In 17 years as the head coach of women’s open crew, Lori Dauphiny has amassed a 171–21 record, watched six of her former athletes win Olympic medals, and become the rowing coach with the most wins in Princeton history.
But to those who have rowed for her, what matters most is the drive with which she imbued them.
“Lori teaches her athletes how to become tough, strong women,” said Sara Hendershot ’10, a member of the 2012 U.S. Olympic Team. “Throughout my Olympic selection and competition, when I was faced with an obstacle that seemed insurmountable, I tried to slow things down and remember the things I learned as a Tiger.”
Dauphiny had an accomplished rowing career at the University of Washington, where she was a member of the boat that took second in the 1984 National Collegiate Rowing Championships. She arrived at Princeton in 1989 as an assistant after two years coaching at Columbia, and was promoted to head coach in 1996, the first female head coach in women’s open crew’s 41-year history.
Since 1997, the team has reached the NCAA championship regatta every year, one of only three schools to do so. Princeton has won two varsity-eight NCAA Championships and three Ivy League crowns since 2006, and was the victor in 29 of its last 30 Ivy League dual races. This year’s squad finished in third place at the NCAAs.
“The thing I’m most proud of is that Princeton is always a contender, whether it’s a good or bad year,” Dauphiny said. “When anybody races us, there is an expectation that we will be fighters.”
Last summer, Dauphiny watched five of her former athletes row in the London Olympics. Caroline Lind ’06, Andreanne Morin ’06, and Lauren Wilkinson ’11 came home with medals. In the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, six of her former rowers competed, three taking home medals. Those moments bring Dauphiny great pride, but she is just as enthusiastic about coaching novices.
“I love coaching new rowers. It is satisfying to work with talented student athletes who were in sports prior to coming to college, but just never had the experience of rowing,” Dauphiny said. Ashton Brown ’11 and Heidi Robbins ’13, both walk-ons as freshmen, became standouts, rowing in the varsity-eight boat that won the National Championship in 2011. “I truly believe that if you are motivated and driven, you can achieve enormous success in a relatively short period of time.”