Meagan Owusu, who gave birth to triplets in the spring, has stepped down from her position as head coach of the Cal beach volleyball program.
Derek Olson, who handled the assignment as interim coach in 2020, will continue in that role as Cal conducts a national search for a permanent coach.
“It was a very difficult decision to step away, but ultimately it was the best decision for me and my family,” said Owusu, a Cal alum who was entering her sixth season as coach before stepping away before the spring season. “In addition to taking care of my three babies at home, it is equally important that I take care of my first baby which is the beach volleyball program.”
Owusu missed the entire 2020 season while on maternity leave. She and husband Ernest, a former Cal football player, became parents to Ruthie, Louie and Henry on March 28. The triplets turned 7 months old today.
Owusu played for the Bears’ indoor volleyball teams from 2007-10, helping the team to its two lone Final Four appearances, as a freshman and a senior. She also served as team captain in 2010.
She has been on board as the Cal beach volleyball program grew from its infancy. Owusu was the program’s first full-time coach, beginning in 2014, and the Bears were 76-40 her final four seasons (2016-19), with top-12 finishes in the AVCA final coaches poll the final three years.
“Cal has been a home to me for over 10 years, both as a student-athlete and as a coach. I will always be grateful for being part of this family, and I look forward to supporting the Bears in the years to come,” she said.
"I am so proud of everything we have been able to accomplish. Looking back on my first year, I was a volunteer coach, and we barely had enough student-athletes to field a team.
“Now, we are a top-10 program due to the dedication and work of all of the student-athletes who have come through the program. I am thankful for my student-athletes for believing in me and believing in this program. I can’t wait to see what they accomplish next.”
"Megan has been a dedicated student, alum and coach throughout her time at Cal, and we wish her all the best as she steps down to spend more time with her family,” Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton said. “She took a fledgling beach volleyball program and brought it into the nation's elite. We could not be more proud of the work she's done, and Meagan will always be part of the Cal family.”
Olson was hired as an assistant coach before the 2018 season and help the Bears improve from 13-12 the year to 24-8 in his debut year. The Bears finished third in the Pac-12 in each of his two full seasons.
He was promoted to associate head coach for the 2019 season.
Olson held the reins last spring when the Bears got off to a 9-1 start before the season was halted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Bears were scheduled to be playing at a tournament in Florida on the day Owusu’s triplets arrived, but those games were not played.
A former longtime pro on the AVP and FIVB beach volleyball tours, Olson has represented the U.S. in international competition.
Olson said he welcomes the chance to continue working with the program and praised Owusu for her efforts.
“When I heard the news, it was bittersweet for me,” Olson said. “I know how much the program means to Meagan. She has elevated it so much in only a couple of years; it’s sad to see her go.
"She brought me to Cal, took a chance on me. I will forever be grateful to her for doing that. Last year, I had the opportunity to coach the team while Meagan was away on maternity leave. That experience prepared me for this moment and I know I am ready to lead the team.
“We still have unfinished business and I am ready to get started when we are allowed. The team has dealt with a lot in the last year and I am eager to get after it with them and be there for them.”
Follow Jeff Faraudo of Cal Sports Report on Twitter: @jefffaraudo
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