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Kevin Battle has left the UCSB rugby program to focus more on his new role as DI-A Commissioner. He leaves the Gauchos on the heels of back-to-back conference titles and postseason appearances, as well as a 2011 DI-AA National Final appearance.

“I’ve been (at UCSB) for 12 years and l’ve loved every moment, but at the same time there are a lot of other little things that are pulling at my attention,” said Battle.

“I’ve been commissioned to go out and make (DI-A) work, make it financially viable on its own, and so there’s some aggressive goals that we have set out and plan to achieve. In order to do that’s going to require my full focus.

“It was always understood from the time that I accepted the (DI-A commissioner) job that the search committee was not interested in having somebody lead the league that was also coaching in the league, for obvious reasons such as conflicts of interest…I’m going to put my effort towards running this league and improving the quality of the league’s existence and improving the quality of competition in it.”

Battle, who also serves as the chair of College Competitions Committee, will continue running the Santa Barbara Rugby Academy, which he founded, and coaching Santa Barbara City College.

“In the last three years we’ve had 18 of our kids who have matriculated into four-year schools…The Academy is kind of living up to its philosophy, which is giving young men, and now young women, the opportunity to improve their grades, save some money and get themselves into a position where they can transfer to a four-year college and be ready and available to make some strong contributions to teams,” said Battle.

“We have quite a few kids who are in the mix, who are talking to other colleges, so this year’s class should produce quite a different number of transfer students off to a number of good programs. I’m really thrilled and proud of that.”

The cupboard at UCSB is far from bare, as Battle was a full-time paid coach. The school is reworking its budget and has already begun the hunt for Battle’s replacement.

“We certainly have a great returning class of students and the work ethic, the facilities, the support staff,” said Battle.

“All those things are in place and hopefully should provide a very easy, smooth transition for the next coach to come in and only have to worry about implementing their philosophy and their game and their patterns of play.”