University of California, Santa Barbara
Dana Vargas holds a 3.19 cumulative GPA at UCSB entering her senior year. She is a sociology major who is on schedule to graduate in June 2011. Her tireless efforts in the classroom to maintain a high grade point average have helped the women’s volleyball team hold the highest GPA of all of UCSB’s female athletic teams in two of her previous three years at school. Upon graduating, Vargas would like to try her hand at professional volleyball in Europe. Once her pro career is finished, she plans on going to law school.
Only about 25 of nearly 450 student-athletes are featured on UCSBgauchos.com as “Great Examples” per school year and Vargas is currently featured as the latest “Great Example.” The tale of her putting up more than numbers is a good one as she has been an instrumental part of UCSB’s turnaround and getting the Gauchos back on the national stage. She was named a captain for her senior season. Her head coach Kathy Gregory says Vargas is “the kind of girl you can build a program around.” Her work ethic is constantly cited as one of her biggest strengths. After her first two seasons at UCSB did not net a postseason berth, Vargas took it upon herself to lead the team and get the Gauchos back to the postseason. It was Vargas’s idea entering her junior season to keep the entire volleyball team in Santa Barbara so they could work out together and build team chemistry. That example was one of the major reasons the team returned to the NCAA Tournament last season. Gregory calls Vargas “an unbelievable leader” illustrating how she is able to relate with every person on the team in a personal and tactful, respectable manner. Entering her 36th season as head coach, Gregory also says that Vargas is “the most humble player to wear a Gaucho uniform.” Examples of this are that she puts the team and the team’s goals above any of her own personal accomplishments and any bad point, game or match, she is the first to take responsibility and blame. She never points a finger and shoulders the load for the team no matter what happens. She is constantly working every day to improve her own game and works out daily with her teammates to improve their game. Vargas is the unquestioned leader of the team and is a magnet for all the players to come to with problems or those needing resolutions.
Vargas has been an extremely active member in the Santa Barbara community while at UCSB. She has served as a volunteer coach for the Blenders Volleyball Club as well as the Santa Barbara Volleyball Club. Her mother, Olympian Debbie Green, holds annual summer volleyball clinics and Vargas has been a big part of instructing in those clinics. Vargas has also helped out with UCSB volleyball camps, instructing youths on the fundamental skills needed to play volleyball. She has also worked with elementary school children on their class work and by doing activities with them as part of the UCSB team’s efforts to raise their profile in the community and set great examples of female leadership. Along her teammates, Vargas has been active at one of the homeless shelters in Santa Barbara, serving food to the less fortunate. She has also volunteered at a local animal shelter walking dogs and helping out the shelter. As a Living Scholar at UCSB (a model student-athlete for donors to “sponsor”) Vargas helped with an annual beach clean-up day that cleared nearby Goleta Beach of debris and foreign objects. As the face of the UCSB volleyball team, she has been featured in numerous athletics-based videos and promotions, never saying no to an opportunity to expand her team’s profile in the community in a positive way.
As a junior Vargas became one of just three setters in UCSB history to garner All-American, All-Region and First Team All-Big West status. The other two did it as seniors, so Vargas has an opportunity to go down in school history as one of the most decorated players to ever wear a Gaucho uniform. She was a first-team All-West Region pick and an Honorable Mention All-American, both presented by the AVCA. She is currently fourth all-time in career assists at UCSB and could become one of just three players in school history to notch 5,000 assists in a career. She had 1,297 assists last season, which led the Big West while averaging 10.90 assists per set, which was second in the Big West and 40th in the nation.