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Swimmer doing breast stroke

Student-Athlete to Coach to Supporter

Bob Gary ’60,’67 has a long history of supporting UCSB aquatics

Bob Gary ’60,’67 received both his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from UC Santa Barbara in physical education. As an alumnus and assistant coach, he helped lead the UCSB Men’s Swim Team to UC Santa Barbara’s first ever NCAA title in 1967. The Garys’ charitable gift annuity in support of aquatic sports is an act of gratitude for campus, where Bob’s long career in coaching started.

UC Santa Barbara’s swimming program began while Bob was a student in the late 1950s. Bob played tennis first, and then switched to swimming and diving. His coaches could always count on him to jump in. When the swim team didn’t have enough competitors to allow the final relay team members to rest, the coach asked Bob to buy them time in the pool by swimming slowly. Bob jokes that he still has the slowest breaststroke record on campus.

He found that the Gaucho spirit of collaboration extended beyond sports at UC Santa Barbara.

“We had excellent professors all over campus,” said Bob. “If you had a problem or you needed to work on something, they were readily available. I am most grateful for the good education I got at UC Santa Barbara.”

Bob received more than an education on campus. When he was a student, two years of ROTC training was required for men and two additional years led to a commission as a second lieutenant. He was stationed in Germany after graduation.  

After his service, Bob returned to Santa Barbara to pursue a master’s degree in physical education, taught classes, and became an assistant swim and assistant diving coach. It was here that his 30-year career as a teacher and coach at the college level began. Bob’s support will help UC Santa Barbara swimmers and divers compete at their highest potential.

“Donor support means the world to our men’s and women’s swim team,” said Daniel Marella ’22. “As a program that isn’t fully funded, the swim team appreciates that philanthropy helps us get to the next level. Your generosity allows student-athletes to get more equipment, nicer facilities, and for our team to have a world class experience. We are so grateful!”

Bob’s charitable gift annuity with UC Santa Barbara allows him to receive a guaranteed income stream for the rest of his life.

“I’m really happy that my wife, Marsha, and I are financially able to donate money to the aquatics programs,” said Bob. “I’d like to encourage any UC Santa Barbara graduate who participated in athletics to consider donating money in their will or ahead of time, if they are capable.”