Four-Time National Champion Mara Allen Named UCF Rowing Head Coach

ORLANDO – Mara Allen, a four-time national champion who won two as an assistant coach at Texas and two as a student-athlete at California, has been named the fourth head coach in UCF rowing program history.

Allen joins the Knights following eight seasons as an assistant coach at Texas, spending the 2022-23 season as associate head coach. During her tenure in Austin, the Longhorns won two NCAA Championships (2021 and 2022) and eight consecutive Big 12 Conference Championships.

Additionally, Texas finished among the top 10 at the NCAA Championships in each of her seasons with the program, most recently finishing fourth in 2023. Allen led the Longhorns' Varsity Four to its first-ever national title this past season, as the crew swept all three races to win the championship in dominant fashion.

"We're really excited to welcome Coach Allen to UCF," said vice president and director of athletics Terry Mohajir. "She has coached and competed at the highest level, winning a gold medal with the U.S. Team, two national championships as one of the top assistants in the country and two as a student-athlete. Those experiences, combined with her familiarity with the Big 12 and her ability to communicate and motivate, will make her the perfect fit for our rowing program."

As a student-athlete for Dave O'Neill at California, Allen was one of his first hires at Texas. During their eight seasons together, the Longhorns were recognized as the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) National Coaching Staff of the Year three times (2022, 2021, 2015). Additionally, the staff was honored on five occasions as the CRCA Regional Coaching Staff of the Year (2022, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2015).

A native of San Francisco, Allen has mentored 36 CRCA All-Americans, 24 CRCA All-Conference Selections, 15 CRCA All-Region honorees and more than 65 CRCA Scholar-Athletes.

"I am very excited to be joining Knight Nation," Allen said. "It's clear vice president and director of athletics Terry Mohajir and the UCF Athletics staff are very supportive of the rowing team and want the best for their student-athletes. Terry's vision for the future of UCF Athletics is impressive and I believe the rowing team is poised to do great things. There is a lot of work to be done and I am excited for all the challenges ahead."

Under Allen's guidance, Texas student-athletes claimed seven Big 12 Rower of the Year selections and four Big 12 Newcomer of the Year honors. In total, 50 student-athletes earned Big 12 All-Conference accolades and more than 200 garnered Big 12 Academic honors since her arrival in Austin.

Allen was an elite rower collegiately and internationally. She trained with the U.S. Women's National Rowing Team from 2008-12 and helped the U.S. Team win a gold medal at the 2009 World Rowing Championships in the women's eight. Allen helped the U.S. to bronze in the straight four (4-) at the 2010 World Rowing Championships in New Zealand, and she won bronze for the U.S. at the 2009 Under-23 World Rowing Championships.

She rowed as a member of the Varsity Eight all four years at Cal under O'Neill, helping the Bears to NCAA Championships in her freshman (2005) and sophomore (2006) seasons. Allen's varsity eight boat went undefeated during her freshman season. She earned CRCA All-America honors in 2007 and 2008 and served as Cal's team captain both seasons. Allen was the 2005 Pac-12 Conference Newcomer of the Year, a three-time Pac-12 All-Conference selection and helped the Bears to three Pac-12 Conference titles.

Prior to joining the staff at Texas, Allen served as the women's freshman rowing coach at St. Ignatius College Preparatory School in San Francisco and as an assistant coach at the U.S. Rowing Development Sculling Camp in the summer of 2014.

Allen is a 2008 graduate of California, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics.