Rowing: OU hires coach
OU has named Leeanne Crain as the first head coach of its new rowing program. Crain has spent the last four seasons as head coach at the University of Central Florida, following a 10-year stint as coach at the University of San Diego.
Crain’s appointment was announced Wednesday by OU Vice President for Sports Programs and Athletics Director Joe Castiglione.
Oklahoma’s varsity women’s rowing program will begin competing in the spring of 2009.
“Today’s announcement underlines the importance of rowing as a new varsity sport at OU,” said University President David L. Boren. “Coach Crain has established herself as one of the best rowing coaches in the nation. As the new team is being put together, we will also soon begin construction on the new Aubrey McClendon OU Boathouse along the race course of the Oklahoma River in Oklahoma City.”
The new coach appreciates her selection as the inaugural coach, especially in the Oklahoma City market.”
“I am thrilled to be given this tremendous opportunity as the first head coach of the women’s rowing program at the University of Oklahoma,” Crain said. “There is so much excitement in the rowing community over the revitalization of Oklahoma City’s Bricktown and the rowing venue that is being planned along the riverfront. I am grateful to Joe Castiglione for his trust in my abilities to build a national championship rowing program at OU. I am anxious to get underway.”
Castiglione cited Crain’s credentials and said her hiring to the position speaks well for the new Sooner athletics program.
“Leeanne’s credentials and experience are indeed impressive,” Castiglione said. “Moreover, hiring someone as highly regarded as Leeanne highlights the special opportunities we have to build a championship caliber program here at Oklahoma. We are excited to welcome her to the Sooner family and anxious to work with her at this exciting time in rowing’s history at OU.”
At Central Florida, Crain developed the Knights into one of the nation’s premier programs. During her four seasons, UCF rowers compiled two All-America honors and seven all-region honors, while 20 Knights earned Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) National Scholar-Athlete recognition, including a nation-leading seven honorees in 2006.
Her 2006-07 team recorded the best season in UCF history, opening the season with nine consecutive victories and earning the school’s first NCAA Championships berth. The squad also claimed the overall trophy at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championships and earned UCF’s highest all-time national ranking (No. 9) in the US Rowing/ CRCA Coaches Poll.
Crain’s 2005-06 varsity eight team earned the program’s first top-20 ranking in the US Rowing/CRCA Coaches Poll and claimed the team’s ninth Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association (FIRA) Championship while finishing fourth in its region at the South/Central Regional Championships. The Knights also claimed the program’s first All-American in Krystina Sarff.
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