Santa Barbara City women's volleyball coach Ed Gover announces retirement after stellar 28-year career

Ed Gover recorded 378 wins, 11 WSC championships and a state runner-up finish in 1999. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)
Ed Gover recorded 378 wins, 11 WSC championships and a state runner-up finish in 1999. (Photo by Ken Sciallo/Sevilla Photography)

SANTA BARBARA - Santa Barbara City College women's volleyball coach Ed Gover announced his retirement on Tuesday after an outstanding 28-year career that started in 1991.

Gover compiled a 378-216 record (.636) and was 190-101 in the WSC North Division with 11 conference titles.

"It has been a great 28 years," Gover stated. "I remember asking [legendary UCSB coach] Ken Preston years ago, 'How do you know when it is time to retire?' His reply was 'You will just know.'

"Having two full-time jobs was getting tougher and tougher. I have about 3-4 more years with Santa Barbara Junior High and I want to do the best job I can in my remaining years."

Gover has been a longtime Physical Education teacher at Santa Barbara Junior High.

In the last 10 years, his winning percentage was .729 (186-69) and a sparkling .873 (89-13) in conference with eight WSC titles. He guided the Vaqueros to a state runner-up finish in 1999 and fifth place in the state in 2013 and 2015.

He had his best percentage records in 1999 and 2009 (both 21-3, .875) and his winningest seasons came recently when his teams went 25-4, 23-4 and 21-7 in 2015, 2016 and 2017 for a three-year total of 69-15.

"There are many highlights that stand out," he said. "In 1999 at the state championship, we lost in the first round and had to go through the loser's bracket. It was a double-elimination format, so on that last day, we had to play three matches to get to the finals. The morning match we took care of business and won in 3 sets. An hour later in the semifinal, we went 5 with a very tough Delta College team. Nicole Olmstead was amazing. We were totally out of gas for that final match but it was a great run at the title.

"The rivalries were always fun. Competition against my colleagues Nabil Mardini at Pierce College, Carl Ferreira at Bakersfield, and Steve Burkhart at Moorpark College never got old."

Gover said one of his best memories was a match that he didn't even coach in.

"Two years ago, we had lost to Moorpark at their place in 4 sets and had to beat them at home in 3 to tie for the conference title and get the upper hand on seeding," said Gover. "I was attending my mom's memorial that day and wasn't able to attend the match. At the family gathering that evening, I pulled out my iPad and watched the live stream of the match. The team played one of their best matches of the season and took down Moorpark in three. Our coaching staff and the players did an amazing job that night. I was so proud of the team."

Rocco Constantino, SBCC's second-year Athletic Director, called Gover a "classy coach."

"Ed is one of the classiest and most well-respected coaches I have ever worked with in any capacity," said Constantino. "He ran a highly successful program on the court for a long time while prioritizing grades, growth and his student-athletes' futures.

"Ed is a stand-up guy who does things the right way. He has impacted hundreds of students at SBCC over the years and those students were lucky to call him their coach. It was an honor to have worked with Ed here at SBCC these past two seasons and I wish him all the best going forward."

Gover was a six-time WSC North Coach of the Year and the Southern Cal Coach of the Year in 2015. He recruited and coached six straight WSC North Players of the Year – Jenna Anderson (2012), Eryn Young (2013), Maddie Leiphardt (2014), Katelynn Womack (2015), Carolyn Andrulis (2016) and Kaylene Ureno (2017).

"I always enjoyed seeing our student-athletes being successful in the classroom as well as on the court," Gover said. "Also, working with some amazing coaches like Marcelo Duarte, Lee Nelson, Jake Hong, KC Collins, Armen Zakarian, Lisa Gera, Dillan Bennett, Jon Newton and my good friend, Steve Zelko, made my job much easier."  

Gover, an avid golfer, came to SBCC in 1991 after graduating from Long Beach State and coaching Melodyland (now Southern California Christian) to two CIF titles and a state title. He won his first WSC title in his sixth season at SBCC (16-4 record) and captured three straight WSC crowns from 1996-98.

"My plans are to finish my teaching career at SBJH, stay healthy, and possibly play a little more golf," he stated.

(Dave Loveton, Santa Barbara City College Athletics)