Rawson, Donald Added to Wildcat Rowing Staff
Aug. 20, 2002
MANHATTAN, Kan. - James Rawson and Paula Donald have been named new assistant coaches for the Kansas State women's rowing program, head coach Jenny Hale announced Tuesday.
Rawson will handle the duties of being the head coach for the novice program, while Donald will be the assistant varsity coach. They replace Kevin Harris and Sandra Chu, former Wildcat assistants who both received head coaching positions this summer.
Rawson comes to Manhattan after two seasons as the men's assistant coach at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. While at Gonzaga, his squads were Western Intercollegate Rowing Association champions in 2002.
“This is a fantastic opportunity for me,” said Rawson. “I'm very excited about the rowing program. Coach Hale has done an outstanding job of elevating the women's program into the Top 25, and I hope to continue helping the program get even better.”
He began his coaching career at Lakeside High School in Seattle, overseeing the girls junior varsity teams. In the fall of 1998, Rawson was named the varsity coach at Seattle's Holy Names Academy, where the varsity eight earned a fifth-place finish at the U.S. Youth National Invitational. He also gained experience coaching men's and women's masters programs for two years for the Lake Union Crew.
Rawson began his own rowing career at Lakeside High, where his team won the 1993 national high school championship. He earned his bachelor's degree in modern European history from the University of Washington, where he was a member of the Huskies' 1997 national championship team.
“I hope my competitive experiences will help the rowing program continue to develop,” said Rawson. “I have participated and coached with some large programs, and I hope to bring those experiences to the women's team here at Kansas State.”
“James understands the sport from the inside-out,” said Hale. “He's been there as an athlete and understands the biomechanics, the psychology and the competitiveness needed in teaching walk-on athletes. It's interesting that Gonzaga combines the men's and women's novice programs for the first few months of training. That will be an important asset in our environment, because we employ a ‘team coaching' concept.
“James has experience working with collegiate women and I feel his successful background in coaching juniors in the northwest will have a positive impact on our recruiting in that region.”
Donald will be in her first year as a full-time assistant coach after having recently earned a master's in nutrition from Colorado State. She worked as a sports nutritionist at CSU, where she also taught as a graduate assistant.
“I love the opportunity to work with athletes at the collegiate level,” said Donald. “I really enjoy coaching and believe in what athletics does for student-athletes. I know athletics had a huge impact on my life. It taught me teamwork, perseverance, dedication and gave me confidenct. I would like to give some of that back through coaching.”
Donald was a four-year letterwinner in rowing at Washington State, where she earned a B.S. in food science and nutrition. While with the Cougars, she was part of an unbeaten novice eight that won the Pacific Coast Rowing Championship and a JV eight that won the collegiate national title.
She later served as an assistant novice coach for Washington State during the 1997-98 season, helping guide the Cougars to a strong showing at the Pacific-10 Conference Championships.
“Washington State runs a very similar program and recruits similar-type athletes as we do,” said Hale. “Recruiting in that area is like recuiting in central and western Kansas. Paula couldn't have been a better fit since she has the personal and athletic background that we are trying to target with our in-state recruiting.
“Here, she's going to be coaching the third varsity athletes as well as assisting with the novice crews. I am confident that our rowers and recruits will respond positively to Paula and the familarity she will bring to our Kansas State program,” Hale said.
Harris took the head coaching position at the University of Tulsa last spring, while Chu was named the head coach at William Smith College in Geneva, N.Y., this summer. “I think it speaks highly of the Kansas State program that we had two assistants who are now head coaches,” Hale said.
Kansas State opens its fall schedule on Oct. 13 at the American Royal Fall Classic in Kansas City.