UC SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A school-record 27 wins last year and a second trip to the NCAA Tournament in the past three years has brought some much needed 'thunder' back into the Thunderdome.
Head coach Joe Pasternack feels the Gauchos can go even further as he signed a 5-year contract extension in the offseason despite strong interest from bigger programs.
The Santa Barbara community has taken notice as attendance and interest is up for UCSB hoops.
"You bet on people in life so once I got to know Joe I bet on Joe," said 1966 UCSB graduate Jeff Henley.
A few years ago he gave a 3 million dollar gift to upgrade the seating at the Thunderdome.
"What he has done is transformational," began Pasternack who came to UCSB in the spring of 2017 following a 6-win season by the Gauchos.
Describing what Henley has meant to his program Pasternack said, "For us we are very fortunate to have him and it really helps us with recruiting."
UCSB landed its highest-rated player ever this off-season with the transfer of Auburn forward Yohan Traore who was a 5-star recruit out of high school.
With Traore along with reigning Big West Player of the Year Ajay Mitchell the Gauchos are expected to make a run at another Big West crown.
Pasternack has gone 132-53 in his six seasons at UCSB.