Former Turlock High teacher and aquatics coach Steve Feaver was remembered as an intense competitor, but a loving, caring friend, by coaching colleagues who learned of his death Wednesday morning from pancreatic cancer. He was 65.
“Steve was one of the instrumental people in getting water polo up and going in the old (Central California Conference),” recalled former Johansen swimming and water polo coach Brent Bohlender, who’d known Feaver since the early 1970s. “Steve was intense, and we’d get in each other’s faces sometimes, but after the game, we’d laugh and play around and just sit on the deck and talk about our families.”
Former Merced High water polo and swimming coach Steve Eccles remembers Feaver much the same way.
“He had great passion and was a very competitive person,” said Eccles, who stepped down from coaching last spring. “I’m known to be animated. He was fiery, too. It was good, fierce competition during the game and a lot of camaraderie after the game.”
Feaver began coaching Turlock High’s swim team during the 1971-72 school year and began coaching water polo two years later.
In 39 seasons as the boys water polo coach he compiled a 750-356-3 record, with a Sac-Joaquin Section Division 1 championship in 1990 and 15 Central California Conference titles. In 38 seasons as the swimming coach, he posted a 252-50-1 record with 20 conference championships and 17 undefeated seasons, including a stretch of eight in a row from 1995-2002. All told, he recorded 1,002 victories and 35 league crowns.
“Steve wasn’t really interested in wins and losses as much as being an honest guy and a man of integrity,” said former Atwater High aquatics coach Roddy Svendsen. “I talked to a lot of his former players today and they all said that Steve was a great guy, an honest guy and that he taught them life lessons.
“He’s going to be sorely missed by all in the water polo community; his contributions to the sport are going to go way beyond 2013.”
Feaver graduated from Hanford High School in 1966, swam and played water polo at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, and then played water polo for Fresno State. He was hired at Turlock High in 1970.
“Steven didn’t really think he’d end up staying in Turlock, being his first job and all,” said Bohlender. “But, ultimately, he stayed and raised his family here.”
Stephen N. Feaver was born June 15, 1948, in Kings County. He is survived by his wife, Virginia, a daughter, Erika, and a son, Ryan.
The family issued a statement on the Turlock High Alumni’s Facebook page:
“We are in the process of planning the service and will update you as soon as we know. With more gratitude and love than we can ever express – Virginia, Erika and Ryan.”