PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY MICHIGAN STATE ATHLETICS
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East Lansing, Mich. – Michigan State rowing coach Stacey Rippetoe has announced the hires of Nicole Marek and McKenzie Vaughn, along with the retention of Kayla Brock and Veronica Platzer, to complete her coaching staff. Brock and Platzer will begin their second seasons at MSU, and Marek returns to the Green and White after a standout four seasons as a rower.
“Completing my coaching staff is the most integral of decisions I’ll make towards shaping our rowing team’s future experiences and achievements,” noted Rippetoe. “I am thankful to have assembled what I feel is a strong, capable, and trustworthy coaching staff. I am excited to get started with our coaches and our team as school begins.”
Nicole Marek, a Michigan State alumna, returns to her alma mater to serve on the Spartan rowing staff.
Marek comes back to East Lansing after four years on the coaching staff at Eastern Michigan, where she was the head novice coach in addition to assisting with the varsity crews. She was heavily involved in recruiting of rowers and talent transfers, planning aspects of team travel, creating social media content, coordinating team gear and summer camps. She coached the varsity four and aided the team to a third-place finish at the 2022 Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) Championships, and also coached novices that made their way into NCAA boats after just one semester of training.
During recent summers, Marek was the junior women’s assistant rowing camp coach at the Wyandotte Boat Club (2021) and was a junior men’s assistant coach for Canadian Henley camp at the Washtenaw Rowing Center (2022, 2023).
A standout for the Spartans in her undergraduate days, Marek was a two-time MVP at Michigan State and also earned both First Team All-Big Ten and Honorable Mention All-American honors by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) in 2018. She was also a three-time Academic All-Big Ten pick, a CRCA Student-Athlete and Academic All-American, and earned spots on the 2k and 6k Spartan record boards.
Marek earned her degree in Music Education from MSU in 2019, and was a member of the Honors College. She was the USRowing Ernestine Bayer Woman of the Year in 2018, and was the student commencement speaker at her graduation from the College of Music in 2019. She is working toward her MBA at Eastern Michigan University.
McKenzie Vaughn joined the Spartan rowing staff in the summer of 2023.
Vaughn’s most recent experience came as a graduate assistant at West Virginia. She assisted in all land and water workout planning and coached the Mountaineer third varsity eight in the spring of 2023. Vaughn was heavily involved with on-campus recruiting, planning all team meals and team travel, aiding in equipment upkeep and maintenance, and also played a large role in developing the team’s social media presence.
A graduate of the University of Louisville, Vaughn earned her Bachelor of Arts in Sustainability with an economics minor. She had a five-year career for the Cardinals, and was a mainstay in the Cardinals’ varsity eight and second varsity eight her final four seasons. She is currently pursuing her masters degree in sports coaching.