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CRCA Announces 2023 National Coach and Staff of the Year Awards

June 15, 2023

The Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) takes great pride in announcing the four recipients of the 2023 National Coach of the Year awards. These exceptional head coaches have been selected through a voting process conducted by their peers. This prestigious accolade is bestowed upon coaches who have exhibited remarkable achievements during the current season, showcased significant team improvement from the previous season, and consistently upheld the values of professionalism and integrity in our sport. The CRCA commends these coaches for their outstanding contributions to the rowing community and their exemplary coaching prowess.


National Coach of the Year:

Division I: Derek Byrnes (Stanford University) 

Derek has been honored with his third CRCA National Coach of the Year Award, having previously received this accolade in 2015 and 2016 as the Stanford Lightweight Coach of the Year. Just completing his seventh season as the Head Coach for Stanford University, Derek has guided the program to its first DI NCAA Championship title since he took the reins. Stanford achieved second place at the NCAA Championships in both 2021 and 2022. Notably, Stanford has consistently maintained a position in the top 6 at the NCAA Championships throughout Derek’s tenure as the head coach.  This is Stanford’s second NCAA title in program history (first won in 2009).  For the second straight year, Stanford won the Pac-12 Championships, winning both the V4, V8, and placing second in the 2V8.


Division I Lightweight: Malcolm Doldron (Boston University)

Malcolm Doldron has been recognized as the 2023 CRCA Lightweight Coach of the Year. Under his guidance, the Terriers achieved remarkable success at the 2023 Jefferson Dad Vail Regatta, clinching gold medals in both the 2x and V8 events. This marked the first time since 2019 that BU triumphed in both of these categories. Their strong performance continued at the IRA National Championship Regatta, where they once again secured the runner-up position. Impressive third-place finishes in the 2x and 4+ events contributed to their consecutive runner-up finish at the National Championships. At the 2023 Dad Vail Regatta, Malcolm guided the 2x and 4+ to gold medal performances.

Throughout the regular season, BU showcased their dominance by claiming  their sixth consecutive Beanpot victory over Harvard-Radcliffe and MIT. Moreover, they stood out at the Knecht Cup, earning gold medals in the Lightweight 4 and 8 events.The team also excelled at Eastern Sprints, securing gold medals in the Lightweight 4 and 2x races. 


Division II: Matt Weise (Humboldt)

Matt Weise has been named the 2023 Division II Coach of the Year. Cal Poly Humboldt achieved a remarkable feat under the leadership of Matt Weise, winning their first National Championship since 2014. They achieved a perfect score at the 2023 NCAA Division II National Championships by emerging victorious in both the 4+ and 8+ events. Matt took over the program in July 2020, facing a challenging start due to the pandemic that resulted in the cancellation of his first season. However, in just two years, he successfully turned the program around, leading the team to extraordinary accomplishments during the 2023 season.

In addition to their National Championship triumph, Matt guided his team to a GNAC Varsity 8+ Gold Medal and a Runner-Up Team Finish at the 2023 GNAC Championships.. His remarkable contributions to the team did not go unnoticed, as he was also honored as the GNAC 2023 Coach of the Year.


Division III: Tessa Spillane ( Wellesley College)

Tessa is earning her 4th National Coach of the Year Award, having received this accolade in 2011, 2016, and 2022. The nine time NEWMAC Coach of the Year, Tessa led the Blue to back-to-back NCAA Division III National Championships (2023, 2022). Wellesley is now one of only three schools to earn at least three NCAA Division III Rowing Championships. It is also the first time a team has won the NCAA Division III Rowing Championships in back-to-back years since 2018/2019.

 Tessa guided her team to a dominating performance by capturing the 2023 NEWMAC Rowing Championship with first place finishes in the V8+, 2V8+, and 3V8+ races. She has guided Wellesley to 12 consecutive appearances at the NCAA Division III Championships, 11 NEWMAC Conference Titles and has coached 22 All-America honorees. 





2023 National Staff of the Year 

The CRCA National Staff of the Year Awards aims to acknowledge the coaching staffs that exemplifies one or more of the following criteria: exceptional success in the current season, significant improvement of the team from the previous season, realization of the team’s full potential, and unwavering commitment to professionalism and integrity. Here are the esteemed winners of the CRCA National Staff of the Year award, who have demonstrated outstanding coaching abilities and have made a lasting impact on their respective teams.


