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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Phil Womble, UCSB’s Mr. Gaucho, Passes Away at 80

University's Hall of Fame was named after man who was an ardent supporter of athletics for nearly 50 years

Phil Womble, UCSB’s Mr. Gaucho, was feted last September on his 80th birthday. The ardent supporter of the Gauchos for nearly 50 years passed away on Monday. Click to view larger
Phil Womble, UCSB’s Mr. Gaucho, was feted last September on his 80th birthday. The ardent supporter of the Gauchos for nearly 50 years passed away on Monday.  (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara and UCSB has lost a treasure.

Phil Womble, an ardent supporter of the Gauchos for nearly 50 years, passed away early Monday. He was 80.

“He passed peacefully in his home,” Bob Brontsema, former UCSB baseball coach, wrote on Facebook.

Womble was incredibly passionate about UCSB baseball.

Brontsema wrote: “This touches many people, but in particular, those of us associated with the UCSB Baseball program. He loved and gave so much to our program and to every player that was fortunate enough to wear the uniform. We are all better for knowing Phil Womble. I loved Phil.”

Womble wrote a book, “Never Give Up,” in which he tells his story about living with cerebral palsy. He lived decades beyond his projected lifespan.

Womble was a fixture at UCSB athletic events. He ended most conversations with the chant: “Go Gauchos!” 

The university paid tribute to him by christening their Hall of Fame in his honor back in 2008. He was inducted into the Hall in 2005.

Last September, friends and UCSB staff joined Womble for an 80th birthday celebration at the Phil Womble Hall of Champions in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building.

Last spring, Womble had a dream realized when the UCSB baseball team advanced to the College World Series for the first time. He was unable to join the team in Omaha, Neb., but watched the Gauchos from his home on TV.

The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table named an award after Womble — the Phil Womble Ethics in Sports Award. It is awarded to a high school junior student-athlete you demonstrates great character, is a team leader and always does the right things on and off the playing field.

Funeral arrangements have yet to be announced.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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