Dave Loveton, a fixture in the Santa Barbara community as a sports writer and college sports information specialist, passed away Wednesday after a long battle with cancer.
Loveton, who was diagnosed with stage 4 renal cancer in January 2018, died peacefully at Serenity House Hospice. He was 62.
He worked for 24 years as a sports writer at the Santa Barbara News-Press, and for many years served as the beat writer for Santa Barbara City College and Westmont College.
Several times he followed Westmont men’s basketball team to the NAIA National Tournament in Kansas City.
His newspaper career also included coverage of a World Series, the Super Bowl and NBA Finals.
“I’ve always loved sports,” he said about the reason he chose to pursue a career in sports journalism.
He was a stickler for accuracy and detail, and was very passionate about the teams he covered.
Loveton later turned to the world of college media relations, as he was hired as the sports information specialist at SBCC in 2006.
“This was incredibly heartbreaking news to get,” said SBCC Director of Athletics Rocco Constantino said of Loveton’s passing. “Dave had kept such a positive outlook throughout his fight that it’s hard to believe he’s gone. He was an ever-present figure not just at SBCC, but in the community. It will be so different without him around physically, but he will always be with us in spirit.”
He handled the statistics and game recaps for each team, updated rosters and schedules, and posted them to the athletics website, which he helped develop. He also did the public address announcing for basketball and volleyball.
“Dave cared so deeply about promoting all of the fantastic accomplishments of our students and coaches,” said Constantino. “Our Associate AD Ellen O’Connor always says that Dave made every student feel like a superstar when he wrote about them and I always thought that was so true. He was so careful about spreading recognition around. He always made sure different students were in the headlines and in the photos on our website. Dave wanted everyone to feel special.”
Loveton was honored for his work by the California Community College Athletic Association, the governing body of community college sports.
In addition, he covered high school sports for Noozhawk for the past four years.
In the summer of 2020, Loveton was named as the lone honoree of the 2021 induction class for the SBCC Athletics Hall of Fame.
He was honored at City College’s annual Coaches vs. Cancer Night at the Sports Pavilion.
Former Superintendent/President Dr. Anthony Beebe presented him with the Everyday Hero Award. He also received a shirt with his signature on the back, and the words “Love for Loveton” in bold-face letters.
A celebration of life is planned in the near future.