Q&A With New Rowing Assistant Coach Sarah Dondero

Sept. 12, 2007


Rowing Assistant Coach Sarah Dondero is the new face in the Kansas rowing program. Dondero comes to Kansas from George Washington University where she was an assistant from 2002-07. Dondero was also a four-year Varsity Rower at national-power Virginia. Recently, Dondero sat down to answer a few questions about herself.

What brought you to KU?<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office” />

“The opportunity for me to develop professionally as well as working for an established varsity coach like Rob (Catloth). Also the athletic department here is so strong and really provides a great opportunity for rowers. With the boathouse on the horizon, it is a really great time to be involved in Kansas Rowing.”

What is your area of focus within the team?

“Right now I am the varsity assistant so I will be working with the Varsity Four’s come racing season and I am also the recruiting coordinator. In the fall, I will be helping the novice coach with her large squad of 45.”

What is your rowing experience?

“I walked-on to the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />University of Virginia team so I understand that aspect of it and that is the dominant part of our team here at Kansas. My background should help the athletes relate to me a little bit. It was an amazing experience because UVA is a successful program–last year they were second in the country. That is why I wanted to come to KU because big schools, like the ACC and Big 12 schools, provide the whole student-athlete experience. They give them what they need to succeed and Kansas is doing that.”

What is your past coaching experience?

“I was getting my Master’s degree from GeorgeWashingtonUniversity in D.C. and I really missed rowing. Rowing is really big there because the river runs right along the edge of town, so I asked if I could volunteer. The next summer the head coach left, the freshman coach was promoted and she asked me if I wanted to take the freshman job, so I did. I got into it and it was really a unique experience. We had great athletes there, but it was a smaller department because there is no football team. It was a very urban school, so it was a different kind of student body, a different focus with different resources, but it was awesome coaching in D.C.”

What is your biggest thrill as a former athlete?

“Winning the Head of the Charles. NCAA Nationals experience is obviously what we all work for and I got 2nd, 3rd and 4th at those which was amazing. But winning the gold at the Head of the Charles, which is a huge international competition, was pretty cool.”

What do you hope to bring to the KU rowing program?

“I hope to bring a bit of an outside voice and a new eye. Because KU has such a big squad, I want to be another voice and another eye because they have lacked this assistant job the past season. I also hope to develop the depth of our team and dedicate more time to recruiting efforts both in and out of state. And most importantly, I want to get them to go fast and I want them to win Big 12.”