Irvine-University.

Providence boys:
Despite losing some players through transfers and graduation, coach Steve Stokes believes this year’s team has more depth.

“I’m feeling really good about our team this year,” he said. “Last year, we felt we could only go six deep. We go about nine deep this year, which has allowed us to compete at a higher level. I’m looking forward to having a good year.”

Stokes is counting on Caleb Jones and Ricky Beebe to lead the Patriots.

Carpinteria girls: Assistant coach Weldon Nomura said players like Ally James, Amelia Toral and Sierra Diaz are reasons why he coaches. “All three girls are special to me,” he said.

Nomura asked those in attendance to pray for the mother of Sierra Diaz and his sister-in-law Roxanne Nomura who are both battling cancer.

SBCC: The Vaqueros host College of the Canyons on Tuesday for a berth in the State Final Four.

San Marcos boys: First-year coach Daniel Torres said he wants to bring the program back to where it was before: winning Channel League and challenging for CIF titles. Torres introduced juniors Andrew Jacinto and Camilo Gonzagui, two of his five returning players.

Carpinteria boys: Coach Leo Quintero said he has a mix of three-year varsity players and newcomers. He brought two members of his defense, veteran goalkeeper and captain Lalo Delgado and centerback Roberto Alvarez.

The Warriors have a challenging non-league schedule that includes Oxnard, Rio Mesa, Fillmore, Pacifica, Bellflower, Bakersfield and Dos Pueblos.