PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY DUKE ATHLETICS
DURHAM – Duke rowing head coach Megan Cooke Carcagno announced the hiring of Wendy Davis as an assistant coach on Wednesday.
“We are so excited to have Wendy at Duke,” Cooke Carcagno said. “She brings so much experience, so much knowledge and just a real love for the sport. She’s going to have an immediate impact on the squad and I think she’ll be able to just jump right in and help everyone out. We’re pumped to have her.”
Davis joins the program after a four-year stint at the University of Tennessee as an assistant coach. She has also served as the head coach at the University of Minnesota, Yale University and Stanford University.
“I am incredibly excited to be coming to Duke,” said Davis. “It’s an excellent program and they’re doing things on the water that no one expected them to be doing. I can’t wait to work with Megan and I can’t wait to work with these athletes. This program is on the verge of exploding into the top 10 and to be able to work hand-in-hand with a coach like Megan, who wouldn’t want to do this!”
At Tennessee, Davis primarily worked with the Volunteers’ Second Varsity Eight boat. Under her guidance, the Second Varsity Eight earned silver medals at the Big 12 Championships in each of the last three seasons. In 2021, she played an important role in leading the program to its first NCAA appearance in 12 years, where they placed 17th overall.
Prior to her time at Tennessee, Davis served as the head coach at Minnesota from 2000-19. In her 19 years at the helm of the Gophers rowing program, Davis led the team to a Big Ten Championship title in 2007, after a runner-up finish in 2006. The team also placed sixth in the 2007 NCAA Championship, highlighted by a gold medal in the Second Varsity Eight race.
Davis has collected a plethora of honors along the way, including Big Ten Coach of the Year in 2006 and 2007, Central Region Coach of the Year in 2007 and Minnesota’s Women’s Coach of the Year in 2008. The rowing program was also named Minnesota’s Team of the Year following the 2008 season.
Prior to her time at Minnesota, Davis started her coaching career in 1983 as the women’s rowing novice coach at Stanford. The team finished third at the Collegiate National Championships in 1984 and were crowned Pac-10 champions after an undefeated season in 1988. During her time with the Cardinal, the team placed in the top three at the Pac-10 Championship every year except for one season.
She was eventually promoted to head coach at Stanford from 1991-93, which included a second-place finish from the Varsity Eight at the Pacific Coast Rowing Championships in 1992. After her experience on the West Coast, she became the head coach at Yale from 1993-97.
At Yale, Davis coached her squad to a silver medal at the Collegiate National Championships as well as a second-place finish at the Head of the Charles Regatta in the Championships Eight event in 1994. In 1997, the team placed fifth at the NCAA Rowing Championships and Davis oversaw the largest squad size ever carried at Yale from 1995-97.
After her tenure at Yale, Davis became a personal coach for U.S. National Team Olympic hopefuls from 1997-2000. She was responsible for training rowers with the objective of medaling for the United States in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, Australia.
She also spent one year as head coach of the U.S. Women’s Junior National Team in 1989. Davis developed and trained junior women in sculling, which resulted in first-place finishes in both the junior double and quad events at the U.S. Junior National Championships.
Davis graduated from the UCLA with a degree in Spanish and Linguistics in 1982.