Jamie Francis | Assistant Coach | Men’s and Women’s Rowing | Mercyhurst University

Describe the qualities that your program is looking for in a potential student-athlete?

When we evaluate prospective student-athletes we look at four primary factors, in the order of importance they are: (1) character, (2) academics, (3) athletics, (4) rowing technique.

In terms of character, we’re looking for people who are naturally competitive (since that can’t be taught) and are good people. We already have a good group of people on the team and we’re looking for those who will contribute to the team in both performance and competitiveness.

Academically, we’re looking for students who understand that their schooling is their priority, not necessarily rowing. That doesn’t mean that we aren’t serious about our rowing, but we keep things in perspective and won’t sacrifice academic success in an effort to be successful on the water.

Athletically, we’re interested in your numbers: your 2k time, height, weight, experience, etc. Your 2k time is important, but we take into consideration the entire story, not just that one piece.

We also look at your rowing technique. We review video and have the option of having you “try-out” while you’re on campus for an official visit. We understand that most high school rowers will need to make technical changes, but we are also looking for those athletes that have less changes to make.

Could you give us an example of a current or former player who exceeded your expectations, highlighting the reasons that player excelled?

We currently have a male rower who is a sophomore this year. He came in as a gangly, underweight rower who we knew was a great guy, but we didn’t expect him to contribute to the speed of the team very much. He has worked hard over his two years on the team, stayed very coachable, and made the changes that we asked and he’s now in the running to earn a seat in our top boat.