Yes, you read that right, a guy named dave on the women's crew team. Don't worry, this isn't Juwanna Mann 2 or anything. Dave O'Neill is going to be a coach for the Women's Crew team for the Red, White, and Blue. The Women's Crew team has been really, really dominant. They were ranked #1 in the nation in 2012, although they ended up getting 3rd in the NCAAs:
The top-ranked Cal women’s rowing team concluded the NCAA Championships on Sunday with a third place finish at Lake Mercer in West Windsor, N.J. The Bears earned a total of 78 points at NCAAs, with title-winner Virginia earning itself 87 points.
This was the second year in a row that Cal entered the NCAA Championships as the No. 1 team in the nation, only to earn an upsetting third place finish.
"I think in order for us to have won they would have had to row above and beyond what they had been doing," said Cal coach Dave O’Neill. "They rowed within themselves but we just came up a little bit short."
The Bears have now finished second or third overall at NCAAs for five years in a row. Since winning the national championship in 2006, Cal hasn’t been able to repeat despite several close finishes. The Bears finished second overall in 2009 and 2010.
Despite this year’s third place overall finish, Cal was one of only three teams to advance all three boats to the grand finals. In the Division I Grand Finals, Cal’s varsity eight came in fifth place, while both the varsity four and second varsity eight each earned themselves spots on the podium with a third place finish.
I bolded a key line there to show the high standard that Coach O'Neill has set for Women's Crew at Berkeley. 5 straight years at either 2nd or 3rd is great, even if there must be some frustration to get to #1 again after 2006. After the jump, let's learn more about Dave O'Neill! GO BEARS!
Dave O'Neill will begin his 14th year as head coach of the California program in 2011-12. The list of accomplishments over his 13 years is long and impressive by any measure. The program has been invited to the NCAA Championship each year, won seven Pac-10 Championships and two NCAA Championships. The program has taken home nine trophies from NCAAs by finishing among the top four nationally, including the 2005 and 2006 NCAA champions trophies.
Under O'Neill, Cal's varsity eight has placed among the top three at NCAAs five times (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006 and 2009). The varsity eight was undefeated in regular-season competition from 2004-06, 2008 and 2010; this includes the 2005 crew which completed its perfect season by setting an NCAA record (6:20.7) to win the varsity eight national championship. In addition to the success of the varsity eight, the second varsity eight won seven straight Pac-10 titles (2003-09) and finished among the top three at NCAAs eight times. In addition, the varsity 4+ captured an NCAA Championship in 2011.
He's not just a great coach, but also a great athlete:
As an athlete, O'Neill became one of the country's top lightweight oarsmen. During his freshman year at Boston College, O'Neill was a founding member of the rowing program. Soon after, O'Neill was invited to pre-elite camps, as well as elite training programs at the Riverside Boat Club and Boston Rowing Center. After medaling at the USRowing Nationals, Olympic Festival, CRASH-B Sprints, and the Canadian Henley, O'Neill became an elite cyclist and competed in some of the country's premier races. O'Neill remains competitive as a master's cyclist.
O'Neill will be Nichols' coach in the lightweight women's double sculls in London.
Good luck to Coach O'Neill and all the other Golden Bears rowing in London. GO BEARS!