The Gregg and Carol Wilson Swimming Enhancement Fund
Legendary swimming coach Gregg Wilson (entering his 40th year at UC Santa Barbara) announced his retirement from head coaching in October 2015. Wilson embarked on his Gaucho journey in 1975-76 when he assumed the reins of the men’s program. In 1985, after spending one year at his alma mater Cal, he took control of the women’s program as well. What followed was a period of unprecedented success for both programs.
He coached his UCSB men’s team to the Big West Conference title in 1979, beginning a run of 23 consecutive championships for the Gauchos, all but one coming with him at the helm of the program. In 1985, Wilson coached the women’s team to the first of 13 championships over a 25-year stretch, giving him 36 total Big West titles. In his illustrious career, he was named Big West Coach of the Year 27 times and Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Coach of the Year twice. On the national level, Wilson guided 72 swimmers to All-American status, while on the international stage he coached three Olympians with Team USA, including gold medalists Richard Schroeder and Jason Lezak.
Much more difficult to measure than the All-Americans, conference titles and coach of the year honors are the scores of athletes that were influenced by Wilson during his four decades in coaching.
Established in 2015 by the UCSB Athletics Department, the Gregg and Carol Wilson Swimming Enhancement Fund affirms the strong tradition of excellence that the Wilson’s have provided to the swim programs. This fund, used at the discretion of the Swimming Head Coach and the Athletic Director, supports the men’s and women’s teams in its primary mission of developing student athletes who are committed to academic excellence in the classroom, sportsmanship and success in the pool, and service to the community.
The fund assists the teams by helping to:
- Provide supplimential support to the operational budgets.
- Sustain the presence of an NCAA Division I Swimming Program at UCSB.
- Recruit the most promising student-athletes through scholarships.
To contribute to this fund:
- Pay online: visit gauchofund.com and select “Donate Now” at the top of the page and select The Gregg and Carol Wilson Swimming Enhancement Fund.
- Respond by mail: make your check payable to the UC Regents, specifying the Gregg and Carol Wilson Swimming Enhancement Fund and return to:
- The Gaucho Fund
- ICA Building
- Santa Barbara, CA 93106-5200
- Pay by phone: call the Gaucho Fund Office at 805-893-5372.
For more information on this giving opportunity, contact:
Associate Director of Development
Behind the Grind: The Indispensability of Assistant Coaches
While the spotlight may illuminate the stars of the show, it fails to highlight the efforts of those who work behind the scenes to put on the whole production. Those who work tirelessly to ensure that all the small details come together cohesively so that when it all comes down to it, the show goes on and runs smoothly. Assistant coaches are just that: the backbone of UCSB Athletics, addressing all the meticulous details in order to ensure that their teams are champions.
Assistant coaches are hard to track down, given their busy workload. If they happen to be in the office and they aren't furiously typing away at their inbox full of emails or their painstakingly compiled training records, they're in meetings with other coaches or UCSB Athletics staff. If they happen to be out training and they aren't in the weight room working on new movements and reps, they're out on the field with their team and getting hands-on at practice. It almost seems as though there is little time for anything else. At least, that's what their dedication indicates. Cody Fleming, Associate Head Coach of Track & Field and Throws Coach, absolutely exudes a superior level of dedication. As a former athlete who transferred to the University of Oregon and competed in the decathlon for the Ducks, renowned for their notable legacy in Track & Field, Fleming admitted that while he competed on a top team, he was not necessarily its star athlete. "I wasn't the most gifted athlete, so I had to work really hard" he commented, recounting how he took extra time to study the sport and its fundamentals in addition to physically training, talking to coaches and reading up at the library in order to understand how to be a better athlete and maximize his training. This interest in doing more than just training eventually led him to coaching, where he could apply both his experience and his knowledge.
Now his dedication is rooted in pushing his athletes to surpass their expectations and compete at a championship level every day. Each day is spent building meaningful relationships with his athletes, showing them that he is just as invested in their personal success as they are themselves. "It's just as important to have the perfect training program with the right volumes and intensities as it is for me to get an athlete to really buy into what we're trying to do, and to trust me and believe in me," Fleming remarked, acknowledging one of the more important aspects of being an assistant coach. And his athletes totally buy into it: in only 5 years so far with UCSB, Fleming has already made some impressive contributions to the program. He's coached 16 Big West Champions, 4 NCAA Finals qualifiers, 40 Top-8 Big West Champion athletes, and the 2015 Big West Scholar Athlete of the Year winner Albert Hughes. His teams have also won 4 out of last 5 Big West decathlon titles, and Fleming himself has been nominated twice for NCAA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year. Those kinds of stats only come from someone who's willing to put in the maximum effort in order to achieve greatness, and whose attitude revolves around putting together the smaller pieces in order to achieve a greater goal. One of the mantras Fleming repeats to his athletes is "have a Big West moment every day" because according to him, "if you want to be a Big West champion every day, you have to do something a Big West champion would do." Regardless of his achievements, it is this very tenacity, the acceptance that in order to be the best you have to do your best every day, that makes Fleming such an effective and respectable assistant coach.
