California State University, Long Beach

Beach Crew Staff

981153_994708420614331_7720522325577378508_oAnthony C. (AC) Chacon – Men’s Head Coach

Years with Beach Crew: 3

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 – Women’s Head Coach

Years with Beach Crew: 3

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.

 Cristina Felix – Women’s Assistant Coach 

Years with Beach Crew: 1

Alma Mater: University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Background: Cristina Felix is the Assistant Coach for the LBS Women’s Rowing team. Cristina has quite the background as rower and athlete. Starting as a member of the Long Beach Junior Crew as a sophomore in high school, Cristina has won three youth national championships (8+, 2x, 4x) as well as the Head of the Charles (4+). In 2007, Cristina had competed with the US Junior National team in Beijing (4-) and Austria (8+) the following year. She had also won the FISA Junior World Championships in the 8+ the same year (2008).

Cristina began rowing for the University of Michigan in the fall of 2008, where she was named Freshman of the Year during the start of her rowing-college career. In 2009, Cristina competed for the US U23 team at the World Championships in the Czech Republic (2x). In 2010, Cristina competed for Puerto Rico at the Caribbean Games (2x) and finished third; Cristina also received the Olympic award for outstanding athlete that same year. Cristina ended her college-athlete career by winning a Big Ten and NCAA championship (8+) in 2012.

During her time in college, Cristina was chosen to participate in Michigan’s Leadership Academy. After graduating in 2012, Cristina began as a coach for Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan until 2013. She began coaching for the Women’s Rowing Team at LBS last year. Needless to say, Cristina Felix has quite the background in rowing; the boathouse and lesser experienced rowers are lucky to have her and her invaluable experience on board.

Sean McCrea – Men’s Assistant Coach

Years with Beach Crew: 3

Alma Mater: California State University, Long Beach

Background: Sean McCrea is the Assistant Coach for the LBS Mens Rowing Team. Having graduated in the spring of 2017 with a Bachelors’ in Kinesiology, Sean has rowed with the team that he coaches for three years prior to taking the job. Sean is currently working on his Masters, focusing on Exercise Science.

Since the age of 5, Sean had an affinity for team sports. He took part in team sports ever since then, loving the challenge of overcoming adversity as well as the process that it takes to be successful in the sport. This love for sports has affected his career and life choices; Sean has been a personal trainer since 2015, worked with the USRowing Junior National Team as an intern, and now works with D1 athletes on his graduating campus of CSULB as an intern on top of assisting AC in coaching Beach Crew.

When asked about his experiences and how the last few months have been, Sean stated that he is grateful to continue to represent Long Beach State as a member of the staff, as well as being a positive influence to the young men and women that the team comes in contact with throughout the season at Long Beach State.

 

John O’Donnell – Boatmaster

Years with Beach Crew: 12

Alma Mater: California State University, 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: 31

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.