Seven-time Big West Coach of the Year
Four-time AVCA West Region Coach of the Year
1993 AVCA National Coach of the Year
USBVA Hall of Fame member
The legendary Kathy Gregory announced she was retiring as head coach in January 2013 after 38 years at the helm of one of the most iconic programs in women's volleyball. However, her service at UCSB has continued, as she searched on the search committee to hire current coach Nicole Lantagne Welch and is currently assisting the department's evaluation of adding sand volleyball as an intercollegiate sport.
For Kathy Gregory, it was a grand career. In her 38 seasons as the first head coach in UC Santa Barbara women's volleyball history, "The Queen" amassed the fifth-most wins in Division I history with a career record of 882-412 (.682), guided the Gauchos to 27 NCAA Championships, and saw her teams finished ranked among the nation's top-25 on 27 occasions.
On Sept. 6, 2008 vs. Utah State, Gregory became one of just eight collegiate coaches - and only five Division I coaches - in history to record 800 victories. She is also a seven-time Big West Coach of the Year, a four-time AVCA West Region Coach of the Year and is already in the USBVA Hall of Fame. In 2009 after leading the Gauchos to a 22-win season and reaching the NCAA Tournament, Gregory was named Big West Co-Coach of the Year.
On Nov. 24, 2009, Gregory coached her 1,200th career match, becoming one of just five active coaches to coach that many matches. The Gauchos defeated the Aztecs, 3-2 in the match.
On Sept. 12, 2003, Gregory's career became grand - literally - as she coached her 1,000th match at UCSB, a 3-1 victory over American University during the Arizona Invitational. That was only one of many milestones in the distinguished career of Gregory, who easily owns the lengthiest tenure of any coach in the history of UCSB Athletics.
While these impressive statistics are a testament to her longevity, so is the respect the one-of-a-kind Gregory has gained throughout her four-plus decades of involvement on the collegiate, professional, and international levels of the sport she loves. In addition to earning one National and four Regional Coach of the Year awards, Gregory's dominance as a competitor led to her being named one of the 10 most influential people in the sport of volleyball over the last 30 years and a member of two separate volleyball halls of fame.
Gregory's coaching career started at UCSB with the inception of the women's volleyball program in 1975. In that inaugural season she piloted the Gauchos to a 10-10 mark. Over the next 33 years Santa Barbara would record 20 or more victories 27 times, and has only once finished with a sub-.500 record. Some of the Gauchos' greatest postseason success has come in the last decade with three Elite Eight and two Sweet 16 appearances. In 1997 "The Queen" guided UCSB to its first NCAA Regional Final and a season-ending ranking of fifth in the nation.
The Gauchos began 1998 with a 13-0 record, reaching No. 3 in the national polls - highest in program history - and concluded their campaign by returning to the Sweet 16. Gregory's troops kept the ball of NCAA Tournament success going in 1999 and 2000 with back-to-back trips to the Elite Eight after pulling off upset victories in the regional semifinals both years. Even during her 28th season in Santa Barbara, Gregory was able to establish a number of career "firsts." In 2002 the Gauchos won their first-ever outright Big West Conference regular season title with a perfect 18-0 league mark and hosted NCAA Regional play in the Thunderdome for the first time. Gregory was rewarded for her team's school-record 23-match winning streak, best-ever 30-3 (.909) overall record, and another Sweet 16 appearance with her fourth AVCA Regional Coach of the Year Award.
For three consecutive seasons from 2003-05, UCSB captured the Big West Conference crown with Gregory repeating as Big West Coach of the Year, raising her career total to six such awards.
From 2002-07 her Gauchos have posted a sparkling conference record of 68-14 (.829), easily the best five-year Big West run in program history. The 2005 campaign saw yet another milestone, as Gregory guided UCSB to an undefeated home record (8-0) for the first time, giving her squad a school-record 16-match home winning streak that spanned three seasons.
Meanwhile, the 1993 season epitomized Gregory's coaching excellence. Ranked 17th nationally in the preseason, the Gauchos finished the year at No. 4 with a 28-4 overall record and a co-Big West Conference championship. Santa Barbara's jump in the polls was the biggest by any team in the country that season.Gregory was rewarded for her team's overachievement with AVCA/Tachikara National Coach of the Year honors.
While building her foundation of success at UCSB, Gregory dominated the sport as a competitor for more than 15 years. After being awarded Women's Beach Tournament Player of the Year in 1976, 1977, 1978, 1981 and 1983, Gregory was crowned "Queen of the Beach." Over that period she captured two world championships and became only the third woman enshrined into the Volleyball Hall of Fame on October 21, 1989. The first two were former Olympic team members Flo Hyman and Jane Ward. "The Queen" is still active on the beach volleyball scene and can frequently be seen on Santa Barbara's East Beach.
In 1996 she became the senior-most player in the nation to earn her AAA Beach rating, the highest mark a player can attain on the sand. With longtime partner Kathy Hanley, she won the Santa Barbara Bud Light Tournament. Gregory was also named a USVBA All-American for the 16th time at the National Championships in Dallas in 1996.
Her competitive experience was not limited to the beach as she served as captain of the professional San Diego Breakers of the IVA - where she was a teammate of basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain - and played on the 1968 U.S. Pan American and World Games squads. In 1997 the sum of these accomplishments was recognized as Gregory became the 12th woman inducted into the United States Volleyball Association Hall of Fame.
Yet another accolade came in 2003 when she was named to the USVBA's All-Era Team from 1949-1979. Gregory has also contributed to nationally-televised volleyball broadcasts. She served as a color commentator for ESPN's Women's Professional Beach Tour on which she gained recognition for her "In the Crowd" pieces. She also commentated for the Prime Sports network and most recently served as a studio analyst for College Sports Television's coverage of the 2004 NCAA Tournament.
Aside from what she has given to the sport of volleyball, Gregory has been recognized for her contributions to the advancement of women's athletics. In 1981 she was given the Salute to Women Award for her devotion to women's growth in sports. Gregory was also recently named as one of only five coaches nominated for the Women's Sports Foundation Hall of Fame, an organization which honors outstanding contributions to women's athletics.
Gregory's Milestone Victories
9/18/80 vs. Cal Poly
10/24/81 vs. USC
9/16/83 vs. Nevada
9/14/85 vs. Rhode Island
9/11/87 vs. Tennessee
10/7/89 at San Diego State
10/11/91 at Fresno State
10/19/93 at Cal State Northridge
9/26/95 at Cal State Fullerton
9/20/97 vs. Oklahoma
9/3/99 vs. Illinois
11/11/00 vs. Cal State Fullerton
12/6/02 vs. Fresno State
10/1/05 vs. UC Irvine
9/6/08 vs. Utah State
9/9/2011 vs. North Dakota