Two-time EIVA Coach of the Year Fred Chao guided the Patriots to their 13th consecutive appearance in the semifinal round of the EIVA Championship Tournament in 2013. When he returns to the sidelines for his 16th season at the helm of the program in 2014, Chao will look to extend that streak and return the EIVA Championship Trophy to Fairfax for the first time since the 1988 season.
The 2013 Patriots completed the season with a 15-12 overall record while going 11-3 in the conference. A record-setting six players took home All-EIVA postseason honors, including Mark Jones who was tabbed as the Uvaldo Acosta Memorial EIVA Co-Player of the Year, the second such honor for a Mason player and first since 2006. Jones was also named to the first team where he was joined by Michael Kvidahl, Javier Perez, Pat Sibley and Max McFarland. Andrew Dentler was the final Patriot to garner all-conference honors after being named to the second team. Mason finished the season strong winning six of its final seven games before bowing out of the EIVA Tournament in a 3-2 semifinal defeat at the hands of Harvard.
During the 2012 season Chao guided the Patriots through a bevy of injuries that plagued the team throughout the season, ending the campaign with a 13-17 overall record and an 8-6 mark in the EIVA. Mason captured the No. 3 seed in the conference tournament and defeated Harvard in the opening round before falling to top seeded Penn State. Chao boasted three All-EIVA players on his roster, as Michael Kvidahl received first team honors and Piotr Dabrowski and Mark Jones both collected second team accolades.
In 2011, the Patriots went 17-11 with three players selected All-EIVA. Mark Jones and Brandon Joyner were selected First-Team All-East while Shaun Sibley was named to the Second Team. In particular, the team's defense was among the best in the nation as the Patriots were second in the country in blocks per game and seventh in the nation in digs per set.
Under the guidance of Chao, Lance Rogers blossomed into one of the top middle blockers in the EIVA in 2010, earning First-Team All-East honors for his performance. The 2009 season saw the Patriots' defensive unit blossom into one of the best in the nation. Mason led the nation in blocks per set with an average of 3.49 as a team. Senior Brandon McLaughlin led the way with an average of 1.48 blocks per set, which ranked second in the nation. Senior Kyle Gramit, a Second-Team AVCA All-American in 2008, wrapped up his career with his third consecutive First-Team EIVA All-East selection.
Mason was ranked in every Top-15 Poll during the 2008 season, reaching a high of No. 11, and finishing the season as the only team to defeat eventual national champion Penn State, downing the Nittany Lions in four games on March 7 at the Field House. Six Patriots were selected to the EIVA All-East Team, with Hudson Bates, Gramit and R.J. Goubeaux all making the first team.
During the 2007 season, Chao guided the Patriots to a 12-10 overall mark and an appearance in the semifinal round of the EIVA Championship Tournament. Four Patriots were EIVA All-East selections and redshirt freshman opposite hitter William Price was named the EIVA Newcomer of the Year, marking the third consecutive year a player from George Mason won the award.
In 2006, Chao led the Patriots to one of their most successful seasons ever, finishing 22-6 overall, with an 11-1 record in conference play, and a perfect 12-0 record in home matches. Mason finished the season as the No. 14 team in the nation, marking the second consecutive season the Patriots finished the season ranked among the nation's top 15.
The team achieved many milestones during its spectacular 2006 season: Chao picked up his 100th career coaching victory in the team's fourth match of the season against the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez, redshirt senior opposite hitter Shaun Powell was named EIVA Player of the Year and a Division I-II First-Team All-American, five players - the most of any team in the conference - were named to the EIVA All-East First Team, two players were named to the EIVA All-Academic Team and Hudson Bates earned National Player of the Week honors for a record-setting night early in the season against the University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez.
Chao is no stranger to such success. In 2001, Chao earned his first EIVA Coach of the Year award after the team finished 20-7 overall and recorded their first win over EIVA-rival Penn State since Jan. 25, 1992.
This is Chao's eighth season as a full-time head coach. Prior to becoming a full-time head coach, Chao served as a part-time assistant coach for the women's team for six seasons. He also served as an assistant coach for the Patriots' men's team, under Ron Shayka, during the 1995 and 1996 seasons. He spent one season as an assistant coach for the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he helped guide the Retrievers to a 21-9 record.
Chao's other coaching positions include serving as an assistant at the Youth National Team Training Camp, serving as technical director and coach of the girl's 16-and-under Starlings Volleyball Club of Baltimore, development coach of the Glasgow City (Scotland) Council Sport for Youth Program, head coach of the Calendonian University women's club team, head coach of the George Mason High School volleyball team (1994-96) and head coach of the 14-and-under Metro Volleyball Club. In 2002, he coached some of the top boys' players in the nation at the USA Volleyball Development Camp. Chao was also an apprentice coach in 2004 with the USA Volleyball Junior National Team and an assistant coach at the USA Volleyball High Performance Camp. In 2005, he served as an assistant coach on the Junior National Team that traveled to India for the World Championships. He is also the camp director of the USA Boys Development Camp and in the summer of 2006 was the head coach of the USA Boys Youth National Team. He currently serves as technical director for the Metro Virginia Volleyball Club.
Chao played volleyball for the Patriots as a senior after transferring from Pepperdine University, where he played volleyball for a year. In 1996-97 he played for the Su Ragazzi Volleyball Club in Scotland, where his team went undefeated and won the National League, the Scottish Cup and the Scottish Open. In 1999 he played with them again, winning the Scottish Open for the 10th straight year. Chao was a two-time all-tournament team selection at the Chesapeake Regional Tournament - in 1999 with No Mo Locos and in 2000 with the X-Patriots, a team made up of former George Mason men's volleyball players. He continued his win streak in Scotland with the X-Patriots, capturing the Scottish Open in the summers of 2000 and 2004, and together they won the VoleyBol Tournament in the Bahamas in 2002. Chao and another team, Hip Sing, have played in the finals of the North American Nine-Man Volleyball Championships seven straight times. In 2004, with Hip Sing, they were runners up in the North American Nine-Man Volleyball Championships. They also traveled to China to play in an international nine-man tournament.
In addition to picking up playing time during the summer, Chao works at several volleyball camps, including running the Premier Volleyball Camp for boys at George Mason. Chao, a native of Silver Spring, Md., played three years of volleyball at Paint Branch High School and graduated in 1990 as a National Merit Scholar. He graduated from George Mason University with a degree in psychology in 1994. Off the court he enjoys music and plays both the piano and guitar. He currently resides in Fairfax, Va. with his wife, Dana, and their dog, Mason.
THE CHAO FILE
Education: George Mason University, 1994, BS, Psychology
Collegiate Coaching Experience: Men's Head Coach, George Mason, 1999-present
Women's Asst. Coach, George Mason, 1998-2003, 2006
Women's Asst. Coach, UMBC, 1997
Men's Asst. Coach, George Mason, 1995-96
Coaching Record: 189-153 (13 seasons), All-Time and Mason
Coaching Honors: EIVA Coach of the Year, 2001, 2008