Division I: Stanford University 

“I am incredibly proud to be a part of such a hard-working and passionate team. They set the standard of what it means to bring a level of excellence to what you do day in and out, while continuing to bring levity and fun to the process. The staff is small but what it lacks in numbers they make up for in dedication and devotion to Stanford Women’s Rowing. Sure, not everything is totally thought through; like putting together a racing schedule which traveled their team over back-to-back-to-back racing weekends from San Diego to Sarasota to Palo Alto but hey they like tacos, sun and lodging in dirty AirBNBs. Most importantly, the group cares deeply about the athletes, which makes guiding the group of young women with whom we work all the more enjoyable. It’s been such a fun, challenging, and rewarding season.  


We would also like to add a special thank you, to the whole University of Iowa coaching staff for loaning us boats, going dutch on a taco truck and not forcing Derek into a dance off with Jeff. #treehawks”

Associate Head Coach – Molly Hamrick

Assistant to the Associate Head Coach – Minnie

Assistant Coach – Sarah Dougherty

Assistant to the Assistant Coach – Apollo

Assistant Coach – Megan Biging

Assistant to the Assistant Coach – Jacks

Athletic Trainer – Vanessa Lara-Diaz

Assistants to the Assistant Coaches of Stanford – the University of Iowa coaching staff

-Head Coach Derek Byrnes



Division II: Cal Poly Humboldt 

“Since the moment I arrived in Humboldt in the summer of 2020 Pat and Ashley have helped me learn the ways of the water in Humboldt Bay, taught me the ins and outs of Cal Poly Humboldt and have been instrumental in building a successful rowing program.  They work diligently on and  off the water to ensure that athletes are well supported and learn the proper skills for academic, athletic, and life success. In addition to the assistant coaches I would like to thank my wife and volunteer coach, Lisa.  The team has labeled her the “fun” aunt as she is a constant source of enthusiasm.  The three coaches along with the rest of the athletic department and administration have helped us build a championship team. Thank you to all that played a part!”

“Our  staff includes Assistant Coaches Pat Hyland and Ashley Donnell and Volunteer Coach Lisa Weise and of course the boathouse dogs Rudi and Jack.”

-Head Coach Matt Weise



Division III: Wellesley College

“It is an honor to coach alongside two thoughtful, kind, vibrant, passionate, gifted and hardworking coaches in Emilie Muller and Emilia Ball (WC ’19).  They bring so much to our student-athletes each and every day and they make our program all the better.  Their dedication to excellence, while simultaneously operating with such grace is a gift to all of us.  In addition to their daily dedication, we would be remiss if we didn’t include our strength coach Tim Snyder in Wellesley’s national coaching staff recognition.  Tim makes our team better with each workout.  His passion, warmth and high expectations make him a terrific mentor for our student-athletes.  We are so proud of all three of these exceptional individuals!”

-Head Coach Tessa Spillane




Lightweight- Boston University 

In our 2022-23 campaign BU 130 finished second in team points at the IRA National Championship, highlighted by bronze medals in the Lightweight 4+ and 2x.  During the season we collected six combined gold medals across the Dad Vail, Women’s Sprints and Knecht Cup regattas, and added a sixth-straight Lightweight Beanpot trophy.  These accomplishments would not have been possible without our amazing coaching and support staff, who have dedicated countless hours to developing our student-athletes and fostering a culture of excellence both on and off the water.  From my incredible assistant coach, Libby Hughes, to the best boatman on the planet, Russ Cone, their expertise, guidance, and commitment have been instrumental in shaping our team’s success.  I am extremely proud to celebrate these wonderful colleagues!”


Assistant Coach – Libby Hughes

Strength and Conditioning – Glenn Harris

Athletic Trainer – Rachel Geoghegan

Team Manager – Grace Maclean 

Volunteer Assistant Coach/Yoga & Movement – Brittany Murphy

Sport Psychologist/Mental Performance Coach – Malavika  Vishwanath

Academic Advisor – Mary Derrett

Dietitian – Sarah Gilbert 

Boathouse Facilities – Eddie Estrella

Boatman – Russ Cone

-Head Coach Malcolm Doldron