July 11, 2003
Recently virginiasports.com ran a poll asking which coach the fans would most like to hear from in a Q&A session. Over 200 fans voted for Kevin Sauer, Virginia Women's Rowing coach. Sauer has been with the Hoos since 1988 when he was hired as the men's and women's club teams rowing coach. When women's rowing became a varsity sport in 1995, Sauer was hired as the head coach. Under his direction, the women's rowing team has finished in the top 10 in every NCAA championships since 1997. Here's what coach Sauer had to say about his career as a coach and his team.
1. What is the best part about being a coach?
Working with a great group of kids everyday.
2. How did you decide to become a rowing coach?
I first started coaching while in grad school at Purdue, training to be a teacher. After a couple of years, I was hooked ad the opportunity to become head coach at Purdue arose and I took it. After 26 years at the collegiate level, it has been great.
3. What's been your best coaching memory?
I think when club sport Purdue beat varsity sport Wisconsin at the 1981 Midwest Championships.
A close second is the 1999 NCAA Championships when everything came together for each of our three boats. The second varsity 8 won and the first varsity 8 and four both were second, allowing us to tie Brown for the Team Championship.
4. What is your biggest challenge as a coach?
It is not a problem for me to keep enthusiastic about what I do, but the challenge for me is to create an atmosphere where student-athletes are excited about what we are doing and highly invested in the outcome.
5. What qualities do you find in your top athletes?
Tremendous work ethic, dedication and commitment to excellence wrapped up in a great sense of team.
6. How does the upcoming rowing season look for your team?
Great. We lost some good kids, but have great ones coming back and also a fantastic recruiting class coming in. The fact that the varsity 8 was 5th at the NCAA's Bodes well for the future.
7. How much longer do you see yourself coaching?
Until I'm no longer effective. How old is Boddy Bowden - 73? I'm 49!
8. If you had one piece of advice for someone thinking of becoming a
coach, what would it be?
Pay attention to what goes on while a student-athlete. When I was rowing, I was also helping to administer the program. Also, while a coach at the club level, I learned a lot about how things work in every conceivable aspect of a program. Even if not required now, it helps to understand how things work even if you're not the one actually doing it.
9. What do you think makes your team so successful year after year?
Great kids, great coaches and enthusiasm!