STORY COURTESY UNC ATHLETICS | PHOTO BY JEFFREY CAMRATI
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CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Miranda Cyr and Gavin Kelley have joined the North Carolina rowing staff as assistant coaches, head coach Erin Neppel announced September 12. Cyr and Kelley bring unique experience and insights to their new positions.
“We’re all excited to welcome Miranda and Gavin to our program,” Neppel said. “They bring big energy and enthusiasm for what we are doing here, and both have already hit the ground running. We now have the largest coaching staff in our program’s history, which will enable us to better serve our student-athletes.”
Cyr will work primarily with the novice program and with the Tar Heel coxswains, both developing the current student-athletes and recruiting future ones. She comes to Chapel Hill after four years as a member of the Minnesota rowing program and a total of 13 years of competition as a coxswain. As a coxswain for the Golden Gophers, she raced in both fours and eights, coxing her boat to first in the women’s collegiate 8+ at the Head of the Mississippi Regatta. A native of Glastonbury, Conn., she has coxed at the Head of the Charles and the Canadian Henley. She is a 2023 graduate of Minnesota with a degree in sports management.
“I’m thrilled to be joining the Tar Heel community,” Cyr said. “It’s amazing to be surrounded by a dedicated and talented coaching staff, allowing me to get going right away. I’m impressed by the grit and determination shown by the UNC coaches and athletes and I can’t wait to continue to push this momentum forward.”
Kelley brings experience coaching on the collegiate, club and prep levels. He comes to Carolina from Jacksonville University, where he coached the men’s team during the 2022-23 school year. He spent the summer of 2023 as an assistant coach for Cambridge Boat Club Juniors Team that captured five event titles at the 139th Canadian Henley Regatta in St. Catherine’s, Ontario.
Kelley also has coached at Colby College (2021), Catholic University (2018-19) and Boston College (2013-15). A native of Holliston, Mass., he rowed at Marist, where he was part of back-to-back MAAC Championship teams. He earned gold medals as part of the 2V8 in 2010 and the Lightweight 4+ in both 2009 and 2010. He graduated in 2016 with a degree in History.
“I can’t imagine a better place to be,” Kelley said. “There is an understanding among the staff and the student-athletes of how important culture and behavior are to performance at the highest level. The team is hungry to work hard every day. It’s a joy to witness every time we practice.”
The 2023-24 season is the third at the program’s helm for Neppel, a UNC graduate. Cyr and Kelley join a staff that also includes assistant coaches Shayla Lamb and Edvina Nesukaityte, as well as Director of Rowing Operations John Leonard.