|Position:||Director of Intercollegiate Athletics|
Chancellor Henry T. Yang appointed Mark Massari UC Santa Barbara's 13th Director of Athletics on August 18, 2008. Massari succeeded Dr. Gary Cunningham, who retired after leading the department to unprecedented success in competition and the classroom for 13 years.
He oversees an athletic department, with 20 Division I intercollegiate teams and 500 student-athletes, which has won more Big West Commissioner's Cups (for best all-around athletics program annually) than all other eight schools combined.
Bringing a strong background in external marketing, Massari launched the "Dare to Be Great" initiative in his first year. The strategic plan solidified traditions with a letterwinners program, created a first-ever annual giving effort, addressed facility improvements and strengthened student-athlete support and academic success.
Academically the Gauchos have soared, reaching an all time high 85% NCAA graduation success rate, second highest within the University of California system. UCSB is one of only 62 members of the distinguished Association of American Universities.
Massari established the Gaucho Fund to support all 20 programs resulting in the largest number of annual donors to athletics ever, including the first one million dollar gift to a women's program (basketball) and the largest single gift (two million dollars to support tennis) in UCSB Athletics history. In addition, the academics and student services wing of the Intercollegiate Athletics building was named in honor of Jim ('67) and Cheryl ('66) Barber in 2013.
He developed the "Walk of Champions" plan when launching the campaign for a new aquatics center, as a conceptual road map addressing capital projects sport-by-sport. The plan has raised funds for completed projects (Harder Stadium entrance renovation, new video board, field, press box upgrades, renovated basketball locker rooms and team rooms) or planned projects (baseball plaza entrance, track renovation, Thunderdome lobby upgrades). The department also successfully collaborated on referendum for facility improvements and maintenance for athletics and recreation shared venues.
During his tenure, men's soccer has led the nation in attendance and set the record for the largest on campus crowd in NCAA history. In addition, men's basketball earned consecutive NCAA appearances for first time in program history.
He has introduced a flurry of marketing, outreach and donor stewardship programs such as One Donation is Gold, The Gaucho Order letterwinners, Living Scholars level of giving, Legends of the Dome, Thunder Row, Gauchos Give, Dare magazine, Gauchos in Thirty television show, Great Examples, GKids, and the "This is Soccer Heaven" campaign for hosting the 2010 NCAA College Cup, the first national championship event held on campus in 35 years.
Massari has made several promising hires including women's basketball's Carlene Mitchell who led the program to its 14th NCAA appearance in her first season; baseball's Andrew Checketts who returned the Gauchos to a NCAA Regional for the first time in 12 years; former ACC Coach of the Year (Miami) Nicole Lantange Welch to lead one of the most successful women's volleyball programs in NCAA history and Simon Thibodeau who in his first season led women's tennis to its highest national ranking in 20 years.
A commitment to outreach has the Gauchos providing 5,000 hours collectively in community service each year, an all time high. The department also promotes the celebration of Hispanic Heritage and Black History Months each September and February respectively.
Massari previously served as senior associate athletics director for external affairs at Oregon State University. During his seven years in Corvallis, the Beavers successfully completed $115 million in capital projects, played in six football bowl games and won back-to-back baseball national championships.
Prior to working with the Pac-12 school, the California native spent three years directing the broadcast network for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers, its flagship and affiliates.
Massari spent five years with the University of Miami (Fla) leading sports marketing and sales for the Hurricanes. He began his career at Saint Mary's College in Moraga, Calif.
Massari played football at Sacramento State, earning a bachelor's degree in history, and has a master's degree from Duquesne University.
He and his wife Kimberly, a UC Berkeley grad, have a daughter Madeline and son Joseph.