Mike Sullivan | Men’s Head Coach
Mike Sullivan learned to row at UCI in 1971 on what might have been the worst collegiate crew in the country never beating another crew that year. Bolstered by subsequent recruiting classes, Mike co-captained that same group of athletes to a close second to top ranked Washington and a top four ranking in the country. Mike and pair partner Bruce Ibbetson finished second in the world trials that summer.
Sullivan started coaching in 1977 after a post collegiate rowing career, coaching UCI freshman team and later varsity over a 7 year period finishing with two WIRA championships and coaching UCI athletes to the 1984 Olympic team.
Mike then moved to Stanford for a 30 year career in Information Technology writing business applications and early web applications for the University and SLAC. During that time Mike remained invested in the sport of rowing, founding a community program in Lakeport, Ca where he raised his family, and coaching promising elite scullers out of Redwood City at local clubs and Stanford. Mike also did short volunteer stints for the varsity and novice women’s and men’s teams over a 20 year period.
After retiring, Mike coached Novice Men at UC Davis where the team enjoyed a blossoming of large turnouts for the crew, and a 5th place finish for the novices at the ACRA club national championships.
Mike started at UCI again in 2020-21, bringing a fleet of rescued singles for the women’s and men’s team to row through the difficult Covid year. The scullers were very successful in local scrimmages winning both men’s and women’s races in Southern Cal and Las Vegas.
Coach Sullivan brings two unique perspectives to the sport. He trained at an elite level in singles and pairs post collegiately but just prior to 76 Olympic trials suffered from atrial fibrillation which ended his racing career. As disappointing as it was, Mike recognized the great intrinsic value of the effort to be the very best. Like few others, he knows what it takes to be on a very slow team and the work, focus, and trust it takes to be competitive with the very fastest crews.