Coaches

Cameron Carter

Head Coach (2016-Present)

Michelle Victora

Novice Women/Assistant Coach (2014-Present)

Michelle Victora started coxing the Women’s Openweight Team as a freshman at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). She coxed the varsity 4 her freshman year, 2nd varsity her sophomore year, and spent two summers at the Minnesota Boat Club (MBC) leading to a Men’s Division Championship at NWIRA 2011 and 2012. Junior and Senior year, she coxed the varsity boat leading to a third, then fourth place finish at the Patriot League Championships in 2013 and 2014, respectively. In the fall of 2014, she came to Illinois as a graduate student in Physics and joined the rowing team as an Assistant/Coxswain Coach. For the start of the 2015-2016 season, Michelle took over as Novice Women’s Coach.

Noel Naughton

Novice Men/Assistant Coach (2014-Present)

Noel joined Illinois Rowing as an Assistant Coach in 2015 upon coming to Illinois as a graduate student in Mechanical Engineering. He became the Men’s Novice Coach in the Fall of 2015. Noel started rowing after his freshman year of high school for the Minnesota Boat Club. He rowed for them throughout high school competing in Minnesota and central Canada including when they won the Lipton Cup at the North West International Rowing Association Championship. In college Noel rowed on the Varsity team for the University of St. Thomas his Freshman and Sophomore year while continuing to row for the Minnesota Boat Club during the summer when they again won the Lipton Cup in 2010 and 2011 as well as the Men’s Division in 2011 and 2012. He rowed the single at the 2015 ACRA national championship where he made the Petite Final and also rowed the Heavyweight Men’s Double at the 2015 Chicago Sprints with Coach Erik Kroeker where they won Gold.

Professional Staff

Bill Grier

Program Director (2016-Present)

Men’s Head Coach (2014-2016), Men’s Assistant Coach (2012-2014)

Bill started rowing as a freshman at the University of Michigan. In the first novice 8, he was part of the last class of club rowers able to compete at the IRA championships in addition to competing in Michigan’s first of five consecutive ACRA championships. Bill’s four years of collegiate competition were interrupted by a spring that was spent working in San Francisco where he continued to train with the Bair Island Aquatic Center, where he stroked the gold medal winning open 8 at Southwest Master’s Regionals.
After his collegiate rowing career, continued as Michigan’s Assistant Novice coach for the 2011-2012 season. Upon coming to Illinois as a graduate student in 2012, Bill joined the rowing team as an assistant coach. Bill took over Head Coaching responsibilities for the Illinois Men’s Program at the start of the 2014-2015 rowing season and replaced Erik Kroeker as Head Coach and Program Director for the Men’s and Women’s Clubs at the start of the 2015-2016 season. In Fall 2016, Bill assumed a more organizational position as Program Director and handed over full-time coaching responsibilities to Coach Carter.

Volunteer Assistant Coaches

Nathan Colgan

Nate rowed at the Shipley School 2008-2011, MIT 2011-2015, Vesper Boat Club in the summer of 2012, and represented the USA at the 19th Maccabi Games in tel Aviv in 2013. At MIT, he was the captain for two years and stroke of the Freshman or Varsity 8 all four years. He coached the novice heavyweight men there in the fall of 2015. At Vesper, he rowed in the Canadian Henley winning U23 8+ and Club Nationals winning Intermediate 8+. At the Maccabiah, he won golds in the Pair and 4-. Off the water, he is a MS/PHD student in the NPRE department here at the University of Illinois.

Erik Kroeker

Women’s Head Coach (2014-2015), Head Coach (2012-2014), Men’s Head Coach (2008-2012)

Erik started rowing as a freshman in highschool at E.L. Crossley. He saw his highschool team to the first of what is now 15 national titles. During the summers, he rowed for South Niagara Rowing Club making it to the Grand Finals of the 2004 Canadian Championships in Lightweight Men’s Single. After highschool, he became part of the Lightweight Men’s team at Princeton University where he attended as an undergraduate. While in college, he both coached highschool competitive crews and adult recreational league rowing during the Summers.
Shortly after coming to Illinois as a graduate student in 2007, Erik started as Lightweight Men’s Coach. In late 2008, he became Men’s Head Coach. In 2012 he became Head Coach for both the Men’s and Women’s Programs. With Bill Grier’s promotion to Men’s Head Coach in 2014, Erik continued coaching the Women’s Team before taking a season off to finish his PhD. Erik was awarded the ACRA Midwest Women’s Coach of the Year in 2015. Erik is returning to the team this season as a volunteer assistant coach.
In the off season, Erik continues to row as a sculler. He has won Gold in a Mixed Double, with Former Women’s Coach Sam Polak, in Indianapolis in 2009 and 2010. He won Silver in the 2009 Chicago Sprints in the Lightweight Men’s Single and Gold in the 2015 Chicago Sprints in the Heavyweight Men’s Double with Novice Men’s Coach Noel Naughton.
Erik holds a USRowing Level II coaching certificate earned in early 2009.

Sam Polak

Team Trainer (2012-2014), Women’s Head Coach (2008-2014)

Sam started rowing while a student at MIT. During her time as an undergrad, she spent a year studying abroad at Cambridge where she became part of the Cambridge women’s crew, rowing as 7-seat in the Blondie boat of the Women’s Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race. Upon coming to Illinois as a graduate student, she started rowing with the team. At the start of the 2008-2009 season, which marked the start of the competitive program, she stepped into the role of Women’s Head Coach. Upon completing her PhD in 2012, she stepped back to a role of Team Trainer while she pursued her MD. Having completed her medical training, she has returned to help as an Assistant Coach.
Sam competes as an Elite sculler and rower. In addition to several Gold medals in singles and doubles rowing in the Midwest, she regularly competes with the New York Athletic Club. In 2016, she and her crew won Gold in the Intermediate 4+ and Silver in the Senior 4- at Club Nationals in addition two 4th place finishes in the Intermediate 8+ and Senior 4+.
Sam holds a USRowing Level II coaching certificate earned in early 2009.

 

 Katie Tenaglia | Marissa Dent