position Head Coach
Kate Sweeney, the 2022 Big Ten Coach of the Year, was named head coach of the Ohio State rowing program in June 2020 after serving as the interim head coach since March of 2020. She is now in her fourth season following the canceled campaign in 2020 (COVID-19), a sixth-place finish (2021) and eighth-place finish (2022) at the NCAA Championships.
In 2022, the Buckeyes claimed the Big Ten Championship, the 10th conference title in program history. Ohio State then went on to race well on the final day of the NCAA Championships to claim eighth nationally. The Buckeyes have made the NCAA event 22 times in program history.
The 2022 1V4 finished second nationally with the 1V8 ending the season seventh and the 2V8, eighth overall.
After leading the Buckeyes through the canceled 2020 season, the Buckeyes appeared in their 21st NCAA Tournament in 2021, entering the event as one of 12 at-large selections. All three NCAA boats qualified for the championships after a second-place finish in the 2021 Big Ten Regatta.
The Ohio State 1V8 ended the 2021 campaign No. 7 (NCAA No. 7 seed) behind the No. 5 2V8 (NCAA No. 6 seed) and the No. 4 1V4 (NCAA No. 6 seed).
Janine Oman, Ohio State deputy director of athletics, said Sweeney is the best positioned person to lead the rowing program.
“We are excited to welcome Kate Sweeney as the new head coach of Ohio State Rowing,” Oman said. “Her familiarity with the program both as an assistant coach and as a former student athlete makes her the right leader for the program. Kate has been part of championship teams here at Ohio State. She knows the program history well and is eager to continue to build on those successes.”
Sweeney said her personal and family relationship with Ohio State has prepared her for this opportunity.
“Ohio State has always held a special place in my heart,” Sweeney said. “Both of my parents are alumni of Moritz College of Law, my grandfather was an Ohio State chemical engineering professor for many years and I’m a proud member of the class of 2012. I’m incredibly honored to be afforded the opportunity to lead this program that means so much to so many amazing women.
“As a program, we will strive to honor the legacy of the past 25 years by being engaged students, athletes and stewards of society,” Sweeney said. “We remind ourselves often that we stand on the shoulders of giants and with that sentiment in mind, we are eager to get started. Thank you Janine and Gene (Smith) for the opportunity. Go Bucks!”
Sweeney returned to her alma mater as an assistant coach for the Buckeyes in August 2016. She came back to Ohio State after spending the previous year as a volunteer assistant at California-Berkeley, helping the Bears to a national championship in May 2016.
Prior to her one season in Berkeley, Sweeney spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Indiana where she was responsible for all aspects of the walk-on program, including recruiting, development and training. She helped the Hoosiers to 11th-place finishes at the NCAA championships in 2014 and 2015.
During both of her seasons in Bloomington, Sweeney and the IU coaching staff was named the 2014 and 2015 CRCA Regional Staff of the Year and earned National Coaching Staff of the Year honors in 2014 after guiding the Hoosiers to their first appearance in the NCAA championships.
As a student-athlete at Ohio State from 2009-12 Sweeney was a two-time Top 5 finisher at the NCAA Rowing Championships and a Big Ten Champion in 2011. She also was a four-time Academic All-Big Ten selection and a Big Ten Distinguished Scholar in 2011 and 2012.