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Women's Rowing Supporters
Women's Rowing Coaching Staff
Stephen Kish
Head Coach

Coach Kish, a 1992 graduate of Bucknell, is in his 22nd year as the head coach of the Bison women’s rowing team in 2017-18. The program began as a club in 1983, became a varsity sport in 1989-90, and celebrated its 30th anniversary in the spring of 2014.

One of Bucknell’s most accomplished head coaches, Kish’s tenure has included seven consecutive Patriot League titles from 2006 to 2012, three ECAC Metro Championships, 31 Dad Vail Regatta medals, four top-two overall team finishes at the Dad Vail Regatta, and the first national title in school history at the 2007 IRA Lightweight National Championship.     

Having claimed nine coach of the year awards since 2006, Kish is a veteran mentor whose success has risen from his program’s emphasis on the balance between academics and athletics. Named the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year in 2007 and 2008, Kish also earned CRCA Lightweight Coach of the Year in 2007. A leader in the sport and among his colleagues, Kish has been named Patriot League Coach of the Year six times (2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012).

Kish’s 20+ years of leadership have seen unmatched growth and development, namely during the past decade. After returning to Bucknell in 1996 and building the squad size over his first three years, the team essentially rebooted in 2000 with only seven women competing in the spring season.  Now, Bucknell women’s rowing competes approximately 70 student-athletes in any given spring season, training as one unit of openweight, lightweight, experienced and novice rowers and coxswains striving for a common goal in the classroom, on the water, and in the community. With one of the top team GPA’s of all 27 sports at Bucknell, Kish knows one of the keys to the exceptional overall experience of a Bison student-athlete is in their access to resources at Bucknell.  Kish, who is assisted by three full-time coaches and a volunteer, works with a highly experienced and accessible athletic training staff, as well as a state-of-the-art weight room with certified strength and conditioning coaches who help plan and implement the team’s strength workouts. Backed by leadership from the upperclassmen, Kish and his staff have made it their mission to provide one of the best scholar-athlete opportunities in the country. The unique opportunity to study abroad in the fall as a junior is also matched with the opportunity to race internationally, as the Bison have competed in England at the Henley Women's Regatta in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012.  

Following an early run of Dad Vail medals in the four, pair and lightweight eight from 2000-2004, the program grew into the openweight eights in 2006, winning the program’s first-ever Patriot League Championship and finishing second in the second varsity eight at the Dad Vail regatta.

One of the program’s most unparalleled seasons came in 2007 when the squad swept all three events at the Patriot League Championship for the first time in program history. The squad then went on the following weekend to sweep the varsity events at the ECAC Metro Championship. Coaching primarily the varsity eight, Kish helped the boat to an impressive 8-1 record, including a first-ever Murphy Cup title. Additionally, the season concluded with the lightweight eight winning the gold medal at the IRA National Championship Regatta.

The 2008 campaign continued the team’s ascension to the top as Kish led Bucknell to its third consecutive Patriot League title, a second ECAC Metro Championship, a second straight Murphy Cup title, and a varsity eight gold at the Knecht Cup.  With a third consecutive berth in the grand final of the IRA Regatta, the lightweight eight finished fourth among a competitive field.  Kish put together the Bison’s most challenging schedule during this season and the varsity eight responded with a strong 9-2 record, going more than two months between losses.  Among the most impressive feats of the 2008 campaign was a berth in the Eastern Sprints for the first time in program history. Kish led the herd to an eighth-place finish out of 18 teams, including three that ended the year nationally ranked.

Success was no stranger to the team once again in 2009. Kish continued to enhance the Bison's regular season schedule to face several top-10 teams from the NCAA Championships including Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Princeton, and Radcliffe. In-season highlights included a third Murphy Cup title and 1V and 2V wins over Cornell at Princeton.  A productive postseason followed as Bucknell won its fourth Patriot League title, finished second to Princeton at the ECAC Metro Championship, won the Dad Vail gold in the lightweight eight event, and posted the second-best showing in program history with a runner-up finish at the IRA Lightweight National Championships. 

Kish, whose profession is his passion, continued to lay the foundation in 2010 as the team focused on sustaining their process-oriented success. Among the teams Bucknell rowed against were Virginia, Princeton, Penn, Dartmouth and Radcliffe. In-season highlights included a fourth Murphy Cup title, a 3V win over Penn, Princeton and Dartmouth, a 2V win over Penn and Dartmouth, a 5th place finish for the 3V at the Eastern Sprints , and a petite final win (7th place overall) for the 2V at the Eastern Sprints.  The Bison also won a fifth consecutive Patriot League title, sent two boats to the IRA National Championship Regatta and claimed the New England/Mid-Atlantic Regional (ECAC) title. 

In 2011, Kish continued to set the bar at an even higher level for the Bison. Not only did the program claim a sixth consecutive Patriot League title, it also managed to continue to grow the rowing presence off the water. The team had 45 members selected to the Patriot League Academic Honor Roll and 10 members selected as CRCA National Scholar Athletes. This season also marked the Bison’s third time in a four-year span that the program competed at the prestigious Eastern Sprints, where the varsity lightweight eight improved from their 2010 fifth-place showing to take home a fourth-place finish.

The 2012 campaign was perhaps the most successful in the history of the program, and one that Kish is certain will help catapult the team to the next level of success in the coming years. A seventh consecutive Patriot League title, a first-ever Dad Vail Regatta team championship, a first-ever silver medal for the lightweight eight at the Eastern Sprints followed by a silver medal at the IRA Regatta highlighted the year that was capped by the program's fourth trip to the Henley Women's Regatta. The varsity eight, lightweight eight, varsity four, and single scull were in action at the 25th annual regatta in England, the largest squad Bucknell had traveled with in program history. 

The 2013 campaign was bittersweet in that the program accomplished a number of firsts, but also came home as the Patriot League runner-up for the first time in eight years. Highlights of the season included a first-ever win against Penn’s varsity eight, as well as a program-high four Dad Vail medals. Also, after finishing second to Princeton in late April, the lightweight eight was able to reverse the result, finishing fourth at the IRA National Championship, ahead of Princeton and Georgetown.

Bison Women’s Rowing has seen numerous program developments under Kish, including the construction of a boathouse, a much-improved equipment inventory of Resolute eights as well as quadruple sculls and singles, and a full-time, four-person coaching staff.  The most recent development is the 2011 completion of the newly designed indoor training facility located in the Kenneth Langone Athletics and Recreation Center, which houses 56 Concept 2 Dynamic Ergometers, two sweep-simulators, and an internal sound and video system. Most notably and timeless, however, Kish has developed young women as dynamic leaders, preparing them as upstanding female citizens in their community and role models for future Bison student-athletes. 

A 1992 Bucknell graduate and native of Miami, Florida (Palmetto High School), Kish served as President of Bucknell rowing his senior year while receiving the Most Valuable Rower award. Upon graduation, Kish remained in Lewisburg to serve as an assistant coach under Jimmy King `90. In 1993, Kish relocated to New England, where he served as head rowing coach at Rhode Island, supervising three assistant coaches and over 70 rowers in both the men's and women's programs. Kish led three crews to medals at the New England Championships in 1995, and the men's novice eight placed fourth at the Champion International Collegiate Regatta that same year.

Kish lives in Lewisburg where his passion for the sport is met with a love for the outdoors and the surrounding community.

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Position: Head Coach
Alma Mater: Bucknell '92
Phone: 570-577-1770
Email: kish@bucknell.edu
137637

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