Mark French

Mark French, Hall of Fame Coach

Mark French, Hall of Fame Coach

In 2008 Mark French retired from a storied 21 years at the helm of the UC Santa Barbara Women’s Basketball program.

In his tenure, French set school records in wins with 438 and winning percentage with .687. The seven-time Big West Coach of the Year enjoyed a winning record for his last 18 years at UCSB and 13 consecutive post-season appearances. His Gauchos won 12 Big West Tournament titles – including nine-straight from 1997-2005 – and appeared in the NCAA Tournament 12 times with seven victories and a “Sweet Sixteen” appearance in 2004.

French’s 1999-2000 team finished the season ranked #9 in the final AP poll with a 30-4 record – the most wins for a Gaucho team ever. In 2002-03 he was named the WCBA Region 8 Coach of the Year as well as a Naismith National Coach of the Year finalist. UCSB named French a “Legend of the Dome” in 2010 and inducted him into the Athletic Department Hall of Fame in 2012.

French also received a Certificate of Congressional Recognition as University Educator of the Year, presented by Lois Capps in 2005 and the UCSB Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award in 2008.

Before coming to UCSB, French enjoyed coaching stints at Dos Pueblos High School, Westmont College (baseball), University of the Pacific (baseball and women’s basketball) and Idaho State University. He has 536 career college wins.

French’s proudest athletic achievement is the 98 percent graduation rate for UCSB women’s basketball players over 21 years.

French continues to live in Santa Barbara with his partner Paula Rudolph; his children are Nolan and Tracy French. He serves on the Board of Directors of Just Communities and the UCSB Alumni Association as well as on the Executive Committee of the UCSB Athletic Department Gaucho Order.