If anybody has reason to be bitter about the stoppage of play in college basketball because of the Coronavirus, it’s California-Santa Barbara men’s basketball coach Joe Pasternack.
But you won’t hear that from Pasternack, who moved from Ferriday to New Orleans with his family at the age of five.
“This virus really puts things into perspective,” Pasternack said. “We had won eight of our last 10 games and were ready to make a run for the tournament. But I told our guys if this is the worst thing to happen to you, you are going to be OK.”
The Gauchos finished the regular season in a tie for second place, earning a No. 3 seed in the Big West Conference Tournament.
Cal-Santa Barbara was set to face UC Riverside in a quarterfinal contest of the tournament on March 12. The tournament was going to be held at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Ca.
UC Santa Barbara tied Cal State Northridge for second place. The Matadors swept the Gauchos in the regular season series between the two schools.
UCSB finished the regular season with a 21-10 record, going 10-6 in the Big West.
Pasternack said he does not expect seniors to be granted another year of eligibility.
UCSB had won two consecutive games, winning five of its last six and eight of its last 10. After opening the Big West schedule by losing three of four, Santa Barbara went 8-3.
“This is definitely one of the best teams I’ve had here,” said Pasternack, who has spent three years at Cal-Santa Barbara. “It’s a crazy time.”
Pasternack said he checked on his family and everyone is fine in New Orleans.
“They are staying in their house,” he said. “My dad (Joe Pasternack Jr.) is such a grinder. He is 87 and works six days a week. He cannot stand not being able to do anything.”
The 20 wins this season marked the third straight year that the program has hit the 20-win total.
In the last three seasons the Gauchos have won 23, 22 and 21 games, a total of 66. This is the second time in school history that they have won 20 or more games in three consecutive seasons with the only other time coming from 1987-90 under head coach Jerry Pimm as the program posted 22, 21 and 21 wins respectively for a total of 64.
In his first three seasons as head coach at UCSB, Pasternack’s teams have won 66 games, the most ever by a coach in his first three years at the school. The previous record of 42 wins was set by Bob Williams from 1998-2001.
In fact, the wins over Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly to close the regular season moved Pasternack past Jerry Pimm for the most wins by a Gaucho head coach over a three-year span at any point during their career.
Pimm’s team’s went 22-8 in 1987-88 and then 21-9 in both 1988-89 and 1989-90 for a record of 64-26. Williams’ highest total of victories over any three-year period came from 2007-10 when his teams won 59 games.
The Gauchos won 12 home games in each of Pasternack’s first two seasons as head coach and the 37 home wins the last three years are the most in school history.
“We didn’t want to be a one-year wonder,” Pasternack said. “We want to be consistent, which can be the hardest thing to do. But I feel like we have done that and will continue to build on that.”
And that means to keep working hard no matter the circumstances surrounding him.
“I can’t do anything else, so I am going to be recruiting,” Pasternack said. “It’s a matter of making a bunch of phone calls now.”