We now have our 10th coaching change among the power-five conferences as another veteran has called it a career.
Cal’s Rich Feller, who will turn 66 in May, retired Monday after 18 seasons in Berkeley. Associate head coach Matt McShane has been named interim head coach and the school said that “a national search for Feller’s replacement will begin immediately.”
Also, the AVCA released its final NCAA men’s Division I-II and Collegiate Beach polls and also announced its men’s Division III All-American team.
All is quiet on the court, as the Division III final eight men’s teams start play Friday in Springfield, the Division I-II men don’t get together until the play-in matches May 2 in Columbus, Ohio, and two NCAA beach leagues have their tournaments this weekend, the Big West and Pac-12.
Cal becomes the fourth school in the Pac-12 to make a change and more than half its coaches have been at their posts for three seasons or less.
Previously, Stanford coach John Dunning retired after his Cardinal won the NCAA title and he was replaced by Kevin Hambly of Illinois, Arizona State replaced Stevie Mussie with assistant Sanja Tomasevic and Oregon’s Jim Moore’s spot was filled by assistant Matt Ulmer.
What’s more, two other Pac-12 schools have coaches entering their second season, Colorado’s Jesse Mahoney and Oregon State’s Mark Barnard. And Washington’s Keegan Cook will enter his third season in 2017.
Among the other power-five conferences, the ACC had four changes (Virginia, Virginia Tech, Louisville and Clemson), the Big Ten had one (Illinois) and the SEC had one (Georgia). There were no changes in the Big 12, which has nine volleyball programs.
At least four Division I head-coaching openings remain at Southern Illinois of the Missouri Valley, Saint Peter’s of the Metro Atlantic Conference, Coppin State of the MEAC and San Francisco of the West Coast Conference.
“I just feel like this is the right time,” Feller said in a Cal news release. He leaves as the winningest coach in Cal volleyball history with a record of 329-229.
“I’ve had a long and rewarding career. I believe I have always given everything I had to the teams and players I have coached. In return, I have received rewards beyond anything I could have ever imagined and built relationships that will last a lifetime. Coaching is a noble profession and I am thankful to have had the opportunity to coach for so long. I have my health, intend to stay active and am looking forward to what comes next.”
Cal, plagued by injuries and tough losses, had a rough past few seasons. After finishing tied for fifth in the Pac-12 in 2013, the Bears went a combined 8-52. They were 9-21 overall in last fall, 3-17 in the Pac-12,
Feller took over the Cal program in 1999 and by 2002 had the Golden Bears in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 13 years. That began a run of a program-record 12 consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, during which Cal got to the final four in 2007 and 2010 and he was named national coach of the year both times.
Feller, previously the head coach at Colorado State, coached 17 All-Americans, including 2010 national player of the year and 2016 U.S. Olympian Carli Lloyd. He also had the only Pac-12 player of the year in program history, Hana Cutura in 2009.
“What I will always remember about Rich is his consistency of character,” Washington’s Cook said. “He has treated me with respect and sincerity in all phases of my coaching career, from undergraduate manager to rival head coach. In all circumstances he has shared his time generously and his thoughts openly. “
USC coach Mick Haley has seen three of his long-time contemporaries hang it up this offseason in Feller, Dunning and also Hawai’i’s Dave Shoji.
“I wrote the letter that helped him get that job in 1998 when he was my assistant with the national team,” Haley said. “That’s a job he always wanted. His dad went to school there. He did a nice job over the years for them. The program was always competitive. He took them to a final four, he had the player of the year at least once. He did quite well.”
Division I-II poll: Not surprisingly, the top four teams are the top teams in the final six of the National College Men’s Volleyball Championship that begins next Tuesday at Ohio State.
In the final AVCA coaches poll of the regular season, Long Beach State stayed No. 1 and got 20 of the 24 first-place votes. Ohio State is No. 2 and got the other four first-place votes. Hawai’i, which beat BYU in the MPSF Tournament, is No. 3, trading places with BYU.
UC Irvine stayed No. 5 and there were no other changes until No. 12, where Penn State moved up a notch. Penn State plays Hawai’i on Tuesday with the winner facing Ohio State, while BYU faces Barton with the winner getting Long Beach State. Barton is not ranked, but was the next closest team to the last spot in the 15-team poll.
Division III All-Americans: Four players have been honored for the third time in their careers, top-ranked Springfield College’s Luis Vega and Ricardo Padilla Ayala, Carthage’s Griffin Shields and SUNY New Paltz’s Steven Woessner.
The D-III coach of the year will be announced Wednesday and the player of the year will be announced Thursday at the AVCA banquet.
AVCA poll: In essence there was no movement. The top eight teams stayed the same — USC, UCLA, Pepperdine, Florida State, Long Beach State, Hawai’i, LSU and Arizona — with the first change at No. 9, where Florida International moved up from a tie for 10th.
Georgia State is No. 10, followed by Grand Canyon, South Carolina, TCU, Florida Atlantic and Stetson.
The National Collegiate Beach Volleyball Championship is May 5-7 in Gulf Shores, Ala.. The eight-team field will be announced at 7 p.m. Eastern Sunday on this link on NCAA.com.