Joe Chenoweth

Joe Chenoweth

Santa Barbara High School will have a new athletic director when the 2020-21 school year begins, as Joe Chenoweth is being replaced after eight years at the helm.

Santa Barbara Principal Elise Simmons said the change was a mutual decision.

“I wanted to inform you I will be moving into a teaching position this fall,” Chenoweth said in an email to the local media on Monday. “After eight years managing the athletic department, I have been blessed to work for a school with such rich tradition and pride within the Santa Barbara community. Being a Don carries weight in our community.”

Simmons plans to interview applicants and hopes to fill the position as soon as possible.

“I am confident that we will find an excellent replacement and that there will be very little disruption to our athletic program because of this change,” she said. 

Chenoweth said moving into a teaching role will allow him to spend more time with his family and hopefully coach his two younger kids.

Chenoweth watched his eldest daughter, Ellie, play varsity volleyball while he served as athletic director.

He was hired to head the SBHS athletic department in July of 2012, replacing Nan Verkaik, who also remained at the school in a teaching role.

During Chenoweth’s tenure, Santa Barbara won CIF-SS titles in boys and girls basketball, boys water polo and boys soccer and reached the championship game in football last fall.

On the down side, he had to deal with the chaos that the Montecito mudslides of 2018 had on athletics at the school and the frustration of waiting for the Peabody Stadium renovation project to be completed.

Through it all, he appreciated the work of his coaching staff and the student athletes.

“I am grateful to have worked alongside such a dedicated coaching staff and group of young athletes who ‘bring it’ every day to achieve their very best,” he said. “The number of Channel League and CIF titles won over the years has been absolutely special and will continue to be lifelong memories for our athletes. However, more memorable will be the relationships our players will continue to develop with their teammates, coaches, counselors, teachers and staff.”

He also thanked Fran Strahl, who has been the assistant athletic director for decades. 

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.