Just down the hall from Fleming, Greg Wilson sits in his office within the Men's Soccer suite, eyes fixed on his computer with unparalleled focus as he types away. Wilson, another remarkable assistant coach, is clearly no stranger to the success that comes from diving right into his work. Having been with the Men's Soccer program at UCSB for 10 seasons, Wilson has seen the Gauchos through to many a postseason, including a National Championship title in 2006. And it's not just his work on the field with the players during practices or his success in having recruited top-tier athletes to play as Gauchos - Wilson's true talent lies in his ability to combine experience with creative concepts. Coming from a family with an educational background, as his parents were both teachers, Wilson describes his transition from playing to coaching as a "natural transition." After playing for Philadelphia University, Wilson became an assistant coach at the University of Pennsylvania, returned to Philadelphia University as their head coach, and then eventually made his way to Santa Barbara where he currently serves as the Associate Head Coach.
With years of coaching experience under his belt, it's understandable that Wilson would have bountiful expertise to contribute to the team. But his expertise in soccer isn't all he offers, and it's his creativity in marketing that makes him a valuable asset to the team. He is practically singlehandedly responsible for the team's popularity within the surrounding communities, catering to the needs of every facet: its youth, its students, and the city of Santa Barbara. Explaining his theory of how marketing impacts the team's well-being, Wilson states, "There's a direct correlation between our ability to recruit and our gameday environment," meaning that the more effort the team puts into engaging the community, the more support/attention it receives. Noting the attention students gave the "big game" that Fox televised between UCSB and VCU in the Final Four postseason game in 2004, Wilson decided that if he could make every game the "big game" he could peak student interest in game attendance and enhance the gameday experience. Attending games now, it's hard to believe that once upon a time people weren't flooding into Harder Stadium on a regular basis, cheering on the Gauchos and breaking attendance records. The gameday experience is something this team has grown and perfected, and for good reason. "Gameday actually means something here when 10,000 people show up" Wilson explains, elaborating that UCSB's particularly impressive attendance record "puts extra emphasis on that we need to get this right." He elaborates, explaining that "we not only want to make sure that we win, but that we play the right way. We want to make sure that the style and the way we play is attractive and entertaining so that people actually want to come watch and see it again." Everything in the way that they market themselves, right down to their style of play, is meticulously coordinated and packaged together in order to not only entertain the community but involve them. By infusing an entertaining playing style with their consistency in winning games and ability to attract big-name opponents, Men's Soccer keeps fans coming back to see more and be part of the fun.
Not only has Wilson absolutely nailed the way in which the team markets themselves to students, he's also been instrumental in the way it's connected itself to youth soccer programs. The team is involved with AYSO and regularly hosts soccer clinics for kids, allowing young developing players to expand their skills and their interest in the sport with the help of older and more experienced players. The team's involvement with AYSO also gives young players a chance to connect with their role models in person, and motivates them to go watch them play on game day as well. Though students do make up a majority of those in attendance, it is also common to see younger fans in the crowd, sporting their youth soccer jerseys and keeping their eyes glued to their favorite UCSB players. And, of course, when the kids come, so do their parents. By involving the youth soccer community, the team has successfully managed to also involve a broader community of adult fans as well, expanding their demographic and appealing to a wider audience than just kids and students. Thanks to Wilson's observations and ideas, Men's Soccer attendance has never been higher, and it's no wonder the team has become the poster child of UCSB Athletics.
It's assistant coaches like Cody Fleming and Greg Wilson who make the difference between keeping programs running and keeping programs thriving. By going above and beyond for their teams, putting extra effort into the areas needed to make the teams function at a higher level, they exemplify that assistant coaches don't exist to stand idly by as head coaches make all the decisions. Assistant coaches are, without a doubt, involved with and invaluable to their programs. Their contributions might seem ordinary: ideas, experience, knowledge, and an overwhelming dedication to their sport and their athletes. But once those elements all come together and connect in the right ways, they elevate their teams to extraordinary levels.
New Baseball Stadium Enhancements
$1,000,000 – $10,000,000
UCSB has one of the top Baseball programs in the nation. In 2015 UCSB hosted a NCAA Regional Tournament as the #16 seed overall. However, due to our current home facility the program was forced to host the Regional in Lake Elsinore. Proposed upgrades include lights for night games, field upgrades, scoreboard, permanent restrooms, concessions and entry plaza. This will allow UCSB to host first class events and enrich the experience of our student-athletes and the Santa Barbara community.