Following two seasons as an assistant coach with the Cardinals, Derek Copeland was promoted to head coach of the University of Louisville rowing program by Vice-President/Director of Athletics Tom Jurich on June 18, 2012.
"I have been extremely impressed with the enthusiasm, knowledge and vision for the Louisville rowing program Derek has displayed during his two seasons as an assistant," Jurich said. "With his experience as a coach, his credentials in the sport and his passion to succeed, Derek has all of the necessary qualifications to lead this program to new levels of success. With resources like the G. Garvin Brown III Rowing Center to use in recruiting and developing student-athletes, we're excited about the next chapter of Louisville rowing under Derek's leadership."
In his first season as head coach, the Louisville rowing team earned a second-place finish at the BIG EAST Championship, including an event title in the second varsity four. Individually, four Cardinals - Darya Marchanka, Morgan Dunham, Erin Bennett and Kara Savegnago -- earned All-BIG EAST honors.
The Cardinals' best performance of the spring in 2013 came at the Clemson Invitational where they knocked off the 14th-ranked and host Tigers while also earning wins over No. 19 Cornell and No. 20 Duke. Individually, Bennett and Marchanka earned First Team All-South Region honors from the CRCA, while Ellen Fawcett, Dunham and Hannah Ritter were Second Team All-South Region accolades. Dunham and Ritter were joined by Katya Monchenko, Marissa Thalen, Amy Van Syoc and Andrea Zorn as CRCA Scholar Athletes for their work in the classroom.
During Copeland's two seasons as an assistant at U of L from 2010-12, the Cardinals produced their fourth All-American selection (Erin Bennett, 2012) in program history and won a BIG EAST Conference varsity eight championship (2011). They have also earned seven All-BIG EAST selections and had 12 CRCA Scholar-Athlete honorees during the last two years.
"This is a very dedicated and fun group of student-athletes to be around. Their excitement is contagious and the goals are clear. I have been fortunate to be a part of this team for two years and I plan to continue to help guide them toward their goals," said Copeland. "Being a part of Louisville rowing and this athletic department is one of the best opportunities I will ever have. It's been well established that Tom Jurich and Julie Hermann care very much about the development of all of the student-athletes on this campus. That is one of the most important reasons why I came to the University of Louisville two years ago and that's why Cardinal athletics is successful.
"It is awesome to watch as the young women in our rowing program learn to believe in themselves and gain self-confidence. I have no doubt that they will continue to unify, grow and achieve their goals on and off the water."
The fourth head coach in the history of the Louisville rowing program, Copeland takes over leadership of the Cardinals from Laura Aubrey, who stepped down last week after five seasons as head coach in order to spend more time with her family.
"My husband and I are expecting our second child and as much as I love working with our wonderful student-athletes at U of L, I knew this was the right time to step away from coaching and focus more of my energy into our family," said Aubrey. "Derek has a terrific work ethic and has been invaluable to this program during the last two seasons. I'm excited to see where he can lead Louisville rowing in the years to come.
"I am extremely grateful for the support both Tom and Julie have given me. They exemplify and define what it means to be a family and I could not have asked for a better experience during my eight years with Louisville. My family and I will always remain faithful fans and will continue to support both the department and the athletes in every way we can."
Copeland joined the Cardinals in the fall of 2010 after three seasons as head rowing coach at the University of Dayton. While in Dayton, he led the Flyers to fourth-place finishes at the 2008 and 2009 Atlantic 10 Championships and had eight Flyer rowers earn All-Atlantic 10 honors during his three-year tenure.
"Laura has been a great ambassador for our program, especially when Tom was working toward the completion of the G. Garvin Brown III Center, and she made certain it is one of the finest facilities in the nation," said U of L Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director/Senior Woman Administrator Julie Hermann. "Laura hand-picked Derek two years ago to ensure we would have a best-in-class rowing program top to bottom. Tom and I are convinced Derek will take this program to its highest highs and continue to make Louisville a rowing community."
Prior to being named the Flyers' head coach, Copeland served from 2000-06 as head coach of UD's men's club team. A 2000 graduate of Dayton with a degree in business management, Copeland rowed from 1996-2000 for the Flyers' club team, which earned Top 15 national rankings in the US Rowing Coaches' Poll during his final two seasons.
Copeland, 35, and his wife Debra have two sons, Jobe and Dax.