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IU rowing welcomes new faces to coaching staff


Members of the IU women's rowing compete during the Varsity 8 race during the Dale England Cup regatta on April 27, 2013 at Lake Lemon. IU rowing announced their signing class for their novice program for the 2017-2018 season. Ethan Bennett and Ethan Bennett

When the IU rowing season begins, the team might look the same, but the coaching staff will look different.

The Hoosiers welcome three new assistant coaches to their staff this year: Katie Bitz, Haley Yeager and Emily Fekete.

IU has qualified for the NCAA Championships the last five seasons, and head coach Steve Peterson said he is confident these new coaches will keep the team in the national conversation. 

"I am extremely excited about these additions to our coaching staff," Peterson said. "All three bring a wealth of successful collegiate rowing experience as athletes and coaches that will have a positive impact on our athletes and team. I can't wait to get started working with them."

Bitz was responsible for leading the novice rowing program at Michigan State since 2012. She will assume the same role at IU. 

Prior to coaching at Michigan State, Bitz was an assistant coach with the U.S. National Team for four years. From 2010-11 she served as an assistant coach at Princeton University for the lightweight crew, where the varsity eight finished the regular season undefeated.

"She is an extremely competitive and passionate coach, and it shows in the way her crews race and the success they have had," Peterson said. "I have coached crews who raced against her when she was an athlete and then later as a coach, and I am very happy to finally have her working with me rather than against me." 

The 2008 Michigan State graduate earned Academic All-Big Ten honors three times and won two Big Ten team titles in 2005 and 2008. In 2007 she earned second team All-Big Ten, and in 2008 she achieved first team All-Big Ten as well as first team All-Central Region.

"I am most excited about working with a fantastic staff where I know I will learn and grow from each individual," Bitz said.

Yeager joins the IU rowing program to oversee the varsity fours. She joins IU after spending the last three seasons at her alma mater, the University of Washington. She helped lead the Huskies to the 2017 National Championship as well as a runner-up finish in 2018. She was also part of the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Coaching Staff of the Year in 2017. 

"Working with this team and these athletes is an unbelievable opportunity," Yeager said. "They work so hard and are hungry to take the next step on the national stage, and I look forward to being a part of taking that step."

Yeager also helped the novice eight at Washington capture the gold medal at the 2017 Pac-12 Championship.

Fekete will be a graduate assistant coach and help out with the novice program in her third year in Bloomington. She competed as a coxswain for the first varsity eight before becoming a student assistant coach last year. 

"I'm very excited to be stepping into this new role with the team," Fekete said. "It is a great opportunity to be able to work with the novice rowers this season."

Fekete helped the first varsity eight win a bronze medal at the Big Ten Championships two years ago. She was also named to Second Team All-Big Ten.

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