Byrnes moves from lightweight to open weight rowing coach


Derek Byrnes has been appointed Stanford's head women's rowing coach, Director of Athletics Bernard Muir announced Tuesday.

Byrnes, who boasted national championships in each of his two years as head of the Stanford lightweight rowing program, takes over the reins of the women's open weight program.

Derek Byrnes
"Derek has an exceptional track record of success as a coach at both the collegiate and junior level, and we are thrilled to have him take over the Stanford open weight women's rowing program," Muir said. "While his two national championships as the head coach of the lightweight rowing program speak for themselves, Derek's high character and leadership on and off the water are exemplary. He is well-regarded amongst his peers both at Stanford and in the rowing community. We are aligned in our vision for the Stanford women's rowing program. "Under his tutelage and leadership, the program will continue to compete at the highest level and represent Stanford's values on and off the water."

A two-time Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) National Coach of the Year and two-time Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Women's Lightweight Coach of the Year, Byrnes guided the Cardinal's lightweight program to IRA team titles in 2015 and 2016.

"I want to thank Bernard Muir, Patrick Dunkley, and Jamie Breslin for this incredible opportunity," Byrnes said. "I have big shoes to fill. I have great respect for Yaz Farooq's great leadership, and her success in elevating the program to national prominence in the past decade. I am honored to coach at a university committed to supporting student-athletes in achieving excellence in the classroom and on the water."

Under Byrnes' direction, the Stanford lightweight varsity eight never lost a race en route to the IRA women's lightweight varsity eight national crown in each of his two years as head coach. He also led the lightweight four to its first national championship in school history. The program produced six CRCA All-Americans over the past two seasons.

Also highly-regarded as a mentor for the student-athletes off the water, Byrnes was a finalist for the Positive Coaching Alliance Double-Goal Coach Award. In his two years at the helm of the Stanford lightweight program, 10 student-athletes were recognized as CRCA Scholar-Athletes. The lightweight rowing program boasted the fifth-best team grade-point average (3.59) for the 2014-15 academic year.

Byrnes came to Stanford in the fall of 2014, following an equally impressive tenure as the Director of Competitive Rowing and head coach of the women's varsity crew for the Oakland Strokes.

A three-time American Junior Rowing Coach of the Year, Byrnes enjoyed two different stints with the Oakland Strokes (2001-06 and 2010-14) and served as the head coach of the women's varsity eight at the Los Gatos Rowing Club from 2007-09.

He helped increase the Oakland Strokes' annual roster from 160 to more than 220 student-athletes, while providing oversight as a supervisor, counselor and mentor for both the student-athletes and coaches in the club program.

In his final season with the Oakland Strokes, he guided the club to national championships in the lightweight eight and varsity eight. With Byrnes at the helm, the club captured 33 titles over 13 years at the Southwest Regional Junior Championships.

Over the course of his coaching career, he led his teams to 12 USRowing Youth National Championships. Byrnes guided the varsity eight to a top-two finish seven times and the lightweight eight to a top-two finish 11 times at the Youth National Championships.

Byrnes is one of only three coaches to coach his boats to a Youth National Championship in both varsity eight events in the same season, achieving the feat on three separate occasions

— Stanford Athletics

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