After an extensive national search, the Stetson University crew program has a new coach. Mark Wilson’s 26-year career in the water includes a background as both a collegiate athlete and coach.
“We had an incredibly talented and diverse group of candidates to take over the leadership of our crew program, but Mark’s background stood out,” Stetson Director of Athletics Jeff Altier said. “His personal experience as a competitor as well as his experience with building competitive programs, both inside and outside college athletics, left little doubt that he was the right choice.”
Wilson, who most recently has served as Executive Director and head coach for White Rock Boathouse, Inc., a Dallas-based non-profit organization dedicated to teaching the sport of rowing to people of all ages, was a collegiate athlete in one of the hot-bed regions for the sport of crew, in Boston.
While an undergrad at Northeastern University, where he earned a B.S. degree in Business, Wilson was a member of a national championship crew team. In the spring of 1991 he set numerous records in dual races, while also being a member of the Varsity 8+ IRA national championship crew.
"I am very happy to be coming to DeLand and to Stetson University as the new head coach for rowing,” Wilson said. “Rowing has been an important part of my life for the last 26 years. I look forward to working with the student-athletes at Stetson to give them the same great experience that I have had.
“Rowing is a life sport and I hope we not only can create a competitive team, but also an experience the athletes want to continue upon graduation."
Since his college career Wilson has continued to compete as a master rower, competing at events across the nation.
His career as a coach started soon after his collegiate career ended. After spending five years in the private sector, Wilson became assistant coach at the University of Massachusetts. After serving in that position for just one year, he was named head coach at Indiana University where he was tasked with building the Hoosiers’ crew program from the ground up.
During his tenure at Indiana he was able to bring the NCAA Championship Regatta to the state.
After leaving Indiana in 2003, Wilson stayed connected to the sport, working with Vespoli USA, a leading manufacturer of racing shells, before spending time as Rowing Development Director for the Oak Ridge Rowing Association and then White Rock.
In addition to his work in the sport, Wilson has also been actively involved as co-director of the All-American Rowing Camp since 2000 and was the co-founder of the Foundation for Rowing Education. He was also the founder of the Riddle Point Rowing Association in Bloomington, Ind.
"DeLand, and Stetson University, is one of the best places to row in the country,” Wilson said. “I have been blessed to coach and row from coach-to-coast and I am looking forward to inviting more people to our venue so they can enjoy the water of the St. John’s River and Lake Beresford.
“Stetson University is ideally stationed in the middle of thousands high school rowers, with access to the more than 80 Florida teams, which would make any coach green with envy. The year round rowing, the tranquil waters, the support of the athletic department and the visiting crews to DeLand all lend to a perfect storm for a successful program.”