Karen Rigsby is in her fourth season as part of the Wisconsin women's openweight program's coaching staff.
Though early in her UW coaching career, Rigsby has already made an impact. The team won its first Big Ten rowing championship, captured its first NCAA Central Regional title and placed a program-best seventh at the NCAA rowing championships in 2010. She was named the 2010 CRCA Central Region Assistant Coach of the Year for her efforts.
Rigsby joined the Wisconsin staff in 2008 with over 12 years of rowing experience, including a silver medal at the 1996 Olympics and a bronze medal in the 2000 Olympics in the pair. She earned USRowing's Female Athlete of the Year after both medals and was nominated for the United States Olympic Committee's Sportswoman of the Year award in 1996 and 2000.
In addition to her Olympic experience, Rigsby rowed with her pair partner, Missy Ryan, to gold medals at various international and national events, including the 1996 and 1999 Lucerne, Switzerland World Cups, the 1995 Duisburg, Germany World Cup and the 1996 and 1999 U.S. national championships. The duo won a silver medal at the 1995 World Championships in Finland.
The latest addition to Rigsby's resume includes her induction into the National Rowing Hall of Fame in March 2010.
Formerly known as Karen Kraft, the San Mateo, Calif., native has been a Madison resident since 2001. A certified Bikram Yoga instructor, Rigsby has previously worked with the UW rowing team, as well as the Badger football program, in yoga training.
She worked as a summer camp rowing coach from 2001-04 in Madison with the UW-Madison and Camp Randall Rowing Camps, sending boats on to 12 gold medals at the Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. She also coached in the summer of 2007 at the Princeton University Elite Rowing Camp.
Rigsby lives in Madison with her husband, Calvin. She is a 1991 graduate of Cal Poly State-San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor's of Architecture degree. She has also done coursework at Cal State-Hayward, Stanford and Wisconsin in physiology and biomechanics.