SANTA BARBARA - Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros Hall of Fame Sports Information Specialist Dave Loveton, a beloved member of Santa Barbara City College and the Santa Barbara community, passed away Wednesday after an inspirational three-year battle with Stage IV renal cancer.
Loveton, 62, was an award-winning Sports Information Specialist for Santa Barbara City College for 15 years. He was a sportswriter for the Santa Barbara News-Press for 24 years prior to his time at SBCC.
Details on a memorial service are forthcoming.
“This was incredibly heartbreaking news to get,” said SBCC Director of Athletics Rocco Constantino. “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.”
Sandrine Krul, SBCC’s Women’s Basketball Head Coach said Loveton embodied the values she teaches to her students.
“In my 17 years at SBCC, Dave was an example of what I try to teach my athletes; to be caring, hard-working, and most importantly, inspirational,” said Krul. “I will miss him dearly, but I will make sure to continue to honor his legacy by teaching those values to our students.”
During his time at SBCC, Loveton transformed the Sports Information Department and adapted with the times. As schools started to utilize websites and social media, Loveton was always sure SBCC was a leader in those areas. He built the SBCC Athletics website into an award-winning publication.
Loveton was widely respected and beloved by his SBCC family.
Chuckie Roth, who has been the SBCC Head Coach for Women’s Water Polo and Swimming/Diving for seven years, recognized Loveton’s commitment to excellence and the vital role he played with his own programs.
“Dave Loveton was one of the best parts of SBCC,” said Roth. “He was a guy who loved his job, and in my opinion set the bar for all Sports Information Directors across the state. If he did not have your contest information within ten minutes of your competition ending, then it was considered late.”
Roth continued, “His love for SBCC was felt by all the athletes. I woke up today to a text from former state record holder Rachelle Visser who swam here six years ago. All she said was ‘I am so sad Dave is gone.’ He impacted people all over the world. I will miss him dearly.”
Head Football Coach Craig Moropoulos echoed those sentiments.
“Dave Loveton embodied the spirit that we all search for in our athletes. Don’t complain about your circumstance, just stay positive, upbeat and find the good things and focus on them.” said Moropoulos. “Dave always tried to get it right, he never ceased to amaze me with his energy, loyalty and the desire for perfection in his product. He will be tremendously missed by all who knew him.”
Constantino recognized that Loveton was a champion for thousands of students during his tenure at SBCC and treated all athletes and coaches equally; like they were stars.
“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.”
Upon being selected for the SBCC Vaqueros Hall of Fame in January, Loveton said, "I believe that our sports are teams, not just individuals, so I try not to focus on just one person. I try to use photos of different people and if someone who usually doesn't score a lot has a good game, I want to make sure they're recognized. I enjoy covering the coaching milestones too. Like if a coach gets his 200th win, I want to make sure we're aware of that and that they're recognized."
Loveton played an essential role in helping coaches build their programs through the promotion of their accomplishments on and off the playing fields.
“He helped me build my program through his articles and write ups,” said Roth. “He knew more facts and statistics than I did. Oftentimes, he would correct me if I ever attempted to cite stats. He was passionate and a wealth of information.”
Krul felt the same about Loveton’s impact on her Women’s Basketball program.
“Dave’s game stories always captured the essence of our Women’s Basketball program,” said Krul. “He cared so much about our athletes and it didn’t matter what time our game finished; he was ready to write about it. Dave would text me and say, ‘Hey, the game is over, let’s get the story!’ I always appreciated his texts, spirit and his friendship.”
Loveton was always available to offer advice to his colleagues and kept things in perspective.
“Even when we lost a game, he would remind me of the importance of competing,” said Krul. “He would ask if the players played with MTXE [mental toughness, extra effort]. I would tell him that we did, and he would say, ‘OK, well next practice, do some more shooting and let’s increase that shooting percentage.’ That’s what I’ll miss most, the little nuggets he would say to remind me that the players worked hard, and we can always bounce back and win the next one.”
Loveton grew up in Glendale, Calif. and played basketball at Glendale High School and Glendale Community College before attending UCSB from 1979-1981.
He was hired at Santa Barbara City College in 2006 by then-Director of Athletics Mike Warren. In addition to being the sole member of the SBCC Vaqueros Hall of Fame Class of 2021, Loveton was also a finalist for the Brass Top Award, which is given to the top Sports Information Director in the state, in 2018. He was presented with an Everyday Hero Award by then-President/Superintendent of SBCC, Dr. Anthony Beebe in 2018.
During the ceremony, Beebe remarked "Many of the parents, grandparents, friends and others related to the athletes depend upon your stories and statistics to understand what their kids are doing. For all those reasons and more, I'm going to present you with the 'Everyday Hero Award.'"
In January, Loveton reflected on his time at SBCC.
"I love going to the games, it keeps me young," said Loveton. "I love City College sports, keeping statistics and making sure everything is done right. My office is on top of La Playa Stadium and it's one of the most beautiful views in America with the palm trees and Pacific Ocean in the background. It doesn't get any better than that."
(Rocco Constantino, SBCC Athletics)