|Paul Wilkins – Women’s Head Coach
Years with Beach Crew: 1
Alma Mater: George Washington University, Chapman University, Orange Coast College
Background: Paul Wilkins, SW Region Programs Coordinator for US Rowing, is returning to Cal State Long Beach as the Women’s Head Coach starting Fall Semester 2012. He replaces Daniel Harris, who had served as the head coach for the past 4 years.
This year, campus administrators have formed a new review panel, consisting of recreation staff, sports management, members of the Beach Crew Alumni Association, and team captains from their respective teams, who will be responsible for reviewing coaching operations with the rowing teams for the foreseeable future. Brandin Grams, former General Manager of Rowing, was selected as the chairman of the panel this year.
Paul has many years of experience in coaching at the collegiate level and in program development. Wilkins started coaching at George Washington University in 1981, with a crew from a very small team to one that had almost 100 competitive athletes. As head coach, he was responsible for program management, implementing budgets and its priorities, overseeing equipment acquisition and maintenance, scheduling travel, recruiting, gathering seasonal training plans and daily practice sessions.
After GWU, Paul returned to the west coast and came to CSULB in 1996 as the Women’s Head Coach. Paul also spent time coaching with our neighbors to the south at Orange Coast College. For ten years Paul developed Chapman University’s rowing program with remarkable strides, starting with less than ten athletes rowing in old donated equipment. During his tenure a new boathouse was built in Newport Beach. He commenced an aggressive equipment acquisition program, and grew the team by over 400%.
Paul served on the NCAA Div. III Rowing Committee in 2006-2008 helping manage the NCAA Championship Regatta. In his work with USRowing as Southwest Programs Coordinator, he teaches the coaching clinics that are the foundation of our coaching education program. The program is technical in nature, but also seeks to instill ethical standards and a positive, athlete centered approach.
Paul has coached elite athletes, beginners with much potential, and those who are just rowing to “get in shape.” He has developed a half dozen national team rowers, all but one of whom had never rowed prior to college, and several of whom also became members of their country’s Olympic teams.
“I encourage my athletes to do their best in all facets of their life. I make it a point to have frequent meetings with each individual on my team to foster communication, set individual goals, and to monitor classroom performance. My teams train hard on and off the water, work diligently at their academics, and graduate to become successful in their chosen fields of endeavor. I count among my alumni professors, attorneys, doctors, successful business people, public servants, artists, and coaches. For all the success that I have been able to achieve on the water, I think ultimately the greatest reward I get from coaching is the success my student athletes have in their lives after their collegiate experience is over. I believe that there are many life lessons that rowing instills in my athletes is responsible in no small measure for their success.”
|Robert Edwards – Men’s Head Coach
Years with Beach Crew: 4
Alma Mater: State University of New York Maritime (SUNY-M)
Background: Robert “Rob” Edwards joined Beach Crew in 2009 with an amazing approach to motivate his athletes and aim for success.Early one morning, during summer indoctrination, while his squad was double-timing past the scenic New York City skyline and the majestic EMPIRE STATE VI, Rob glanced over and saw the Men’s Pair rowing into the docks. Before his drill instructor snapped at him to get his eyes back to where they belonged, Rob was hooked…he had to row.
He has done that ever since. Since his Fourth Class year at the State University of New York, Maritime College (SUNY-Maritime) Rob has been a member of a competitive rowing team. While at Maritime, Rob won several medals as the bow-man in the Men’s Novice and Varsity 4′s, including gold medals at the New England Fours and Mid-Atlantic Championships as well as at several smaller regattas including the Dowling Cup, All-SUNY Regatta, Metropolitan Championships, and Knecht Cup.
After graduating Maritime with a BE in Naval Architecture, Rob was commissioned into the United States Navy and was assigned the Office of Naval Reactors, in Washington, DC. While in DC Rob began rowing with the DC Strokes Rowing Club Men’s Masters team. Shortly after joining he began coaching the morning competitive team and in 2006 took on the Men’s and Women’s Masters Novice teams while still competing with the master’s team. With Strokes Rob was able to accumulate more medals from such events as the Occoquan Chase, the Head of the Ohio, Capital Sprints, Charm City Sprints, Stonewall Regatta, and a gold and bronze at the World Out Games in Copenhagen, Denmark. While with Strokes Rob took advantage of the opportunity to learn to scull and has been racing singles, doubles and all manner of sweep boats since 2007.
In August, 2009, Rob transferred to the Individual Ready Reserves and began living a civilian life in Long Beach, California. He is thrilled to be working with the Beach Crew and looks forward to turning out motivated, life-long rowers.
|Jeffrey Vreeland – Men’s Novice Coach
Years with Beach Crew: 4
Alma Mater: Orange Coast College, UC Berkeley, CSULB
Background: Jeff has served as the Men’s Novice Coach for the last three years and is alumni of Orange Coast College, and UC Berkeley.
“The 2011-2012 Novice Team proved themselves tenacious and resolved toward their goals. The season started with promise and ended with considerable success. Early in the Fall, with the fire in their eyes, I cautioned the team against early burnout, emphasizing the long season ahead in training and technique. By the time Spring came around, they were chomping at the bit, and ready to race. As a result of this waxing potential, Beach Crew got an invite to the 47th Annual Newport Regatta, where we finished 4th of 7 crews, in a photo finish with UCSB. It had been over 10 years since we had attended, and there was considerable pride felt when they raised the respective team flags on OCC’s mast, and Long Beach State’s aged banner of Brown and Gold waved confidently. Our year ended with success at Lake Natoma; we raced strong in the fastest heat of the day, and narrowly missed the Grand Final. Success was measured in their consecutive same-day PRs (Best Recorded Times), with negligible wind and current. In short, the Novices found their run this year, and are eager to keep their momentum in the season ahead.”
|Meghan Mandell – Women’s Novice Coach
Years with Beach Crew: 2
Alma Mater: Oregon State University
Background: The 2011-2012 season was Meghan’s first year as the Women’s Novice Coach. Guided by her enthusiastic leadership, the Women’s Novice Pair placed fourth at WIRA and fifth at ACRA in the Varsity category, concluding a very successful season. She came to us with valuable experience as a rowing coach and teacher for adults and children, working with the Marin Rowing Association and in her home state of Oregon. An avid volunteer, Meghan, shared her talents and experience with the at-risk youth of Long Beach. Currently, she holds a position as a Graphic Designer, working in Orange County. Meghan rowed for Oregon State University and graduated with a B.S. degree in Human Development and Family Science.
|John O’Donnell – Boatmaster
Years with Beach Crew: 8
Alma Mater: CSULB
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. 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.”
|Rita Hayes – Student Life & Development Adviser
Years with Beach Crew: 27
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 27 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 success.
|Billy Harkness – Assistant Department Director
Years with Beach Crew: 5