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A New Leader for JU Men’s Rowing

Head Coach Marci Robles Discusses Possibilities and Realities of JU Rowing

At+an+early+morning+practice+Oct.+4%2C+Coach+Marci+Robles+gives+direction+from+a+megaphone+as+the+team+rows+past+her+and+Assistant+Coach+Rich+Kelley+in+the+coaching+launch.+
At an early morning practice Oct. 4, Coach Marci Robles gives direction from a megaphone as the team rows past her and Assistant Coach Rich Kelley in the coaching launch.

At an early morning practice Oct. 4, Coach Marci Robles gives direction from a megaphone as the team rows past her and Assistant Coach Rich Kelley in the coaching launch.

Photo by Stefanie Keeler

Photo by Stefanie Keeler

At an early morning practice Oct. 4, Coach Marci Robles gives direction from a megaphone as the team rows past her and Assistant Coach Rich Kelley in the coaching launch.

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This past summer saw several changes in the athletic department, and with those changes came new faces. One of those faces is coach Marci Robles, the new head coach of the men’s rowing team. Coach Robles is coming to Jacksonville University from the opposite end of the country, where she was an assistant coach at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. Before her time at Gonzaga, she was an assistant at Georgetown University. She attended Boston College where she was a coxswain for the men’s rowing program. She brings this experience to JU with the hope of putting it to good use and bringing home championships in the future.

 

Q: How has the transition been from the west coast to the east coast?

A: It’s different. I feel like I’m on a constant vacation. Luckily I didn’t have to make the drive all in one trip. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited about the weather in October and November, because I know it’s going to be awesome. I’m liking the change of scenery.

 

Coach Marci Robles now leads the JU men's rowing team. ��

Photo by Stefanie Keeler
Coach Marci Robles now leads the JU men’s rowing team.

Q: How has the transition been from assistant coach to head coach?

A: It’s gone pretty smoothly. I was fortunate enough at Gonzaga, in terms of some of the responsibilities that the head coaches take on like recruiting, I pretty much ran the recruiting at Gonzaga. So that experience has definitely helped. I also helped with a lot of the logistic as well. The difference is, as a head coach you have much more responsibility. And the guys help by making it easy.

 

Q: How do the accolades that you’ve achieved throughout your career contribute to your new role as head coach of the men’s rowing team?

A: I would say more my experiences with my athletes have a bigger contribution. I’ve definitely learned a lot. Having been a coxswain on a men’s team and then having coached at the high school level for a little bit and spent the last five years at the Division 1 level has given me an advantage. Every team is different and every athlete is different. There are things that are repetitive from day-to-day, but there are always new challenges that present themselves and I think that it’s fun trying to problem solve.

 

Q: How do you plan on taking this program, which has been successful throughout the years, to the next level?

A: It’s a young team. We have just a handful of juniors and seniors and we have a lot of freshmen and a lot of sophomores, so they’re young, but we’ve got a good base. Depth is something I’d like to work on in terms of recruiting and bringing in an even stronger class next year. Working on the depth of the team, as it is now, from top to bottom and making that bottom end stronger and the top speed faster.

 

Q: What are your short term goals for the men’s rowing program?

A: SIRA, Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association, is going to be a big one for us. Winning that would be fantastic. Winning that is definitely one of our more immediate goals. Having all of our boats medal at the regional championships is a goal as well. Not just focusing on that top eight, but making sure that everyone is successful and contributing to the overall success of the team.

 

Q: Where would you like to see this program in one year? Five years? Even further?

A: IRA is our national championship and I would like to not just qualify for the IRA regatta, but to also perform. To go there and be competitive would be fantastic.

 

Q: What would you like your lasting impression to be on this program?

A: Honestly, I just want my athletes to have a good experience.

 

 

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A New Leader for JU Men’s Rowing