Men's Head Coach
Craig Amerkhanian is in his 17th season as Stanford's men's rowing head coach in 2016-17.
He is a two-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year, receiving the honor in 2006 and 2009. During his tenure Stanford Crew has evolved into a complete and powerful rowing program. The men's team continues to climb the national rankings under Amerkhanian's leadership. He has overseen the evolution of the Stanford rowing program into one of the nation's most elite.
During the 2015-16 season the Cardinal sent two boats to the IRA National Championships. Amerikhanian led his varsity 8 to a strong second place finish in the petite final, finishing 9th overall in the IRA. In the 2014-15 season, Amerkhanian led his squad to a fourth place team finish at the Pac-12 Championships and a bronze medal in the varsity eight. The varsity four went on to make the Grand Final at the IRA, winning a bronze medal.
In 2013-2014 Amerkhanian led his squad to a third place finish as a team at the Pac-12 Championships. Junior rower Austin Hack was selected as the Pac-12 Men’s Rowing Athlete of the Year. The performance at the conference championships came after the Cardinal won the Schwabacher Cup by defeating Cal in the Big Row. The season got off to a great start as the 4+ won the Men’s Championship Four at the Head of the Charles, joining the 2007 Stanford boat as the only two from the Farm in the last 15 years to do so. Stanford closed out the season with an eighth place finish at the IRA National Championships.
The Stanford men have been a dominant fixture on the U.S. national teams. Since 2000, there have been nine competitors at the Olympics, 16 competitors at the World Championships, 17 competitors at the Under-23 World Championships that have featured Stanford rowers. That list includes seven gold medals, including Stanford’s first Olympic gold recipient under Amerkhanian, as Adam Kreek led Canada to a gold medal in the 8+ at the Beijing Olympics in 2008.
Prior to Stanford, Amerkhanian spent nine seasons coaching at Cal where athletes he recruited and coached won seven national championships in the eights (four V8, one JV8, two frosh 8). Amerkhanian also has placed numerous athletes on National, Olympic and "Boat Race" (Oxford/Cambridge) teams.
Women's Head Coach
Derek Byrnes was named Stanford’s head women’s rowing coach in August, 2016.
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. 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.
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.
Over the course of his coaching career in junior rowing, 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 – 2005, 2012, 2014.
Lightweight Women's Head Coach
Kate Bertko, one of the United States’ most decorated lightweight rowers and a 2016 Olympian, was hired as the head coach of the two-time defending national champion Stanford Lightweight Rowing program September, 2016.
Bertko has led the lightweight team to a strong start for the 2016-17 season. The varsity 8 placed 11th overall in the openweight category at the Princeton Chase in Princeton, N.J., finishing ahead of all other lightweight teams and numerous openweight varsity crews.
Bertko comes to The Farm as one of the United States Rowing National Team’s top lightweight rowers. A seven-year member of the National Team, she was named the 2013 USRowing Female Athlete of the Year. In the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Bertko competed in the United States lightweight women’s double sculls, leading the U.S. entry a 10th place finish.
A four-time medalist on the international level, Bertko captured the silver medal in the lightweight women’s double sculls at the 2013 World Championships and the bronze medal in the lightweight women’s single sculls at both the 2014 and 2015 World Championships. She also led the U.S. to the silver medal in the women’s open quadruple sculls at the 2009 World Championships. She has competed in six World Championship regattas overall, also representing the U.S. in 2010 and 2011. She also set a course record, en route to a gold medal in the single sculls at the 2013 Head of the Charles.
Bertko’s coaching experience includes positions at California, Princeton and at the junior level with the Oakland Strokes. She served as an assistant coach at California during the 2007 season, coaching the varsity four to a bronze medal at the 2007 NCAA Championships. She has also served various roles on the coaching staffs at both Princeton (Winter 2008 and 2009), and the national junior rowing program, the Oakland Strokes.
Camp Director & Women's Assistant Coach
Bonnie Chilibeck is in her second season as an assistant coach at Stanford and first year as Camp Director. Her first season Chilibeck was Derek Byrnes' assistant coach with the lightweight team. Together they led the Cardinal to an IRA National Championship in both the Varsity 8 and team title. The Varsity 8 went undefeated throughout the season and the Varsity 4 and Double both won bronze at the 2016 IRA National Championship. In August 2016, Chilibeck joined Byrnes and Chaudoin in coaching the Stanford Openweight Women.
