The UCSB men’s basketball program hired David Campbell as the team’s new assistant coach.

Campbell arrives in Santa Barbara with plenty of experience under his belt, having recently left an assistant coaching job at Loyola Marymount after one year and an associate head coach position at Kansas State six years before working for the Lions last season. Campbell will be filling a vacancy created by former assistant coach Pete Padgett’s departure at the end of the 2000-01 season.

“David brings with him a wealth of great connections in the Midwest and on the West Coast,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Williams said in a media release. “He spent six years at Kansas State and did a great job recruiting the Midwest. He was also an outstanding college post player, and he will take over the duties of working with our post players. We think David can help us get to the next level in the building of our program.”

Padgett worked with the Gauchos’ interior players during his one-year tenure at Santa Barbara. Padgett spent 20 years coaching at the high school level in the state of Nevada, and he decided to return to Reno High where his son, David, is on the basketball team.

“Coach Padgett did a great job with us last year,” sophomore center J.J. Todd said. “Just look at [senior forward Mike Vukovich’s] improvement. Adama [Ndiaye], Casey [Cook] and [Vukovich] all became better players, even though [Padgett] was here only a year.”

Campbell spent some time catching waves and recruits at Pepperdine for six years before his six-year stay for the Wildcats. Campbell began his coaching career with a head job at St. Mary’s, the university he graduated from, also for six years. In between these schools, Campbell was an assistant at Weber State in the 1987-88 season.

Yet by coaching for the Waves, Williams, Campbell and current fourth year UCSB Assistant Coach Marty Davis all began relationships with each other.

“David and I have been close personal friends since 1988 when we first met as assistants at Pepperdine,” Williams said. “We have looked for opportunities to work together since then, and this was a perfect fit.”

Though several of the players interviewed were unaware of the coaching change, they all took the new hiring in stride, even though Campbell will be the third assistant coach in the past three years whose emphasis is in dealing with post players.

“I think it’s a really good [hiring],” Vukovich said. “Bob Williams has been in this business a long time. So you know he’s going to pick the person that goes will with the program, that’s going to fit in our family real well.”