It has been a banner year for UCSB athletics. The Gauchos claimed Big West titles in men’s and women’s swimming and women’s basketball. Santa Barbara took second place in baseball, men’s golf and men’s cross country.

And now, to reward its excellence across all fields of play, UCSB has been awarded its first Big West Commissioner’s Cup as the Big West school with the best results from the 2000-01 season.

“I’m elated,” UCSB Athletic Director Gary Cunningham said of UCSB winning the Cup. “It is a true tribute to all of our coaches and student-athletes who work so hard.”

The Cup is awarded based on the total number of points earned during the 2000-01 season. Conference championships earn 100 points each, while other titles are worth a point value that fluctuates according to how many schools are participating in that particular sport. To calculate the final standings, each university’s total points are divided by the number of sports in which it competed to determine the university’s average points.

The Gauchos competed in 16 conference sports in their 2000-01 campaign, out of a possible 18, finishing with a total of 870 points, and an average of 54.4. This score was just good enough to best Irvine, which finished with 685 points and a 52.7 average. University of Pacific, which had won the last two Commissioner’s Cups, finished third with a 51.4 average.

Though UCSB finished first in the Big West, the school is by no means satisfied. Many sports have room for improvement, and in the competitive world of sports, even the Gauchos’ first-place teams hold only a slim advantage over their opponents. Thus, Cunningham has promised that Santa Barbara will continue its efforts to improve the quality of its athletic department.

“We’re going to try and be as good as we can within the resources that we have,” Cunningham said. “Some sports don’t have enough funding to compete at a level we would like. If they have the funding, they have the coaches that can win. … Right now, we’re going to continue to improve our program. We’re working hard on fund raising, hopefully attendance will improve, and we will keep moving ahead.”

One sport Cunningham will focus on improving this summer is softball. The Gauchos currently have a coaching vacancy after the resignation of former coach Liz Kelly, which UCSB hopes to fill during the offseason.

“We’ve advertised for the position nationally,” Cunningham said. “We’re in the process of collecting r