Chilibeck joined the Stanford lightweight rowing program in September 2015. She came to Stanford after serving as a volunteer assistant coach at Indiana University for two years, in which IU achieved it’s first and second NCAA bid. While at Indiana, Chilibeck coached the Novice 8+ to a fourth-place finish at the 2014 Big Ten Championship, and the Second Novice 8+ to a fourth-place finish at the 2015 Big 10 Championships. She received her Master's in Kinesiology from Indiana in 2015, completing a two-year program in Sport Management and Athletic Administration.
Chilibeck earned her Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition in 2013 from Oregon State University, where she was a standout coxswain for the Beavers. As a Freshman, Chilibeck was the coxswain for OSU's Varsity 4+ that earned a berth in the NCAA Championships for the first time in the program's history. She served as the team captain and coxswain for Oregon State's varsity eight her final three seasons.
Assistant Men's Coach
Jason Hilton joined the Stanford men’s coaching staff as an assistant coach in 2014. At the 2016 IRA National Championship Hilton and Amerkhanian led the Cardinal Varsity 8 to a second place finish in the petite final. The V8 finished 9th in the country, securing the Chapman Award for Most Improved Team in the IRA. In his first season at Stanford, Hilton helped lead the varsity four to a bronze at the IRA National Championship. He also oversaw the novice eight that captured the title at the San Diego Crew Classic. The team finished fourth at the Pac-12 Championships after the varsity eight earned a bronze medal.
Hilton came to The Farm from the Oakland Strokes where he coached the Varsity men to silver medals at the Youth National Championships in 2013 and 2014. Prior to coaching at the varsity level, Hilton was the novice head coach for seven years, pushing his crews onto the medal stand in six of seven seasons.
Hilton graduated from the University of Washing in 2003 with a bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture. After rowing fro two years, including a 5th place finish at the IRA in the 4-, he switched to rugby and helped lead the Huskies to the top of the North West division.
Women's Assistant Coach
Kelsie Chaudoin joined the Cardinal as an assistant coach in 2015 after serving as novice men's assistant coach for the Oakland Strokes Rowing Club. In her first season at Stanford, Chaudoin coached the Varsity 4 and Third Varsity 8. At the 2016 Pac-12 Championships, the V4 finished third behind Cal and Washington. At the NCAA National Championship, the V4 went in ranked 9th in the country and ended the season placing fourth in the grand final. The Stanford Women's Rowing team ended the season placing 4th as a team, securing a spot on the podium at NCAA's.
While coaching at Oakland Strokes, Chaudoin continued to compete as an athlete with the California Rowing Club (CRC). She trained full time trying to make the U.S. roster for the 2016 Olympics, winning the Canadian Henley Pair and quad in 2013 as well as the West Coast Fall Speed Order in 2014. Prior to competing at the CRC, Chaudoin trained at the US Rowing Training Center in Princeton, N.J. from 2008-2011. She won gold at the 2008 U-23 World Championships in the 8+ and was an elite national champion in the four in 2009.
Chaudoin graduated from the University of Virginia in 2008 as the first and only student-athlete to receive a four-year degree in Architecture. A walk-on to the Virginia rowing team, Chaudoin was a NCAA first team All-American and the ACC Rowing Scholar-Athlete of the Year. She lead the Cavaliers to four straight ACC Championships from 2005-08 and to a runner-up finish at the NCAA Championship in 2007.
Lightweight Women's Assistant Coach
Joan Buck begins her first season with the Stanford lightweight rowing program, where she will serve as the Cardinal's assistant coach.
Buck comes to Stanford after spending last season as an assistant coach for the Dartmouth women's rowing program. At Dartmouth, she worked with each of the boats, assisting with training on and off the water and coordinating all regatta preparations and team travel.
Buck also owns three years of coaching experience at the high school level as an assistant coach for the Boston College High School Boys Rowing program for the 2014 and 2015 seasons and the Brooklyn High School Boys Rowing program for 2013.
She attended Wellesley College, where she earned a B.A. Russian Language & Literature in 2010. Buck was also a standout rower during her collegiate career, helping guide Wellesley to an appearance in the 2010 NCAA Championships.
Buck rowed for the Riverside Boat Club High Performance Group from 2010 through 2015, earning a spot in the USRowing Senior National Team Trials in the LW1x in 2013 and 2014. She was also an Elite Nationals Champion in the LW2x in 2013.