July 9, 2007
ORLANDO, Fla. (www.UCFAthletics.com) - UCF Director of Athletics and Executive Vice President Keith R. Tribble announced on Monday that head women's rowing coach Leeanne Crain has agreed to a contract extension that will keep her at the helm of the Knights' program through 2011. Prior to inking her new contract, Crain had two years remaining on a deal signed in August 2006.
"The leadership qualities Coach (Leeanne) Crain displayed most recently as this past 2007 spring season was among the best UCF has ever seen in any sport," said Tribble. "Under Coach Crain, the varsity women's rowing program has risen to new heights and cemented itself among the nation's elite. With her coaching and recruiting successes, our varsity women's eight competed for the NCAA national championship in 2007 and that stands among the largest accomplishments by UCF in recent years. In the classroom, her rowers have been the benchmark for student-athlete academic successes and that should be commended as equally to their achievements on the water."
Since Crain came to Orlando four years ago, UCF has raised its profile on the regional and national level. This past spring, the Knights made history as the varsity eight made the grand final at the Aramark South/Central Sprints and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Championship. They were also ranked as high as No. 9 nationally, while senior Krystina Sarff (Valrico, Fla./Bloomingdale HS) became the first UCF rower to earn back-to-back first-team All-America status.
UCF also achieved excellence in the classroom as the squad posted a combined grade-point-average of 3.33 - the highest of any UCF team. Seven rowers were named CRCA National Scholar-Athletes, bringing the total number of student-athletes who have earned the honor during Crain's tenure to 18.
"I am very proud of the accomplishments of this team, but I am also excited about the future," said Crain. "I am grateful to Mr. Tribble and the UCF administration for giving me the opportunity to continue as head coach and for their support of women's rowing program."
UCF officials have continued their efforts to enhance training facilities for the rowing program. A new dock was built at the team's Lake Pickett training center this past spring and plans are underway for the construction of a new boathouse and practice facility.
When Crain became the second head coach in UCF history during the summer of 2003, she inherited a rowing team that had enjoyed success on the local and regional level. In that first year, she guided the Knights to silver medal-winning efforts in the varsity eight at both the Florida Intercollegiate Rowing Association (FIRA) and Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (SIRA) Championships, while the lightweight eight advanced to the grand final of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championship.
In 2004-05, UCF earned its first team ranking in the NCAA South Region poll and also took home the overall points trophies at the FIRA and SIRA Championships. The Knights went a step further in 2005-06, breaking into the USRowing/CRCA NCAA Division Varsity Eight Coaches poll for the first time in program history and were ranked as high as No. 19. The team captured fourth place at the SIRA Championships, while the lightweight eight was fifth at the IRA Championship.
For the latest news and information on the Knights, tickets or apparel log on to www.ucfathletics.com - the official site for UCF varsity sports.