STORY BY MACKENZIE LARSEN, COURTESY HOBART ATHLETICS | PHOTO COURTESY
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GENEVA, N.Y.— Hobart and William Smith Colleges Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics and Recreation Brian Miller recently announced that Chris Kerber will serve as the head coach of Hobart rowing for the 2023-24 season.
“We are extremely pleased to add a coach of Chris’ stature and experience to lead Hobart rowing into the future,” Miller said. “Paul Bugenhagen has done an unbelievable job elevating our program onto the national scene, and I’m confident Chris will pick it up from there.”
Kerber succeeds Bugenhagen, who was the head coach for both Hobart and William Smith rowing during the past three seasons. For the 2023-24 academic year, Bugenhagen will serve as the HWS director of rowing and head coach of William Smith rowing.
“Hiring an elite professional like Chris is an investment in excellence,” Bugenhagen said. “He possesses the rare blend of expertise, dedication and innovation that can build on Hobart rowing’s deep history of success and championships. I’m very excited to partner with Coach Kerber and create one of the best environments for student-athletes in collegiate rowing here at Hobart and William Smith Colleges.”
Kerber comes to Geneva after most recently serving as an assistant coach for the Syracuse women’s rowing team. He was responsible for coaching the Orange’s third and fourth varsity eights. The third varsity eight finished second at this year’s Atlantic Coast Conference Championship. The 3V8 won a silver medal at the Eastern Sprints.
Prior to his time in Syracuse, Kerber spent 14 years as the Henry E. Bartels Head Coach of Men’s Lightweight Rowing at Cornell University. With the Big Red, he was named the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Coach of the Year four times (2014, 2015, 2017, 2019), guiding the Cornell lightweight boats to four national championships. His varsity eight was named the IRA Lightweight Crew of the Year four times. Kerber’s charges won 11 medals at the IRAs in nine seasons.
At Cornell, Kerber was named the EARC Lightweight Coach of the Year three times (2014, 2015, 2017). His crews were named the EARC Lightweight Crew of the Year in each of those seasons. Kerber led the Big Red to back-to-back Jope Cups, awarded to the school that wins the most lightweight points at the Eastern Sprints. His charges won 37 Sprints medals, having at least two crews reach the podium in nine of Kerber’s 14 seasons.
Kerber also was the assistant coach for the United States Under-23 National Team in 2016 and the senior national team in 2018. He also was the assistant director for the Head of the Charles Regatta from 2002-05.
“I’m honored to be selected to guide the current and future Statesmen rowers forward, both on and off the water,” Kerber said. “It’s a privilege to work with a terrific group of young student-athletes within a supportive athletics community led by Brian Miller and Liz Dennison. For me, there will be a number of new faces among some familiar ones, which is great. The real excitement here is to align with what Coach Paul Bugenhagen has already built on Seneca Lake and to continue the historic legacy of Hobart rowing.”
Kerber rowed nationally and internationally for 14 years, making the U.S. national team seven times. Kerber was a two-time World Champion and medaled at the Henly Royal Regatta, the Pan-American Games and the U.S. National Championships. He was an alternate at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics and the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
Kerber graduated from Temple University with a bachelor’s degree in economics, finance, and statistics. He has a USRowing Level II coach certification and a NCAA Division I Coaches Certification.
Kerber and Associate Head Coach Katy Ruderman return 34 rowers from the 2022-23 squad that finished seventh in the men’s point trophy at the National Invitational Rowing Championships.
“Retaining a consummate professional like Katy was key to sustaining the building momentum in recruiting and the organizational excellence she represents,” Bugenhagen said. “Her unwavering commitment to this team, her knowledge, and exceptional skills are central to our team’s success. Coach Ruderman has been effective in helping create an environment inside our team that recognizes and nurtures talent, hard work and personal improvement.
“I’m excited to see the new Hobart Rowing staff work together to bring out the best in each other, the team, and cheer on the excellence that is the natural result of having elite leaders like Coach Kerber and Ruderman.”