California State University, Long Beach

Beach Crew Staff

Ian Simpson – Women’s Head Coach

Years with Beach Crew: 3

Alma Mater: Durham University

Background: Starting his third year of coaching the Long Beach State women’s team, Ian Simpson has long been associated with rowing in Long Beach. In 1994 Ian started the Elite Rowing Group in Long Beach which was responsible for the development of many athletes, including several who went on to row for the United States. After the 1997 world championships, Ian left Long Beach to become the assistant coach of the US women’s national team. After the 2000 Sydney Olympics he became the Head Coach and Program Director of the Long Beach Junior Crew program until 2006 when he moved to the San Francisco Bay Area to head the powerhouse Oakland Strokes women’s varsity team. His Oakland rowers won the San Diego Crew Classic, the Youth National Championships and the World Junior Championships. In 2010 Ian returned to revive elite sculling in Long Beach. In 2012 Ian was a team manager and coach of the US rowing team at the Olympic/Paralympic Games in London, England. In 2013 Ian formed the Southern California Scullers Club in nearby Huntington Harbour. Under Ian’s guidance, SoCal Scullers athletes represented the United States at the world championships in S. Korea and the Netherlands and at World Cup races in France. They were runners-up in U-23 and junior national team trials and have won multiple national championships and Canadian Henley medals.

In 2010, together with former Long Beach State rower Elena Delgado, Ian established a high performance land training center (CORE) for boys and girls and young adults. CORE provides individualized training for athletes from any sport, but with a strong emphasis on rowing conditioning. A workout destination for college and national team rowers, CORE is based on the CSULB campus and is available to members of the Long Beach State rowing team.

Ian is a graduate of Durham University in England. He rowed for the London Rowing Club and is still a member of England’s Leander Club.

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Anthony C. (AC) Chacon – Men’s Head Coach

Years with Beach Crew: 2

Alma Mater: Grand Valley State University

Background: Anthony C. (AC) Chacon is the LBS Rowing Men’s Varsity head coach. He became head coach in the fall of 2015. AC has 14 years experience of coaching rowing at the NCAA collegiate, Club collegiate, and Masters competitive programs. He was introduced to rowing while attending Grand Valley State University in the early 2000’s where he was a coxswain. Since graduating, AC has competed in numerous Regattas including three at Head of the Charles as a coxswain where he won a gold medal in 2012 with the USRowing Mixed LTA4+.

AC began coaching at Grand Valley State in 2002. Since then he has coached both men and women at the novice and varsity level in many programs including Notre Dame, University of Chicago, Lincoln Park Boat Club’s Men’s competitive sweeps, Northwestern, Chicago Rowing Union and North Park University. On top of coaching at the collegiate level AC has spent his last 3 summers in the Bahamas with the Nassau Rowing Club, where he was invited by the Bahamas Olympic Committee to coach World Rowing Championship bound juniors, Competitive masters, and teach learn to row programs. AC completed his Masters in Kinesiology in 2016.

Alyssa Sunofsky – Womens Assistant Coach

Years with Beach Crew: 2

Alma Mater: Fordham University

Background: Started rowing at Long Beach Junior Crew(LBJC) in 8th grade in 2002. During her senior year at LBJC in 2007, Alyssa sat stroke seat in the varsity 8+ which won 1st place at Junior Nationals. Has been co-captain at LBJC, Orange Coast College Women’s Rowing, and Fordham University. With 9 years of rowing experience, Alyssa is now in her 2nd year as assistant coach for CSULB Women’s Rowing.

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Brent Underwood – Men’s Assistant Coach

Alma Mater: St. Lawrence University

Years with Beach Crew: 1

Background: Before moving to Long Beach Brent Underwood rowed competitively at St. Lawrence University. During the fall of his freshman year Brent had already made the varsity boat. He then went on to break the school records for both the 6k and 2k in 2011 and 2012. His varsity 8+ medaled at New York State Championships two years in a row. This is Brent’s first year ever coaching a crew team, however, he has over 5 years of experience coaching other competitive sports such as Water Polo, Swimming, Muay Thai, and Jui Jitsu.

When asked why he liked rowing, he simply said, “because it is the hardest thing most people will ever do in their entire lives.”

John O’Donnell – Boatmaster

Years with Beach Crew: 11

Alma Mater: CSU Long Beach

Background: Beach Crew Boatman, John O’Donnell, has the distinction of being on board with Beach Crew since 2004, the longest in the current lineup of staff. “Coach John,” as his rowers call him, is a mentor to all of his athletes. They love his passion to introduce the sport to many walk-on athletes as well as those continuing in the sport who have rowed in the past.

Coach John himself was a rower at CSULB in Coach Peter Mallory’s lightweight crew in 1974. John is a certified referee for US Rowing.

When asked why he loves the sport, his response was rather taken by surprise as he pointed out to a crew that just threw their coxswain in the water after winning a scrimmage. “You see that? That’s why I’m here doing this. You can’t experience that anywhere else.”

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Rita Hayes – Student Life & Development Adviser

Years with Beach Crew: 30

Background: Rita serves as the Director of the largest Club Sport program in the CSU system directing the activities of 38 sports programs in addition to managing a fitness program serving Faculty, Students, and community members. During the summer she runs a academic camp for over 400 hundred students from kindergarten thru the eighth grade to provide academic enrichment and exposure to the college environment. Rita has been working at CSULB in administration for 30 years after completing her undergraduate degree in Physical Education and her graduate degree in Recreation Administration at CSULB.

She is married to Rick Hayes, the women’s basketball coach at Segerstrom High School in Santa Ana, and has three daughters ages 26, 23, and 20. They live in Seal Beach. Rita notes that Long Beach State is larger than the cities that most students come from and she sees club sports as a valuable tool in retaining students by helping them feel connected to the campus. Rita has been a great supporter of the rowing program and her help has been instrumental in its continued succes.