Rowing Coach Bio
|Title:||Steven J. '69 and Karen A. Lee Head Rowing Coach|
Brian Conley enters his third season as the Steven J. ’69 and Karen A. Lee Head Rowing Coach. As head coach, he oversees Lehigh’s women’s and men’s rowing programs while coaching the women’s varsity boats. Before Lehigh, Conley spent four seasons as an assistant varsity coach, recruiting coordinator and the head freshman coach for the lightweight crew at Dartmouth College.
"When I set foot on campus, I knew this was a place where I wanted to be and a place where I wanted to teach the sport of rowing,” said Conley at the time of his hire. “Lehigh has the ability to be successful at the highest level of rowing and I am extremely honored to be given this opportunity to lead the Lehigh program in that direction."
Ever since arriving on campus, Conley’s made an immediate impact. The team has made continued improvement and the interest in the program has never been higher. In his first year, Conley led the women’s team to 10 points in the Patriot League Championships, almost double the previous year’s output. Then in 2012, the squad improved to fifth at the championships.
Another highlight came in the prestigious Dad Vail Regatta when the Women’s Freshmen Eight captured Silver in the grand finals while the Women’s and Men’s Varsity Eight placed sixth in the semifinals of their respective heats.
In Conley’s first year, the Mountain Hawks won the Neuweiler Plate, capturing first place in five separate races, in an impressive all-around performance. Conley has led Lehigh to a River Cup victory over Lafayette in each of his first two seasons as well.
In four years at Dartmouth, Conley assisted varsity crews at the Ivy League Championships and the Eastern Sprints Championships. In three of his four seasons, Conley’s first freshmen eights reached the grand finals at the Eastern Sprints.
While assisting at Dartmouth, Conley also served as head coach for the competitive women’s rowing program at the Upper Valley Rowing Club in New Hampshire. His crews posted four top-ten finishes at the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta.
Prior to his stint at Dartmouth, Conley, a Philadelphia area native, served as the head rowing coach for the men’s and women’s programs at Lower Merion High School. In just three years Conley turned a program that lost every race to one that medaled in major championships including gold and bronze medals at the 2006 Scholastic National Championships.
Conley also enjoyed an impressive competitive career on the water. After a standout career at Saint Joseph’s Preparatory School, Conley attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a four-year oarsman including three years on the first varsity eight. Conley served as team captain as a senior and was named the Quakers’ Most Valuable Oarsman.
On the club circuit, Conley rowed for four years in the Penn Athletic Club elite program, where he won ten medals in the U.S. Rowing National Championships including a pair of Gold medals.
Conley earned his bachelor’s degree in American history from Penn in 2002.