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Legendary water polo coach remains on year-to-year basis
Feaver pic
This year will mark Steve Feavers 39th season as head coach of the Turlock High water polo team. - photo by Journal file photo

The other day, Steve Feaver walked to his car after practice. Right before he stepped inside, he spotted a familiar face. It was one of Turlock High’s campus maintenance employees, who made small talk with the Bulldogs boys’ water polo coach.

“I’m back at it again,” Feaver announced.

Yes, he is. But this season — his 39th — might be the last time people can call him the Turlock coach. At the same time, it’s not a good idea to bet against Feaver staying, since his desire to coach and teach is an undeniable passion.

The truth is, he has been in this situation before. Since his unplanned retirement from teaching two years ago, Feaver has committed to coaching the school’s water polo team on a year-to-year basis. Each year, he has said it would be his last.

But it really could be his last year this year.

“Well,” Feaver said, “I said the same thing two years ago. I said it again last year, so my track record is not very good as far as what I’ve done.” Immediately after that statement, he burst into laughter.

And it’s not like anyone wants him to leave. Not only is he loved by his players and colleagues, the Turlock community appreciates him. The Bulldogs’ facility — Steve Feaver Aquatic Center — honors the longtime coach. And one big reason why he continues to be a presence at Turlock High is this: He wins.

Feaver has had only four losing seasons since he created the water polo program at Turlock in 1973, with three of them happening during the first 10 years of his career. He has compiled a 729-350-3 record with 14 league titles and one Section championship in 1990. Last season, his Bulldogs went 10-0 and lost by one goal to Oak Ridge High in the Division I quarterfinals.

All that success might end after this season. Feaver said the timing seems right. His four young grandchildren who live in Danville and San Diego are growing up fast and he’d like to spend more time with them. His wife, Virginia, plans to retire as a registered nurse at Emanuel Medical Center, giving him a fulltime travel partner — especially when they visit their grandkids.

At the same time, Feaver knows he’ll miss coaching. He’s going to keep his coaching status as year-to-year (though he has resigned from coaching the boys’ swim team the last two seasons).

“I really enjoy seeing these kids overcome obstacles and turn stumbling blocks into stepping stones,” said Feaver, whose past players have turned into coaches themselves. “I enjoy seeing them achieve success, and that comes through hard work. I think I make a good part of a team that challenges them to meet higher expectations they’ve set for themselves.”

To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.