Caitlin McClain Hired As Seattle Pacific Rowing Coach
A Loyola Marymount product, Caitlin McClain comes to SPU after 15 years coaching at her prep alma mater, Holy Names Academy.
A Loyola Marymount product, Caitlin McClain comes to SPU after 15 years coaching at her prep alma mater, Holy Names Academy.

Thursday, August 6, 2020
by Seattle Pacific Athletic Communications

SEATTLE – Former Loyola Marymount standout Caitlin McClain, who served 15 years at the helm of the Holy Names Academy program in Seattle, has been hired as the women's rowing coach at Seattle Pacific University, Athletic Director Jackson Stava announced on August 6.

McClain, 37, remains in Seattle where she has resided since 2005 while working at her alma mater, Holy Names, from where she graduated in 2001. She brings a wealth of rowing experience to SPU, including competitive stints at HNA and Loyola Marymount along with national coaching duties with USRowing.

She served as an assistant coach for the Under-19 women's national team in 2014 and then was promoted to CanAmMex coach in 2016 and the junior world championships coach in 2019.

“I could not be more excited to welcome Coach McClain to the Seattle Pacific Falcon community. Throughout this interview process Caitlin was able to articulate a deep passion for the sport of rowing, for the Seattle rowing community, and most importantly for the development of the young women in her program," Stava said.

"I am convinced that her missional alignment with our institutional and department values, coupled with her proven track record of success on the water, will lead to great results and success for Seattle Pacific Rowing.”

A 2005 Loyola Marymount graduate with bachelor’s degrees in political science and urban studies, McClain continued her education at Seattle University to complete a master's of education in student development administration in 2010. She served as a graduate assistant for student-athlete support at Seattle University during the 2008-09 academic year.

McClain is a USRowing Level 2 coach and is currently undergoing the next round of prestigious Level 3 Coaching Certification that will be completed in December. The program, sponsored by USRowing, is designed to enhance the capabilities of already experienced head and pre-elite coaches.

While coaching at Holy Names, she also served from 2005-11 as the business and events manager for the Lake Union Crew.

"I am thrilled and honored to be joining the Falcon family as the head women's rowing coach," exclaimed McClain. "Coaching high school in the Northwest for over 15 years, I’ve always been aware of Seattle Pacific University's high reputation. The recent growth of the crew program has only strengthened that impression. The more I've learned about SPU, the more strongly I've felt that my personal and professional philosophy align with the mission of the university.

"I’ve always attended and worked in faith-based institutions and I think the values that guide a community really strengthen the work being done in each part of it. Certainly, in rowing, the idea that one is a part of something greater than themselves is complementary to the teamwork necessitated by the sport. I see myself as a facilitator of an athlete's goals and can't wait to get started on the next chapter."

McClain built a regional high school rowing power and made Holy Names a major player at the national level. Her Cougars crews accumulated 10 medals and won national championships in 2015 and 2017 at the junior club regatta. They finished atop the team points standings on three occasions at the Northwest regionals.

Holy Names qualified for the USRowing youth national championship event every year since 2007, medaling 10 times.

McClain developed 70 athletes that went on to compete for NCAA rowing programs.

"I am profoundly grateful for the Holy Names Academy community that has supported and shaped me over the years," she said. "I would not be the person or coach I am without the people I've had the privilege to work with, especially the student-athletes."

As a competitor, McClain earned three varsity letters at Holy Names and captained the team her final two years, in 2000 and 2001. She helped the Cougars' varsity four crew to a silver medal at the nationals her senior season.

Her rowing career continued at Loyola Marymount where she occupied the stroke seat of the varsity eight for every race as a freshman. The Lions thrived during her four seasons, reaping titles at the West Coast Conference, WIRA and San Diego Crew Classic regattas.

Individually, she garnered numerous All-WCC honors along with awards to recognize her academic achievements from CoSIDA and the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association.

McClain will start at SPU later this month, replacing Andrew Derrick, who served four seasons from 2017 through 2020. The Falcons finished fourth in the team standings at the 2019 NCAA Division II championships.

“Seattle Pacific rowing has achieved a great deal over the past four years, and I believe that Caitlin’s hire will not only continue this growth, but has the potential to accelerate and sustain that momentum," said Stava. "I look forward to working alongside Coach McClain as she develops incredibly powerful, successful and competent young women while pursuing national competitive accolades."