In our second installment of the top-25 Cal coaches in history we run across a variety of coaches from several eras as we countdown from No. 20 to No. 16 in our rankings.

This article includes two video interviews: one from the current water polo coach and one from a basketball coach who has been around the block a few times.

20. KIRK EVERIST, men's water polo

Kirk Everist quote in 2017 in Swimming World magazine

The sheer amount of people that come to water polo games is part of the tradition and that’s what we do. The alums come back, they’re at all the games. They’re my biggest critics, they want to know why I did what every step along the way and that’s great, that’s what we want. We want people that are invested, that are passionate and are willing to support the next generation.

The Everist file:

Sport: Men’s water polo

Cal tenure: 2002-2003 to present

Record: 383-118 in 18 seasons

Championships: 3 national titles (2006, 2007, 2016); 2 Mountain Pacific Sports Federation titles (2002, 2006).

Other achievements: 5 nation championship game berths, runnerup in 2002 and 2010; 2 other third-place finishes (2015, 2017)

Honors: 2006 USA Water Polo’s Elite Co-Coach of the Year; 2002 MPSF Coach of the Year; USA Water Polo Hall of Fame


19. DAVE O'NEILL, women's rowing

Dave O'Neill, now the women's coach at Texas, provides his thoughts in 2017 on coaching at

Two things—one, a big part of our team, and a big part of my coaching philosophy, as it were, is that rowing can change the world. [Laughs.] Rowing can change the world. Because what you learn in rowing in terms of goal-setting, collaboration, delayed gratification, dealing with failure, dealing with pain, compromise—all of those things happen in a team environment in the pursuit of being really good. And we focus on that a ton, and will be doing that with the U23s this summer. So much of it becomes, 'be the best person, the best teammate you can be.' So then, if you're going to be the best teammate you can be, then yes, you're going to be focused on this workout; you are going to push hard on this workout when it's tough; you are going to make the most of every practice.

Photo by Kelley Cox - KLC Fotos

Photo by Kelley Cox - KLC Fotos

The O'Neill file:

Sport: Women’s rowing

Cal tenure: 1998-99 through 2012-13

Record: 15 seasons

Championships: 2-time overall NCAA titles (2005, 2006); 2 NCAA varsity 8 titles (2005, 20013); 8 Pac-12 overall titles (2004-2006, 2008-2013); 8 Pac-12 varsity 8 titles (2004-2008, 2010-2012)

Other achievements: 6 top-three NCAA finishes (1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009 and 2013); Varsity 8 undefeated in regular season from 2004 through 2006, and in 2008 and 2010; 2005 varsity 8 completed perfect season by setting an NCAA record (6:20.7) to win the national championship; O'Neill coached various boats for the U.S. women's under-23 national team in 2006 and 2007.

Honors: 2-time National Coach of the Year (1999, 2005); 6-time West Coast Region Coach of the Year (2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012); 7-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year (1999, 2004, 2005, 2008, 2010, 2011, 2012); 1999 Independent Rowing News Collegiate Coach of the of the Year; 2006 Development Coach of the Year for Rowing by the U.S. Olympic Committee.


18. GEORGE WOLFMAN, baseball

From a Sports Illustrated story on Cal's 1957 national championship team:

NCAA officials and writers who have watched them all agreed that George Wolfman's California Bears were perhaps the very best team college baseball has ever seen.

California won the tournament quite simply because in almost every category of play it was the superior team. Most important, they had more good pitching and—for a college team—truly remarkable poise. Somewhere along the line most of the other teams lost theirs, perhaps only for an inning, but that was too much. California never did.

Photo courtesty of Cal athletics

Photo courtesty of Cal athletics

The Wolfman file:

Sport: Baseball

Cal tenure: 1954-55 through 1972-73

Record: 484-335 in 19 seasons

Championships: 1957 NCAA title; 3 conference titles (1957, 1960, 1965)

Other achievements: 9 top-2 conference finishes; four 30-win seasons; produced numerous major-league players, including Earl Robinson, Mike Epstein and Andy Messersmith

Honors: 1957 National Coach of the Year; American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame


17. MIKE MONTGOMERY, men's basketball

What former UCLA coach Ben Howland told the Mercury-News about Mike Montgomery the day Montgomery retired in August 2016:

“One of the greatest coaching careers of our era. He’s someone all coaches can look up to. He’s the complete coach, a very good X and O coach and teacher. They’re as hard to defend as anybody I’ve ever coached against.”

Montgomery made his reputation at Stanford, where he won 4 conference titles, made 12 NCAA tournament appearances (including 10 in a row), reached 1998 Final Four, finished the 2004 regular season ranked No. 1. He coached the Golden State Warriors for two seasons. But his crowning achievement at Cal came in 2010 when the Bears captured their only conference title since 1960.

Montgomery was known for his sarcasm among those he knew and his stoicism publicly. But his wife, Sarah Montgomery, told the Mercury-News this:

“He actually gets very teary-eyed watching movies. He’s a real softy.”

The Montgomery video:

The Montgomery file:

Sport: Men’s basketball

Cal tenure: 2008-09 through 2013-14

Record: 130-73 in 6 seasons

Championships: 2010 Pac-10 title (Cal’s only conference title since 1960)

Other achievements: 4 NCAA tournament appearances (2009, 2010, 2012, 2013); 5 top-3 conference finishes, and never finished worse than 4th; won opening NCAA tournament games in 2010, 2013.

Honors: Numerous awards while coaching at Stanford; 2004 Legends of Coaching Award; 2000 Naismith National Coach of the Year; 2004 NABC National Coach of the Year.


16. BRUTUS HAMILTON, men's track and field

The “Encyclopedia of Leadership” included this passage about Brutus Hamilton:

Hamilton remarked that success in coaching is a result of imbuing one’s athletes with enthusiasm and “then directing that interest and enthusiasm along the lines of sound fundamental, taught imaginatively, intelligently, purposefully and inspirationally.”

Hamilton was decathlon coach for the United States Olympic teams in 1932 and 1936. He coached Jim Bausch of Kansas to Olympic gold and a world record in the 1932 Los Angeles Games, and he coached Glenn Morris to Olympic gold and a world record in the 1936 Berlin games.

In 1952, he was head track coach for the American teams that went to the Helsinki Olympics. American athletes won gold medals in 14 of 24 men’s track and field events, including a sweep in the decathlon. American women won one of 10 events. At Cal his teams set 20 world records and 12 collegiate marks.

He also served as Cal’s athletic director, and Pappy Waldorf was hired as football coach during his time as AD.

Photo courtesy of Cal athletics

Photo courtesy of Cal athletics

The Hamilton file:

Sport: Track and Field

Cal tenure: 1932-33 through 1963-64

Record: 125-92 in 30 seasons

Championships: 0

Other achievements: 7 top-5 NCAA finishes, including 2nd in 1957; 9 NCAA individual champions (Archie Williams 440 1936; Martin Biles javelin 1940 and 1941, Guinn Smith pole vault 1941, Harold Davis 100 220 1942 and 1943, Robert Biles javelin 1942, George Roseme javelin 1952, Lawrence Anderson pole vault 1954, Don Bowden 880 1957, Roger Olsen high jump 1962)

Honors: 1952 head U.S. Olympic track coach; 1932 and 1936 assistant U.S. Olympic track and field coach; 1965 U.S. coach in the USA-USSR meet; chairman of NCAA track and field rules committee for 10 years; National Track and Field Hall of Fame.

Click here for Top-25 Cal coaches: No. 21-25

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