Feb. 10, 2012
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -
Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk announced Friday that Rob Friedrich will be promoted from associate head coach to head coach of the heavyweight rowing team at the conclusion of the 2012 season. Friedrich will also assume responsibility as director of rowing, overseeing the program at large. Friedrich replaces Rick Clothier, who is retiring after 38 years as the head coach.
"With great enthusiasm and confidence, the decision has been made to elevate Rob Friedrich to the position of head coach," said Gladchuk. "After working for the legendary Rick Clothier for a number of years, Rob has earned the enthusiastic endorsement of our student-athletes, his peers in the profession, and our many devoted alumni with passion for crew.
"We searched extensively over a number of months to bring forward the best person to lead the program. We have found no one better than Rob, who has brought a high degree of documented moral, mental, and physical success to our midshipmen and the crew program since his arrival on the Yard. Our esteemed Coach Clothier may step aside after this spring season with great confidence knowing his legacy of excellence will be advanced by an accomplished, dedicated, trustworthy educator, coach, and gentleman in Rob Friedrich."
"This is a dream come true to become the head coach for the Navy heavyweight rowing team," said Friedrich. "I think our program is on the verge of great things and I am excited to take over the reigns at the end of the year. I can't thank Coach Clothier and the whole Navy family enough for their support in this process."
Friedrich has been a part of Navy rowing for over 10 years as he first arrived at the Academy in 2001 as head coach of the lightweight team.
In 2008, Friedrich joined Clothier and the heavyweight team as associate head coach where he has led the freshman boats to the upper echelon of collegiate rowing over the past three seasons. Since joining the heavyweight team to coach the freshmen, Friedrich has led the plebes to a combined 40-8 regular-season record over the past three seasons.
Friedrich's freshman teams have not only demonstrated success, but also consistent improvement. After posting 5-3 and 12-2 regular-season records, respectively during his first two years, the freshman boats combined to go 16-1 last season. Navy's top boat placed fourth at the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC) Championships, which was the highest placing for a Navy plebe crew in the past 15 seasons.
His success with the heavyweight crews certainly came as no surprise as Friedrich previously guided the Navy lightweight team to new heights by winning the Eastern Sprints and IRA National Championships in 2004. The IRA crown was the first for Navy in program history, while the EARC Varsity Lightweight title was the first for the Mids in 42 years.
In total, Friedrich coached 18 boats to EARC and IRA National Championships and led 30 crews to medals at the two events while with the lightweight program. He was twice named both the EARC Coach of the Year and Naval Academy Alumni Foundation Spring Coach of the Year.
During his time in Annapolis, Friedrich's contributions to the Navy rowing programs have reached beyond coaching. Along with Clothier, Friedrich helped develop and implement plans for the recently renovated Hubbard Hall and he oversaw several projects within the boathouse, which is now one of the finest in the nation. In serving as its co-director, Friedrich also helped the Navy Crew Camp become the largest high school rowing camp in the country.
Prior to arriving at the Naval Academy, Friedrich served as head coach of the lightweight rowing team at Rutgers from 1998-2001. Friedrich's tenure at Rutgers was highlighted by being named EARC Coach of the Year in 1999 and leading the varsity boat to second place at the IRA National Championships the same season.
Friedrich earned his bachelor's degree in journalism from Rutgers where he was a standout member of the lightweight rowing team, earning most valuable athlete honors on two occasions. His international experience as a competitor includes the 1997 Under-23 World Rowing Championships and the World Rowing Championships.