What a great way to end another banner year for Gaucho Athletics. It was a year where we saw Big West Championships, NCAA Tournaments, and All-Americans.
The top honors of the night went to Orlando Johnson who was named Male Athlete of the Year and RebeccaSaraceno who took home Female Athlete of the Year.
Orlando (OJ) Johnson led the Gauchos back to the promise land this season as he led the conference in scoring. He took home many trophies this season as he was named Big West MVP, 1st Team All-Big West, Big West Tournament MVP, 1st Team All-Big West Tournament, AP Honorable Mention All-American, Mid Major All-American, and All-District. Mr. Johnson is going to need a big trophy case.
RebeccaSaraceno was the Big West MVP this season in volleyball. She recorded 4.55 kills per set and 2.66 digs per set. She also was AP Honorable Mention All-American, All-District, and 1st Team All-Big West.
The Men's Basketball team took home Team of the Year. They were the Big West Regular Season and Tournament Champions and represented the Big West in the Big Dance.
The Women's Track and Field team took home the other Team of the Year award. The ladies were ranked as high as #33 in the country during the season.
The Coach of the Year was Bob Williams of Men's Basketball and for the women it was Kathy Gregory of Women's Volleyball.
The Male Newcomer of the Year was Orlando Johnson. Let's put it this way, OJ is going to win a lot of awards during his next two years in Gaucho blue and gold. My bold prediction: A 2nd Round Draft Pick in 2012 NBA Draft.
The Female Newcomer of the Year was Mekia Valentine of Women's Basketball who set the school record for blocks in a season and also led the Lady Gauchos in scoring.
Between the awards, my man Matt in the Video Department made some great Ole videos and my favorite, I.V. Shore. I.V. Shore is a whole lot better than Jersey Shore. The 10 minute skit was about Ole going to live with some UCSB athletes such as "Big Sexy" Greg Somogyi, Mike "The Diesel" Ford, and Dana "Buns" Vargas. In the end, he is kicked out.
To recap the night, Men's Basketball won the most awards. Very deserving. Congrats to all 450 student-athletes on great years! Personally, I liked meeting new Men's Basketball assistant coach Kevin Bromley. He is a great coach and he will make a big impact.
In this spring signing period, lots of players like to move schools. UCSB got one of those kids. The new player for the Gauchos is Nate Garth. Garth is a point guard who is transferring from the New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos won 30 games this past season.
Garth played two years for the Lobos. This past season, Garth averaged 4.1 ppg, 3.1 apg, 1.1 rpg in 16 minutes a game.
Garth will become eligible in 2011-2012. By NCAA rules every transfer has to sit a year. Hopefully he will be worth the wait just like Orlando Johnson was.
This is what Garth had to say about joining the Gauchos family. "I'm excited about the opportunity to play at UCSB. With the team they already have it should be fun. I'm hoping to come in, make plays, and help the team the best I can."
Nate Garth is originally from Sacramento, CA. He graduated high school though from Hamilton High School in Memphis, TN. As a junior, Garth played at Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, TX.
Go Gauchos and welcome to the Gaucho family Nate Garth!!!!
It was a great year for Gaucho sports. Numerous teams won the Big West and played in the NCAA Tournament. There were multiple award winners in every sport. So to cap the great year off, the UCSB Athletics Department holds the SB Awards. It is the ESPY's of UCSB Athletics. So below are my predictions.
Male Athlete of the Year: MilosGolic, Water Polo Reason: I wanted to pick Orlando Johnson but Milos was selected to 1st Team All-American. He is a four time All-American. Honorable Mention: Orlando Johnson (Basketball), Jeff Menzel (Volleyball), David Walker (Soccer)
Female Athlete of the Year: Anne Marie May, Swimming Reason: She was the Big West Swimmer of the Year and made it to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in four years,
Men's Coach of the Year: Bob Williams, Basketball Reason: I know Tim VomSteeg led the Gauchos in soccer to the Sweet 16, but it was a great comeback year for the Gauchos as they won 20 games, Big West Regular Season, and the Big West Tournament.
Women's Coach of the Year: Gregg Wilson, Swimming Reason: Led the Gauchos to another Big West title and was the Big West Coach of the Year.
Male Newcomer of the Year: Michael Nonni, Soccer Reason: Scored 6 goals and recorded 6 assists has he helped the Gauchos back to the Sweet 16.
Female Newcomer of the Year: Mekia Valentine, Basketball Reason: She came as a transfer and proved to be a force leading the Gauchos in rebounding and setting the school record for blocks in a season.
Male Performance of the Year: Orlando Johnson and James Nunnally vs. Long Beach State Reason: The duo combined for 39 points and 11 rebounds to lead the Gauchos back to the Big Dance!
Men's Team of the Year: Soccer Reason: Won the Big West Regular Season and advanced all the way too the NCAA Sweet 16.
Female Team of the Year: Volleyball Reason: The storied program went back to the NCAA Tournament behind All-American RebeccaSaraceno.
I will not be predicting some of the other awards because it is too hard. Well there you have it, the best Gauchos from 2009-2010. GREAT JOB ALL 20 SPORTS!
On Thursday, Bob Williams announced the hiring of former Cal Poly coach Kevin Bromley to be on the Men's Basketball coaching staff.
Bob Williams said "Kevin has more experience in the Big West Conference than anybody except Bob Thomason."
Bromley's most successful season at Cal Poly was 2006-2007 when the Mustangs finished with a 9-5 record and a 2nd place finish in the Big West. They reached the title game for the 2nd time in school history that season.
Bromley is taking over for the departed Brad Holland.
With the departure of assistant coach Brad Holland earlier this week, Coach Williams will have to find a new assistant coach.
Brad Holland left to become the Executive Director of the Carlsbad Boys and Girls Club earlier this week. He spent two positive seasons with the Gauchos where he helped the team to the NCAA Tournament.
Brad's specialty was his shooting. In the NBA with the Lakers, Brad was known as a shooter. He helped improve UCSB great James Powell with his stroke and also helped me with my shot at the UCSB Basketball Summer Camp.
So now the candidates. Coach Williams will have to find a coach with a good amount of experience and also he will have to be able to be the shooting coach.
I would predict that Coach Williams takes a coach with experience in the Big West and possibly a present day Big West assistant to come to the beautiful city of Santa Barbara.
All I can say is that Coach will find a great guy and we shall see who he picks in the coming days.
James Powell had a much improved senior season due to Brad Holland