UC Santa Barbara baseball pitcher Dillon Tate has been drafted fourth overall in the Major League Baseball amateur draft, the highest a Gaucho has ever been selected. Tate was drafted by the Texas Rangers after a year in which he struck out 111 batters in 103 innings and posted an 8-5 record. He joins a star studded list of Gauchos that have gone on to the major leagues, including Skip Schumacher, Michael Young and Derek Holland.
Prior to Tate’s selection the highest a Gaucho had ever been selected was 77th, back in 1980. Tate was the ace of a Gaucho team that ended up ranked 13th in the nation with an overall record of 40-17-1. They hosted the NCAA regional, though the game was played in Lake Elsinore, and lost both games.
UCSB pitcher Justin Jacombe was drafted in the fifth round by the Florida Marlins as the 146 player selected in the amateur draft. The junior, who went 7-5 with an ERA of 2.70 in 2015, indicated he would sign a contract with the Marlins and be available for assignment.
Willie Wilton ’36 and Lowell Steward ’42, were honored by the Santa Barbara Basketball Court of Champions May 31. They were among six coaches and players from UC Santa Barbara that were recognized for their achievements on the basketball court.
Wilton was hired as a head coach in 1937 and coached for 20 years at UCSB, compiling an overall record of 205-163. Steward, who later gained national fame as one of the Tuskegee Airman during World War II, was the teams first African-American captain and helped lead the team to the semifinals in the NAIA tournament. Because he was black and the tournament was played in the South, he was not allowed to compete, but when his team wanted to boycott the tournament, he urged them to play.
Also honored were Cori Close ’92 and her contemporary, Barb Beainy, ’92. Close was the first Gaucho to amass 1,000 points and 500 assists. She is currently head coach of the UCLA Bruins, who won the WNIT tournament this year. Beainy led the team to its first Big West championship and is now the director of UCSB’s Wellness and Fitness program.
Also honored were Gene Snyder, who played for Wilton and went on to become one of the most successful coaches in Santa Barbara High School history, and Jim Eyen, ’79, an assistant coach at UCSB from 1984-88 and then went on to a 26-year coaching career in the NBA. He is currently an assistant on the Los Angeles Lakers staff.
UC Santa Barbara Athletic Director John McCutcheon announced he has hired University of Kansas head basketball coach Bonnie Henrickson to lead the Gauchos women’s program. The hiring came after the firing of third-year coach Carlene Mitchell, who posted a 2-27 record during the 2014-15 season.
Henrickson was herself fired by Kansas after a 15-17 season in which her team was 6-12 in the Big Twelve Conference. Henrickson coached at Kansas for 11 years and took the team to the Sweet 16 on two occasions. She previously was head coach at Virginia Tech and during her seven years there the team went 158-62.
She was a star player at St. Cloud State University in Minnesota and went on to receive her master’s degree at Western Illinois University while serving as a graduate assistant coach. She was an assistant and later associate head coach at Iowa and Virginia Tech.
Santa Barbara’s Barbara Nwaba ’12 clinched a national title in the Heptathalon on Sunday at the USA Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., earning a trip to the IAAF World Championships later this summer in Beijing, China. Nwaba’s score of 6,500 points is the 6th U.S. all-time Heptathlon mark and is ranked 5th in the world in 2015. Since 2012, Nwaba has been the runner-up at the 2012 NCAA Division I Championships, 2014 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships and the 2015 USA Indoor Track & Field Championships.
Standout star, Alan Williams,'15 of the UC Santa Barbara men’s basketball team has signed a summer contract with the Charlotte Hornets of the NBA. Williams will play in a 10-team tournament that runs from July 4-10. Williams was not drafted in the NBA draft, a surprise on local and national sports circles. He led the Gauchos in scoring and led the nation in rebounding during his career at UC Santa Barbara.