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University of Portland Hires New Women's Rowing Coach

July 16, 2013

PORTLAND, Ore. --- Pasha Spencer has been named the new head coach of the University of Portland women's rowing program, announced Portland Director of Athletics Scott Leykam on Friday. Spencer, who previously was the head coach of the women's rowing team at Saint Mary's, has spent the past five years as the Executive Director of the Everett Rowing Association.

Spencer replaces Bill Zack, who left Portland to become the head coach at San Diego State.

"I'm very excited to coach at the University of Portland and I can't wait to get started," Spencer said. "I think Bill did a great job of laying the foundation and we will keep the momentum going, especially with a great group of dedicated and passionate student-athletes.

"I've been waiting for the right opportunity to get back into coaching because that's where my passion is."

The University of Portland rowing program will be entering its third year as an NCAA Division I program this fall. Established in 2011, the Pilots are fresh off a third-place finish at the WCC Championships last spring.

"Pasha has proven her ability as a program developer and we are excited to have her join the Pilot coaching family," Leykam said. "The women's rowing program has made great strides in a short amount of time and we think that Pasha will continue to make the team even more competitive. She has a wealth of rowing experience and knows what it will take to be a challenger in the WCC."

"We're looking to leave our mark in the WCC," Spencer added. "The conference has definitely grown and expanded since I've been at Saint Mary's and it's definitely more competitive."

Spencer is a Level III U.S. Rowing certified coach who has been head of the Everett Rowing Association since 2008. She was responsible for managing 300 rowers, 12 coaches and a fleet of 30 rowing shells.

Prior to Everett Rowing, Spencer spent four years at the helm of the Gaels in Moraga, Calif. In her second season, SMC broke an eight-year losing streak at the WCC Championships. From 2006 to 2008 the team moved up one place each WCC Championship with a team-best second place finish in 2007.

Spencer also spent two years (2001-03) as the assistant coach and head recruiter at Yale. In her first year the Bulldogs' novice team swept the Ivy League with an undefeated season. At the 2002 NCAA Championships, Spencer guided the varsity four to a bronze medal and the school's first ever NCAA medalist finish. In 2003, the novice team broke a five-year non-medaling streak and rallied to a bronze medal finish at the Eastern Sprint Championships.

Before working at Yale University, Spencer spent just over one year with the Saugatuck Rowing Club in Westport, Conn. as a Master's Rowing Program Coordinator and the Head Junior Women's Coach. She joined Saugatuck Rowing Club after coaching the novice women's crew at Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. In her second year at Trinity College, she guided the novice team to an undefeated season and a gold medal championship at the New England Championships and the Champion International Regatta.

Following a four-year collegiate rowing career at the University of Washington, Spencer joined the Huskies rowing staff as an assistant in 1995. In her only year as the assistant novice women's crew coach, she coached the second and third novice boats to gold medal finishes at the Northwest Regional Championships on Vancouver Lake, Wash.

A native of Stevenson, Wash., Spencer graduated from Washington with a bachelor's degree in political science in 1995.

Courtesy of Portland Sports Information