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Fred Chao

Head Coach

Fred Chao is entering his fourth season as the head coach of the Old Dominion volleyball team in 2023. He was announced on January 29, 2019 as the first-ever volleyball coach at ODU.
“We feel very fortunate to attract a coach with the charisma, integrity and knowledge that Fred Chao possesses. Coach Chao was the unanimous choice by everyone on our selection committee after he vividly articulated his vision and plans for a nationally prominent future for ODU women’s volleyball,” Selig said.
Chao guided the Monarchs to a 12-16 record overall and a 7-7 mark in league play as ODU made the jump to the Sun Belt Conference in 2022. In his third season, Chao's squad secured non-conference wins over Navy, Norfolk State and VCU and added Sun Belt sweeps of Marshall and Georgia State. ODU then made its first-ever appearance in a conference tournament as the Monarchs earned the No. 3 seed out of the Sun Belt's East Division. The 2022 campaign saw Myah Conway named to the All-Conference First Team, the first First Team selection in program history, as well as to the Quest for the Crown and VCU Invitational All-Tournament Teams. Bailey Burgess and Teresa Atilano both made the Virginia Tech Invitational All-Tournament Team, Atilano was named the Sun Belt Setter of the Week on Sept. 27, and Anna Burkhardt was chosen as the league's Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 8. Additionally, Atilano, Burkhardt, Conway and Hailey Duncan garnered College Sports Communicators (CSC) Academic All District honors.

Competing in a traditional fall season for the first time, Chao’s Monarchs went 13-13 overall and 5-7 in Conference USA in 2021, a four-match improvement from their inaugural season. ODU finished tied for fourth in the C-USA East Division, missing out on its first conference tournament appearance by virtue of tiebreaking criteria. Old Dominion swept hosts Liberty on the first day of the Liberty Invitational on Sept. 10 before adding a win against Purdue Fort Wayne to close out the tournament. The following weekend, the Monarchs ran the table at the Quest for the Crown, including a 3-0 sweep of crosstown rival Norfolk State in the final match. Teresa Atilano was named tournament MVP and joined Hailey Duncan and Myah Conway on the all-tournament team. 
The Monarchs showcased their resiliency throughout the fall 2021 season. They overcame a 2-1 deficit to defeat UAB in their home conference opener on Oct. 1. The following week, ODU bounced back from a Friday loss to Charlotte to sweep the 49ers the following day and added another come-from-behind win at Marshall on Oct. 15.
Old Dominion took a step forward across the board in the fall, posting improvements in hitting percentage, kills per set, assists per set, digs per set and blocks per set. The Monarchs averaged 2.28 blocks per set and ranked fifth in C-USA. Hailey Duncan and Olivia De Jesus averaged better than one block per set and were seventh and eighth, respectively, in the conference in blocks per set. In total, ODU finished nine matches with 10 or more blocks, including a team-record 19 in the win over UAB. 
Chao guided Alessia Sgherza to the All-Conference USA Second Team for a second-consecutive season and saw Myah Conway play her way onto the Conference USA All-Freshman Team. Sgherza averaged a team-leading 2.79 kills per set in her final season and improved her hitting percentage by nearly 30 points. Conway was third on the team with 2.19 kills per set and tallied 70 total blocks.
The Monarchs remained competitive in the classroom as well with Anna Burkhardt and Hailey Duncan receiving Conference USA All-Academic Team recognition. Duncan was one of three Monarchs (Myah Conway and Julia Dunning) to finish the fall 2021 semester with a perfect 4.0 GPA.
The Monarchs posted a 7-11 overall mark and went 4-8 in Conference USA in their inaugural season. In its first-ever match as a program, ODU swept George Mason 3-0 on Jan. 22 to christen the new ODU Volleyball Center. The Monarchs notched their first conference win on Feb. 9 with a 3-1 result at FIU. ODU then went on to sweep Florida Atlantic at home in a two-game C-USA series. Chao coached a pair of individuals to C-USA accolades as Alessia Sgherza was named Second Team All-C-USA and Teresa Atilano was featured on the all-freshman team. Sgherza was also honored on the C-USA All-Academic Team alongside teammate Hailey Duncan.
Chao spent the last two seasons at Duke, helping the Blue Devils to back-to-back winning seasons. This year the Blue Devils defeated No. 5 Pittsburgh, giving the Panthers their first loss of the season, and earned a berth to the NCAA Tournament.
Prior to joining the Blue Devils, Chao spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Virginia Tech.
Chao’s resume includes over 20 years of coaching experience. He served as the head men’s volleyball coach at George Mason (1999-2015) while simultaneously working as an assistant coach with the Patriots’ women’s volleyball team (1998-2004).
“I would like to thank President John R. Broderick, Athletic Director Wood Selig and Associate A.D./Senior Women’s Administrator Ragean Hill, for entrusting me to build the very first volleyball program at ODU. I would also like to thank the search committee and all the warm and passionate people I met throughout the process. Everyone is excited to have volleyball at ODU, and the level of commitment to the program is evident,” Chao said. “I am grateful for all the players, coaches and administrators who have been part of my coaching journey which ultimately led to this incredible opportunity. Finally, I would like to thank my wife, Dana, and my children Keira and Kylar, for their constant encouragement and support. We are thrilled to join the Monarch family.”    
A three-time Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) Coach of the Year, Chao guided the George Mason men’s team to 15 consecutive EIVA Championship Tournament appearances. The Patriots advanced to the finals five times and compiled a 246-204 overall record in Chao’s tenure.
Prior to taking the helm at George Mason, Chao worked as an assistant women’s coach at the University of Maryland Baltimore County from 1997-98.
In addition to his collegiate coaching experience, Chao has worked diligently with youth teams and camps at the local, national and international levels. He coached some of the top boys’ players in the nation at the 2002 USA Volleyball Development Camp and was as an assistant coach with the 2005 USA Junior Men’s National Team, traveling to India for the World Championships. Chao also directed the USA Boys Development Camp and was the head coach of the USA Boys and USA Girls Youth A2 Programs.
A native of Silver Spring, Maryland, Chao received his bachelor’s degree in psychology with a concentration in physiological psychology from George Mason in 1994. He completed his master’s degree in educational psychology with a concentration in learning, cognition and motivation at Mason in 2014. Chao played collegiate volleyball at Pepperdine University before completing his career at George Mason.
Chao and his wife, Dana, have two children: daughter Keira and son Kylar.