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In 2011, Rich Feller closed out his 13th season with the Golden Bears, continuing to bring them to new heights after leading them to their best season in program history in 2010.
Undoubtedly the most successful women's volleyball coach in California history, Feller directed the 2011 squad that achieved the best ranking in the storied annals. All year, Cal was ranked in the top 10 in both polls all year, achieving a highest of No. 1 during weeks 1-4. The Bears finished 26-7 overall and 16-6 in the Pac-12, in which they took third place. Cal made its program-best 5th trip to the NCAA Tournament before ending the season in a 3-2 loss to North Carolina in the first round.
Feller oversaw a 2010 team that advanced to its first national championship game, win its first-ever share of the Pac-10 Conference title and produced two first-team All-Americans in the same season for the first time in school history.
Since he first stepped on campus in 1999, Feller has been able to craft the Bears into a Pac-10 contender and a national powerhouse. The facts speak for themselves - a school-record nine consecutive postseason appearances, seven 20-win seasons in the past eight years, six NCAA round of 16 appearances, 13 different All-America selections and an appearance in the 2007 and 2010 NCAA semifinals.
Under Feller's leadership, the Bears have not only made the NCAA tournament 10 straight times, they have won nine consecutive NCAA first-round matches and have advanced to the regional final or beyond in four of the past five seasons.
Feller's achievements on the court have not gone unnoticed as he was honored as Volleyball Magazine's 2007 and 2010 National Coach of the Year. Since leading Cal to its first NCAA appearance in 13 years in 2002, Feller has firmly established the Bears as a top-tier team in the toughest volleyball conference in the nation - the Pac-12. Under his guidance, seven different Bears have produced 13 AVCA All-America certificates, including Cal's first Pac-10 Player of the Year, outside hitter Hana Cutura in 2009 and the program's first AVCA National Player of the Year, Lloyd in 2010.
In 2010, Feller earned his first-ever AVCA Coach of the Year Award and his second Volleyball Magazine's 2010 National Coach of the Year title. In his 12th season, Feller led the Golden Bears to their first Pac-10 title (15-3, 30-4 overall), a school-record ninth consecutive appearance in the NCAA championship tournament, a program-best fifth straight 20-win season, and the Bears' first-ever NCAA runner-up finish. He was also honored as the AVCA Pacific Region Coach of the Year for the second time and received his second Pac-10 Coach of the Year award.
Cal recorded the second-longest winning streak in school history, and the second-best start to a season in 2010. The Bears defeated rival Stanford twice in the same season for the first time since 1979 to their first Pac-10 crown. Cal led the conference in blocking (3.04 bps) and opponent hitting percentage (.172), and was second in the Pac-10 for hitting percentage, kills, and assists.
Beyond taking the Bears to the postseason, he has generated excitement in the local volleyball community by enabling Cal to host the NCAA first and second rounds at Haas Pavilion during the 2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009 campaigns. His players are closely connected to the community through their commitment to camps and clinics offered throughout the year. During the summer of 2008, Feller coordinated the hosting of the USA Women's Indoor Volleyball team and a scrimmage for the public in its final week before departing for the Summer Olympics in Beijing, China.
In 2009, he led Cal to its third consecutive appearance in the NCAA regional final where the Bears fell to eventual national champion Penn State. The squad finished with a 21-11 overall record and earned fourth place in the Pac-10 with an 11-7 record. The Bears received the No. 8 ranking in the final AVCA poll and had the Pac-10 Player of the Year and first-team AVCA All-American in outside hitter Hana Cutura. Setter Carli Lloyd was named to the second team.
Feller's 2008 squad was one of the most successful in program history. The Bears not only posted the best record in school history (26-7, 13-5 Pac-10) but set new school records for consecutive sets won (29), consecutive home matches won (16), best start to open a season (18-1) and best start to open Pac-10 play (8-0). Cal also posted a school-record for hitting percentage (.287) with 1,726 kills on 3,909 attacks (605 errors) and defeated each of the Pac-10 teams at least once in the same season for the first time in school history. Feller's guidance brought his players some well-deserved attention as well, as outside hitter Hana Cutura earned her second selection to the AVCA All-America team and setter Carli Lloyd garnered her first selection as a member of the second team.
In 2007, Feller coached the Bears to their first-ever appearance in the NCAA semifinals after Cal defeated Iowa State and then-defending NCAA champion Nebraska to claim the Wisconsin Regional. As one of the final four teams standing, Feller took Cal into a heated battle against eventual champion Penn State, falling 3-0 to the Nittany Lions at Arco Arena in Sacramento, Calif. The Bears finished the season with a 26-8 overall record, 12-6 in the Pac-10 for fourth place and a school-record No. 4 ranking in the final AVCA poll. Feller's direction helped the Bears set new school records for total blocks in a single season (454) and hitting percentage in a single match (.702 vs. UNC-Wilmington on Sept. 1).
In 2006, Feller led Cal to its second-ever NCAA regional appearance after the Bears defeated LSU and host Cal Poly, respectively, in the NCAA first and second rounds in San Luis Obispo, Calif.
Cal's 2003 campaign was especially sweet for the veteran coach as Feller guided the Bears to a 25-7 record and the school's first-ever NCAA round of 16 berth with victories over Saint Mary's College and Michigan. Cal had a then-best single-season winning percentage (.781) in school history, captured a then school-record 12 Pac-10 victories and posted back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time since 1981-83. The Bears also won 16 consecutive matches to start the year, defeated Stanford for the first time since 1982 and earned their then-highest national ranking ever (No. 5 on Oct. 13, 2003).
The accomplishments of the Bears' coach and his staff did not go unnoticed as Feller was named both the 2003 AVCA Pacific Region Co-Coach of the Year and Pac-10 Coach of the Year. He was the first Cal volleyball coach to garner regional coach of the year honors, and was the first Bear mentor selected for league coaching honors since Chris Stanley was NorPac Conference Coach of the Year in 1982.
Before arriving at Berkeley, Feller was an assistant coach for the United States Women's National Volleyball Team from 1997-98. Prior to his stint with team USA, he was a highly successful head coach at Colorado State. In his 14 years directing the Rams, Feller compiled a 299-167 (.642) record with eight NCAA tournament appearances, two conference titles, 12 top-25 final rankings and several All-America, all-conference and all-academic athletes. In Feller's first season at Colorado State in 1983, he led his team to a 26-12 record, a top-20 ranking and a NCAA tournament appearance for the first time in school history. In 1987, Feller was named AVCA Regional Coach of the Year.
From 1980-83, Feller was the top assistant to Taras Liskevych (USA Olympic coach from 1985-96 and current Oregon State head coach) at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, helping the Tigers to second, fourth and fifth-place national finishes in his three years with the program.
Growing up in Palo Alto, Feller already had ties to the Bay Area before arriving at Cal in 1999. His father, David, earned his Ph.D. at Cal and his mother, Bernice, was a Cal undergraduate.
"The opportunity to coach at Cal and to have the challenge of competing in the Pac-10 Conference was a dream come true," said Feller. "Any coach who is involved in college volleyball would relish the chance to coach in the Pac-10 and to come to Cal. Working at Cal is one of the best jobs in the nation."
Feller earned his bachelor's degree in recreation administration from San Diego State in 1973 and currently lives in the Montclair District of the Oakland Hills with his wife, Stacey. He has three children - Evan (27), Ashleigh (25) and Ryan (23); and a stepson, Brad Bertolet (25).