Two Cal boats will compete in Sunday's grand finals
Bears win two of three first-round heats
Cal takes corwn in second varsity eight, varsity four and novice eight grand finals
Golden Bears advance to Sunday's grand final in each race
San Diego Crew Classic
A coaching icon with the Golden Bears' rowing program, Dave O'Neill will begin his 15th year as head coach at California in 2012-13. The list of accomplishments over his tenure with the Bears is long and impressive by any measure. The program has been invited to the NCAA Championship each year, won eight Pac-12 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 championship.
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-12 titles (2003-09) and finished among the top three at NCAAs eight times. In addition, the varsity 4+ captured an NCAA Championship in 2011.
The Golden Bears have won the past five Pac-12 titles under O'Neill.
In O'Neill's 14 years at the helm of Cal women's crew, he has garnered numerous awards, including the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association's (CRCA) national Coach of the Year (in 1999 and 2005), and has been named Pac-12 Coach of the Year seven times (1999, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, and 2012) The CRCA named him Coach of the Year for the West Region those same years. O'Neill was named the 2006 Development Coach of the Year for Rowing by the U.S. Olympic Committee. He was also named collegiate Coach of the Year by Independent Rowing News in 1999 and was awarded a similar award by the Joy of Sculling conference in 2002. O'Neill's 2005 varsity eight was named Crew of the Year by Independent Rowing News.
Throughout his coaching career O'Neill has been involved with international rowing. O'Neill coached various boats for the U.S. women's under-23 national team in 2006 and 2007. O'Neill served as Julie Nichols' coach in the U.S. lightweight women's double sculls at the 2012 Olympics in London this past summer. In July of 2007, he helped the U.S. quadruple sculls take gold and the varsity eight collect bronze at the World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Strathclyde, Scotland. He led the women's eight to a gold medal at the 2006 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Hazewinkel, Belgium, and the crew established a world best time in the process (6:06.7). In 2002 he helped coach the U.S. squad that raced at the World U23 Regatta in Genoa, Italy, where he was responsible for the women's pair that finished second.
Nine of the women O'Neill has coached at Cal have gone on to race for their respective senior national teams, and there have been 10 Golden Bears racing on U23 national teams. O'Neill's protégé and former Golden Bear Erin Cafaro competed on the U.S. women's 8+ at both the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics. O'Neill coached the U.S. W4- to a silver medal at the 2009 senior world championships in Poznan, Poland, and he served on the USRowing staff for the 2010 world championships at Lake Karapiro, New Zealand.
Before coming to Cal, O'Neill headed the women's program at Boston College for seven years. Under O'Neill, the BC women were the only club program in the country to compete against Division I varsity competition, and they did so with tremendous success. His crews won numerous championships at the Big East Regatta, New England Championships, Champion International Regatta, and the IRA.
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.
A '91 graduate of Boston College with a B.A. in history, O'Neill is a firm believer that the best way to succeed is to provide the athletes with an environment conducive to learning and achievement: "If we make the everyday experience of Cal crew a worthwhile and meaningful one, results will follow."