Rowing team builds chemistry while preparing for spring season
Doug Wright has been with SMU rowing since the team's inception in 1999, serving a year as assistant coach before being elevated to the head coach position. He has shaped the program into one that focuses on the student-athletes' success both on and off the water.
"The philosophy of the program centers on three components: wellness, education, and performance," explains Wright. "Those three components don't stand alone; they're integrated into a concentric process, and they represent the means through which the entire team attains higher levels of learning and accomplishment. This philosophy has helped us excel both in the classroom and on the water, and we hope it can serve as a blue print for our student-athletes to achieve their life-long goals after leaving SMU."
The 2012-13 season was capped off with a victory by the V4+ in the Petite Final at the C-USA Championships, and featured wins against Creighton and Kansas State. Emily Carstens was named to the CRCA All-South Region Team and was a CRCA Scholar-Athlete. The senior was also selected second team All-C-USA, named to the C-USA All-Academic team and earned her second invitation to the U.S. Rowing Team Identification Camp.
Wright coached the 2011-12 squad to faster times as the season progressed, with multiple crews posting their fastest times of the season in the last regular-season event. He also led the 1V8+ to a win in its heat race at the C-USA Championships. Emily Carstens was named to the All-C-USA team. The Mustangs finished second overall at the Head of the Oklahoma and won two events at the Head of the Colorado.
During the 2010-11 season, Wright's signing class proved to be a stellar one, with the freshmen crew winning races in back-to-back events. Courtaney Miller was invited to the U.S. Rowing Team Identification Camp in her first season on the Hilltop, and was also selected to the All-C-USA team. Lauren Hadaway and Haley King were recognized by the CRCA as Scholar-Athletes, and Hadaway was named to the C-USA All-Academic team. SMU finished fourth at the Oklahoma Invitational, and also defeated Creighton twice during the season.
Wright guided four Mustangs to CRCA awards at the conclusion of the 2009-10 campaign. Catherine Campbell earned All-South Region honors, while Lauren Hadaway, Haley King and Caroline Meredith were named Scholar-Athletes. The Mustangs finished second at the San Diego Crew Classic, and SMU scored several top-five finishes during the season.
Under Wright's leadership, Catherine Campbell earned an invitation to the USRowing Women's National Team Pre-Elite Camp after the 2008-09 season. The Mustangs scored a victory over Creighton in a head-to-head competition, and finished in the top-10 at both the SIRA and the MIRC regattas.
In the spring of the 2007-08 season, Wright coach all four SMU crews to the finals at the SIRA Championship. Ellen Cieszkiewicz and Caroline Meredith were named CRCA Scholar-Athletes. The Mustangs were just a point behind Tulsa to finish second at the Midwest Intercollegiate Rowing Championship, earning two gold and two silver medals at the event.
The Mustangs' 2006-07 season featured medal-winning performances during the fall at the Head of the Oklahoma, the Head of the Colorado, and Head of the Hooch Regattas. In the spring the varsity eight earned dual-race wins over Creighton and Alabama and finished first at the Midwest Intercollegiate Championship. At season's end senior Meg Gaab was named to the CRCA All-South Region Second Team, while junior Ellen Cieskiewicz was named a 2006-07 CRCA National Scholar Athlete and ESPN The Magazine District VI 2nd Team Academic All-American.
"The foundation for success has been set," Wright said. "If we continue to recruit quality junior rowers, and continue to develop novice walk-on athletes into varsity-level contributors, our goal of reaching the NCAA Championships can be obtained in the near future."
The SMU Rowing program has steadily improved throughout Coach Wright's tenure. The Mustangs' 2005-06 season featured a win by the varsity eight at the inaugural Midwest Intercollegiate Championship Regatta, and Ashley Luther was named to the Pocock All-American 2nd Team, becoming the first All-American selection during Wright's tenure. Luther was also named to the CRCA All-South Region First Team. In addition, Ellen Cieskiewicz, Sarah Boaz and Lauren Soulis were named 2005-06 CRCA National Scholar Athletes.
The 2004-05 season included numerous medal-winning performances during the fall head-race season and a solid finish at the season-ending NCAA South/Central Regional Regatta, with season-ending individual honors going to Meg Gaab (CRCA All-South Region Second Team) and Susie Thompson (CRCA National Scholar Athlete).
In the fall of 2003 the Mustangs raced a freshman eight for the first time ever at the famed Head of the Charles Regatta.
The 2002-03 squad included SMU's first four-year senior class in the history of the program. That season also featured the Ponies first-ever appearance at the Head of the Charles. In 2001-2002, Wright led a vastly improved team to nearly 20 first or second place finishes and watched his varsity eight place 3rd in the Cal Cup event at the prestigious San Diego Crew Classic.
In his first season as head coach, Wright led the 2000-01 squad to first place finishes in eight events, including four first place showings at the Head of the Colorado.
In 1999-2000, SMU Rowing's inaugural season, Wright served as an assistant coach and helped develop the walk-on novice rowers who would later become the backbone of Southern Methodist's first varsity crews.
Wright came to SMU after serving four years on the coaching staff at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva, N.Y. While there he coached under Jim Joy, former Canadian National Team Coach. During the 1998-99 season Wright was elevated to the position of head coach for the Hobart College men's team.
In the summer of 1999 Wright planned and coordinated an 18-day pre-World Championship training camp that prepared international crews for competition in the 1999 World Championships in St. Catherines, Ontario. He also served as the training camp coordinator for Ireland, Greece, South Africa and Estonia.
An upstate New York native, Wright graduated from North Carolina State University, where he competed on the rowing team for four years. In addition to being NC State's team captain, Wright was named the squad's head coach in his last year of college.
Wright and his wife, Keylie, were married on July 31, 2002. The couple has one son, Charlie, who was born in June, 2004.