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Coaching icons retire
After 38 years of teaching, Turlock legend will continue to mentor kids
Steve Feaver, along with his granddaughter Molly and the family dog, Dixie, will likely spend a lot of more time together now that Feaver retired from teaching at Turlock High. But he agreed to coach at least one more season of water polo. - photo by CHHUN SUN / The Journal
Just the other day, Steve Feaver had a pleasant look on his face while watching his granddaughter, Molly, blow air into a plastic frog. It was one of those inflatable toys used to float two-year-olds in a backyard pool, something that will help her learn how to swim.
Grandpa Feaver wants to be there for those precious, can’t-miss moments.
He’s getting very close to becoming a full-time grandparent now that he has officially retired from teaching physical education at Turlock High after 38 years. Feaver, 60, will still coach, though only on a season-by-season basis. He’s planning to stick around at least until the end of the water polo season in the fall.
After that, he might decide to guide the boys swimming team to another league title.
Though he’s enjoying his taste of retirement this summer, it’s not going to be easy to leave coaching behind.
“I enjoy coaching kids and seeing them grow into adults who are headed into different directions,” Feaver said.
He’s been an important part of many lives since he started working at Turlock High in 1971. He was known as the P.E. teacher who would actually play a little volleyball or badminton with his students, beating them a good chunk of the time. He started as the swimming coach, while spending two seasons with the football team.
His legacy really started to pick up when he played a huge role in bringing water polo to Turlock. It was almost a no-brainer for him, considering he played water polo at Hanford High before competing at Sequoia College in Visalia and Fresno State, though his most famous accomplishment came after garnering All-American honors in swimming on one of Sequoia College’s relay teams.
The first few years of coaching water polo at Turlock High was frustrating, Feaver said, mainly because he was so used to the sport at a very competitive level. He had players who knew very little about water polo, as he had to teach most of the them the fundamentals. Things began to change quickly, however.
In 1982, the Bulldogs won the Central California Conference championship with a 9-1 record.
In 1990, Turlock won its first and only Sac-Joaquin Section title.
Feaver’s name became synonymous with Turlock water sports. He became known as someone who turned novice swimmers into all-leaguers. He became known as someone who turned boys into men — and for that, he had to be honored. So three years ago, Matt Weeden, who was an integral part of Turlock’s section title team, spearheaded an effort to convince the Turlock Unified School District Board Members to turn Turlock High’s newly renovated swimming pool area into the Steve Feaver Aquatic Center.
Feaver was humbled by the campaign to cement his name forever at Turlock High.
“I felt that the aquatic center needed to be named after Coach Feaver,” said Weeden, now working for a venture capital firm in Sacramento. “There was nobody, no administrator, no other coaches or no one else that could be considered for that title, that honor.”
“He is Turlock swimming and Turlock water polo,” Turlock athletic director Anthony Belew said.
Feaver has the records to prove it. He has brought the Bulldogs 13 league titles, one Central California Conference tournament championship and one section title in water polo to own a 690-333-3 overall record, while he also did an equally impressive job in swimming by garnering 20 league titles, including 18 undefeated seasons en route to a 250-50-1 overall mark.
Meanwhile, he produced about 25 All-Americans.
And he’s not done coaching, though he also wants to be the best grandfather for his three grandchildren: Molly, 2, Noell, 5, and Natalie, 7.
“It was about seeing kids improve to the point where you know every day, as husband, as a dad, you know they’ll be able to solve problems and get the best out of themselves,” Feaver said.
“That inspires me to coach,” he added.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.