Dec. 30, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Ken Preston, easily the winningest coach in UC Santa Barbara men's volleyball history and one of the winningest active coaches in the nation, will retire following the 2008 season, his 30th as head of the Gaucho program, he announced Sunday. Preston will remain a member of the UCSB Athletics Department through the end of 2008 and will assist in the search for his successor in the spring.
"This just feels like the right time," Preston said. "I wanted to do this at a time that would allow my successor an opportunity to attend Junior Olympics and have things in place for the November (National Letter of Intent) signing period. I also wanted to announce it before the season to get it out of the way and allow the focus of the rest of the season to be on the team."
Preston began his UCSB head coaching career in 1979. In his 29 seasons, he has compiled a 506-364 overall record for a winning percentage of .582. He has guided the program to 21 of its 29 seasons of .500 or better, including 19 winning seasons. His teams have qualified for 19 postseason appearances and in 1988, Preston's squad advanced to the NCAA Final Four and then the NCAA Championship match.
In 2007, UCSB had one of its most successful seasons in several years with a 20-14 overall record and a 14-8 mark in the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation (MPSF). The Gauchos, who climbed as high as No. 3 in the national rankings, posted a victory over visiting UCLA in the quarterfinals of the MPSF Tournament to cap the campaign. Preston recorded his 500th career win with a victory at IPFW in March.
"When I look back at my career, I am really amazed that it's been this long," Preston said. "Sometimes I think I'll wake-up and it will have been five years, not 30. I'll remember the players that I've been able to coach. Things go up-and-down in terms of wins and losses, but it's the relationships that last, and in the end, that's what matters the most."
"Ken Preston has has been a valuable member of our coaching staff," said UCSB Athletics Director Gary Cunningham. "He has been dedicated and loyal and will be missed greatly. Ken is an outstanding coach, but he is also an outstanding person and he will be missed on all levels."
Before taking over at UCSB, Preston served as head coach at Cal Poly, and then at Wright State in Dayton, Ohio. He also spent two seasons as the interim head coach for the Westmont College women's volleyball team, guiding the Warriors to a fifth-place finish at the NAIA National Tournament in 1990. Westmont posted a 50-18 mark during Preston's tenure.
In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Preston has spent time coaching at the international level. He served as the Team Leader for the United States National Team at the World University Games in Turkey during the summer of 2005. In the summer of 2000, he was an assistant coach on the U.S. Olympic Team in Sydney, Australia. In the summer of 1985, Preston was the head coach of the U.S. team at the World University Games in Kobe, Japan, and in 1984 he was an assistant for the U.S. Team as it toured Brazil. The previous year, 1983, Preston was an assistant for the national team at the Pan American Games in Caracas, Venezuela, and in 1982 he served as assistant at the World Championships in Argentina. He also held assistant posts for the U.S. squad at the 1979 World University Games in Mexico City and at the 1978 World Championships in Italy.
A search for Preston's successor will take place in the spring. Cunningham said that Preston will be a key member of the committee assigned to select the new coach.