John Zant

John Zant has been a working journalist in Santa Barbara for over 40 years. After graduating from UCSB with a degree in anthropology, he was hired to cover high school football by the News-Press in the fall of 1968. The diversity of sports in Santa Barbara has kept him occupied ever since, as a reporter, feature writer, and columnist. He received numerous awards from the Associated Press for his work,, including a four-part series in 1973 that explored the increasing participation of women and girls in sports. Zant wrote extensively about Olympic sports, focusing on local athletes. He attended the 1972 Summer Games in Munich and subsequently covered six other Olympics for the News-Press: Montreal (1976), Los Angeles (1984), Barcelona (1992), Atlanta (1996), Sydney (2000) and Athens (2004). In the summer of 1988, Zant left the sports beat and embarked on a 110-mile walk along the Santa Barbara County coast from the Santa Maria River mouth to Rincon. The resulting 10-part series was submitted for Pulitzer Prize consideration. He also covered three World Series, three Super Bowls, and a number of NBA Finals games in Los Angeles. Since leaving the News-Press in February of 2007, Zant has written a weekly sports column for The Independent and contributed updates to He is married to Kathleen Rodriguez, another UCSB graduate. Between them, they have six grown children and three grandchildren.

Recent Stories

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Gaucho Men’s Basketball Off to Impressive Start

Plus, Latest Lowdown on This Weekend’s College Cup at Harder Stadium

Plus, the latest lowdown on this weekend’s College Cup at Harder Stadium.

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Athletes of the Week: Lauren Tsuneishi and Jack Luckhurst

S.B. Athletic Round Table Honors Westmont Guard and Bishop Diego Soccer Star

S.B. Athletic Round Table honors Westmont guard and Bishop Diego soccer star.

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Athletes of the Week: Mila Ladek and Ar’mond Davis

S.B. Athletic Round Table Honors SBCC Soccer Midfielder and UCSB Grad Student

S.B. Athletic Round Table honors SBCC soccer midfielder and UCSB grad student.

Game of the Week: Cross-Country Running at Elings Terrain Festival

High School Runners Join Friends and Family on Hilly Course to Raise Money

High school runners join friends and family on hilly course to raise money.

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Akron Holds Off Stanford 3-2 for College Cup Berth

Wins spot at UCSB's Harder Stadium next weekend, depriving Stanford of fourth-in-a-row shot at soccer nationals.

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UCSB Prepares to Host Its Second College Cup

Harder Stadium Is 2018’s Stairway to Soccer Heaven

Harder Stadium is 2018’s stairway to soccer heaven.

Game of the Week: Sacramento State @ UCSB Basketball

Gaucho Men off to Best Start in 11 Years, Have Defeated Three Consecutive Big Sky Opponents

The Gaucho men are off to their best start (5-1) in 11 years and have defeated three consecutive Big Sky opponents.

Games of the Week: Mater Dei Basketball Plays Dos Pueblos and San Marcos

Legendary Coach Gary McKnight Brings Monarchs to Santa Barbara

Legendary high school coach Gary McKnight brings his Monarchs to Santa Barbara.

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Sports Are Central at Cate School

Stellar 8-Man Football Season Comes to End in Smoke-Interrupted Game

Private Carpinteria school’s stellar 8-man football season comes to an end in a smoke-interrupted game.

Game of the Week: Montana State @ UCSB Basketball

Saturday Matinee Features Max Heidegger Returning for Gauchos Against Bobcats

Saturday’s matinee features Max Heidegger returning for Gauchos against Bobcats.

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