The Catholic University of America Associate Vice President & Director of Athletics Sean Sullivan announced the hiring of Katie O'Driscoll as the Cardinals' first-ever varsity men's and women's rowing coach. Catholic begins competition in the 2018-19 season.
O'Driscoll comes to Washington, D.C., from nearby Fairfax, Va., as she served as an assistant coach at George Mason University for the past three seasons.
"This is a very exciting day for our Athletics Department. It's rare to have the opportunity to select the very first coach in the history of a varsity program. We have found that uniquely special leader in Katie O'Driscoll and we welcome her to the Cardinal family. She will be a fantastic mentor to and role model for our student-athletes," said Sullivan. "
O'Driscoll has also coached a Division I National Powerhouse, the University of Washington, as well as several stops at the USRowing Junior Development Camp and The Winsor School in Boston, Mass.
"I knew during my interview that I would feel right at home at Catholic. The energy and enthusiasm with which I was welcomed was unlike anything I'd ever experienced, and by the end of the day, I already felt like part of the team," said O'Driscoll. "Ever since I began coaching, it's been a dream of mine to build a program. It's a massive undertaking with a lot of moving parts but the level of support and cooperation that Sean and the University have already offered makes me confident that we will be showing great results very soon."
A Division III rower herself, O'Driscoll went from a freshman walk-on at Ithaca College to a captain and an All-American by her senior season.
"My experience as a DIII rower started a lifelong love of the sport and led me to pursue a career in coaching. I am thrilled to have the chance to instill that same enthusiasm with my athletes, just as my college coach did with me," remarked O'Driscoll.
Over the past three seasons at George Mason, O'Driscoll was responsible for recruitment and development of walk-on talent and was the lead recruiter for West Coast, Northeast, Mid-West, Florida, and Texas recruiting bases. She also assisted the head coach in writing and implementing of training plans, in addition to the overhauling of positive nutrition plans for races and training camps.
Prior to Mason, O'Driscoll spent two seasons with the Washington Huskies where she was the primary coach for the second and third freshman boats and the fifth varsity boat and helped guide the novice to undefeated seasons and two Pac-12 Championships. Additionally, O'Driscoll developed a new strength training program for the freshmen and organized Junior Day recruiting events and home regattas.
For the two summers in Washington, O'Driscoll was the head coach of the USRowing Junior Sculling Development Camp at the Seattle Rowing Center. She led the development of 47 junior men and women scullers in 1xs, 2xs and 4xs. Prior to her time at Washington, O'Driscoll was the novice coach at The Winsor School in Boston for a year where she taught novice rowers the fundamentals of the sport.
In 2012, O'Driscoll was part of a small group of coaches to be awarded a fellowship in the inaugural postgraduate program at the Institute for Rowing Leadership, a year-long coaching education program specifically designed to train rowing coaches. The fellows at the IRL were instructed by professors from Boston University, Northeastern and Harvard in courses related to managing a rowing program from top to bottom.
"Following a thorough national search, Katie rose to the top of our impressive pool of candidates for a variety of reasons," said Sullivan. "The understanding Katie has of what someone new to the sport may be experiencing and what is required to become a rower worthy of national accolades speaks volumes to her ability to connect with future Catholic rowers of a wide degree of experience and capability. Katie brings a tremendous amount of energetic passion for the sport to the job - a component critical to the successful growth of a new intercollegiate program."
O'Driscoll graduated from Ithaca with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism in 2009. As a student-athlete, O'Driscoll was part of three NCAA appearances in the varsity eight. She was a four-year CRCA Scholar-Athlete and a first-team Pocock All-American.