While the timeline for Cal's search for a new Athletic Director may take up to an year, there are plenty of things on the to do list for the interim AD in H. Michael Williams (and possibly Vice chancellor Wilton if he oversees these kind of hires as well). Out of the 30 Cal sports, there are currently two head coaching vacancies that is waiting to be filled.
Cal Women's Crew
The surprising departure of Dave O'Neill was a shocker couple of weeks ago. What was even more bizarre was the lack of news from CalBears.com on this despite Dave's 16 year tenure at Cal helping building the Women's Crew program into a perennial national championship contender.
First news of O'Neill's departure came via University of Texas' announcement of his hiring on June 26th as the post-retirement of their longtime coach. CalBears.com finally made an announcement on July 9th regarding this move. Listing his impressive accomplishment at Cal:
During his 16 years in Berkeley, Dave provided phenomenal leadership for our women's crew program and built it into a consistent national contender. Cal women's crew has become a program of excellence in all facets and is nationally and internationally regarded as one of the most successful college programs in the history of the sport. Dave's list of accomplishments during his tenure at Cal are extraordinary.
- NCAA Championship participant every year
- Two NCAA Team Championships in 2005 and 2006
- Finished in the top-4 in the NCAA Championship 10 times
- Eight Pac-12 Championships
- 2-time National Coach-of-the-Year
- 8-time Pac-12 Coach-of-the-Year
- 2012 Olympic coaching staff member
Thank you for a terrific sixteen years. It's been a pleasure. Thanks for coming. Go Bears! - Dave O'Neill pic.twitter.com/Dp7mU9L0EE— Cal Women's Crew (@CalWCrew) July 1, 2014
The statement ends with
A national search is underway to identify candidates and hire a head coach that will continue the phenomenal work that Dave has done during his time on the Berkeley campus. Our women's crew program has experienced unprecedented success during his tenure and we appreciate the mark he has left on this program. He is an extraordinary coach, leader, mentor and friend to so many of us in the Cal community and his presence will be greatly missed.
Given the success of O'Neill at Cal and how the Bears have finished as the national runner-ups in the past two years, it is very shocking to see him leave for a Texas program that is not as good currently. One has to imagine that monetary benefits may have been an issue. Nevertheless, best of luck to Dave O'Neill in Austin and we will keep you posted if we hear anything on a new Women's Crew coach.
The head coaching position for Cal Lacrosse has been vacant since early May with the announce of Ginger Miles taking a position with U.S. Lacrosse after a 3 year stint in charge of the Golden Bears. Miles' record with the Bears was 21-24 with a 5-11 finish in 2014. With that being by far the worst record other than Cal Football (sorry to mention that), a coaching change is perhaps not a surprise. Things have been quiet since the announcement of a coaching change, but you have got to figure that they would want to have a successor named sometimes this summer.
Winter and Spring Seasons in Review:
Since we are now deep in the off-season, let's take a look back at the 2014 portion of this past Cal Athletics academic year. Below are my top picks for the best performances of the Winter/Spring season in Cal Olympic Sports.
Best Team Effort (Men):
Cal Men's Swimming winning the NCAA team championships.
Cal wins third men's swimming and diving national title in past four years! http://t.co/ctIpiKPOxu pic.twitter.com/EzDhzcDnLt— NCAA (@NCAA) March 30, 2014
Being the underdog heading to the NCAA's hosted by Texas, the Golden Bears were able to pull together as a team and win their 3rd NCAA title in 4 years. The Bears exceed their psych sheet significantly to easily overcome Texas' huge edge on having several top divers scoring points. It took a total team effort with the Bears hanging around via their depth in placing swimmers in just about every events. The key turning point may be Senior Jeremy Bagshaw surprising the projection with a huge 2nd place finish in the 1650 meter free (the swimming "mile").
Honorable mention: Cal Rugby repeats as Collegiate Rugby Championships 7s champs - the only other team title from this school year, Cal Men's Track and Field being the top dual meet squad on the year and being the conference champs
Best Team Effort (Women):
Cal Women's Tennis winning the Pac-12 Title with a perfect run.
The key to Cal Women's Tennis' perfect run through the Pac has to be pinpointed to the win over UCLA (eventual NCAA champs) in Berkeley. Cal Lynn Chi was on the verge of giving the Bruins the win for the meet but starts to battle back, her battle inspired the rest of the Bears to rally and get those points. Going the distance, Chi won the clincher to give the Bears a key 4-3 victory to claim their very first Pac-12 conference title in program history.
Honorable mention: Cal Women's Gymnastics with the highest finish in Pac-12 conference
Best Individual Effort (Women):
Missy Franklin carrying the Bears to keep the Golden Bears in the NCAA hunt on Day 2 of the NCAA.
From my recap of Day 2's action:
Bears claimed 2 NCAA titles on Friday night:
- Missy Franklin with an American record of 1:40.31 is the NCAA Champion in 200 Free. Missy opened up a big lead early and her only competition was that imaginary line that was the record.
- The last event of the night was the 800 Free relay. The Cal quartet of Rachael Acker, Caroline Piehl, Elizabeth Pelton, and Missy Franklin are the NCAA Champions. Facing a ~2.5 second deficit to Georgia and slightly behind them Stanfurd, Missy Franklin swam a 200 Free split of 1:40.08 (better than her record just half an hour or so earlier) to allow the Golden Bears to edge Georgia.
It was super awesome to see how emotional Missy Franklin was in winning her 1st individual NCAA title.
Honorable Mentions: Lynn Chi making it to the NCAA Women's Tennis Singles championship match
Best Individual Effort (Men):
We have got to stay in the pool for this one as the comparatively overshadowed (but who isn't compared to Missy Franklin) Cal Men's Swimming freshman star Ryan Murphy was instrumental to the team win. Murphy captured two NCAA titles in 100 Back and 200 Back.
Post who you think would have been better choices for these awards in the comment.