Rowing Coach Bio
James Harding enters his third year as an assistant coach for Lehigh. Harding brings a wealth of coaching and rowing experience from his native Australia. Before Lehigh, Harding served as Rowing Headmaster at Redlands School in Sydney. He was responsible for all aspects of coaching and administration for the program. Some of his key roles included developing a racing schedule and proposal for school administration, developing various training regimens, coordinating boat allocation and more.
“We are excited to have James join the staff,” said Lehigh head coach Brian Conley at the time of his hire. “His wealth of experience as an athlete and as a coach at many levels of rowing will bring the experience and depth of the program to the level we want. His positive energy and enthusiasm for the sport has already had a dramatic effect at the boathouse and will lead to some good freshman crews on the water.”
At Lehigh, Harding assists in all aspects of the Mountain Hawks’ program, with a focus on the freshman/novice crews.
“Lehigh is such a phenomenal institution with a wealth of sporting tradition and success, both academically and athletically,” said Harding.
Harding has already made his mark on the Mountain Hawks. The team has made continued improvement and the interest in the program has never been higher. In his first year, the Lehigh women’s team posted 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 both Harding and Conley’s first year, the Mountain Hawks won the Neuweiler Plate, capturing first place in five separate races, in an impressive all-around performance. Lehigh has also won the River Cup victory over Lafayette in each of Harding’s first two seasons as well.
Prior to Redlands, Harding served as Trans-Tasman Tour Manager for Team Australia. He also has coaching experience with the Presbyterian women (located in Croydon, New South Wales), Sydney University and the Sydney Rowing Club.
Harding has enjoyed a very successful professional rowing campaign in Australia. Some of his many notable feats include serving as an Australian representative in the World University Championships in Belgrade, Serbia. He won Gold in the U23 Coxed Four as part of the Australian Nationals. He also won Gold at the NSW State Championships, in the Elite Eight, Elite Coxed Four and Elite Coxless Four.
Harding graduated from Sydney University in 2010 with a Bachelor of Education, specializing in Secondary: Human Movement and Health Education. He was awarded a rowing scholarship under the Elite Athlete Program.