July 17, 2012
MADISON, Wis. - Erik Miller, a two-time lightweight national championship coach, is stepping down from his position, women's rowing head coach Bebe Bryans announced Tuesday. Ten-time U.S. National Team member Lisa Schlenker has been coined Miller's replacement and will take over the responsibilities of coaching the lightweight rowing team immediately.
"I want to thank everyone for the support I've had in my six years at Wisconsin," Miller said. "The administration has been very supportive and it's been great working with Bebe Bryans and the rest of the coaching staff. It's been a really good experience and I've definitely enjoyed my time. The team has been very hard working and it's been a rewarding job having the opportunity to coach such a dedicated group of individuals."
Miller was named head coach in 2007, and in six years led the Badgers to two national championships, in 2008 and 2009, and four more top-four finishes at the International Rowing National Championship regattas. His varsity four crew also won national titles in 2011 and 2012. Miller, who is married to former UW women's rower and U.S. Olympian, Katie Miller, will relocate to California.
"He came in and worked really hard to elevate the lightweight program," Bryans said. "We were strong for a while, and he came in and worked hard to keep that tradition going and continue to elevate the program. We appreciate his passion in working towards that goal and wish him all the best in what he takes on next."
A member of the U-23 World Rowing Championships coaching staff, Schlenker brings a wealth of experience, both as an athlete and as a coach, to the Wisconsin lightweight women's rowing program. The Oregon native spent the past four years coaching senior athletes at the Craftsbury Outdoor Center in Vermont, while also serving as a pre-elite and masters coach in Portland, Ore., since 1999, designing individual training routines and coordinating rowing clinics.
The former executive director and head coach at Lake Oswego Rowing was named the NYAC James M. Cooke Athlete of the Year in 2003 before joining the 2004 Olympic Lightweight Doubles team. Schlenker also garnered the U.S. Rowing Athlete of the Year award in 1999, just before being named an alternate rower for the U.S. during the 2000 Olympics.
"I am thrilled to be joining the strong coaching team at the University of Wisconsin under the direction of head coach Bebe Bryans," Schlenker said. "The lightweight rowing program has a distinctive record of excellence drawing on the superior athleticism of the Wisconsin student-athletes. I am looking forward to working in this environment which is steeped in tradition."
Schlenker inherits a program that has won six IRA lightweight national championships in the last seven years, including a varsity four national title in 2011 and 2012.
"I'm really excited to announce that Lisa will be our next lightweight head coach," Bryans said. "She comes with a lot of experience as an athlete and as a coach -- she's a lightweight Olympian, national team member, has coached all levels of rowing, and this is the opportunity she's been looking for to get into the college ranks so we're super excited to have her. We think she's going to add a tremendous amount of experience to our coaching staff, as well as the rowing family."