Aileen McNamara is in her fourth season as assistant coach of the UB Rowing Team. She primarily works with the team’s varsity squad.
Last season, McNamara helped to guide the Novice Eight to a Bronze medal finish at the Women’s Eastern Sprints Regatta.
Joining the Bulls in 2009, McNamara led the Varsity Four crew to a first-place finish at the Colonial Athletic Association Championships, helping the Bulls to capture the league title. She was also instrumental in the Varsity Four’s silver medal finish at the Dad Vail Regatta as UB won the overall points trophy for the third consecutive season.
McNamara has been involved in the sport of rowing since 1979, first as a rower, then as a coach, and also as member of the West Side Rowing Club. She was a member of the first West Side Rowing Club Women’s 8 to win gold at the Royal Canadian Henley in 1983. Aileen earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Pennsylvania, where as a walk on, she earned two varsity letters as a member of their women’s rowing team.
A graduate of the Buffalo School of Law, McNamara was the first woman elected President of the West Side Rowing Club, and served in that capacity from 2004-2005. She continued in the management of the West Side Rowing Club as Vice President of Rowing from 2005-2006. She was made a trustee of the Rowing club in 2008. In 2008, She was designated as the first women’s head coach at the West Side Rowing Club in its history.
During her tenure on the executive board of the WSRC, McNamara focused her attention on the rowing programs at the WSRC. She, herself, coached the Junior Women year round . During her time as the Junior Women’s coach, she and her coaches led the women’s program to top ten finishes at the Head of the Charles in the Junior 8 four of the past five years, and were New York State Champions from 2005-2009.
In 2006, 2008, and 2009, West Side’s Women’s program was the overall club points winner at the New York State championships. This program also qualified five years in a row to race at the US Rowing Youth Invitational, the premiere junior rowing event in the country, medaling in that same event in the women’s lightweight 8 in 2008.
McNamara further targeted the winter training programs at the WSRC. As a result, large contingents of Buffalo’s junior rowers attended the largest indoor Rowing competition in the country in Boston, Massachusetts (Crash-Bs). Over the past five years, Buffalo has had three medalists, 8 top ten finishes, and a top 25% finish for the majority of its rowers at this event.
McNamara and her coaching staff have had great success at the US Club Nationals ( 2007 - Bronze in the Junior 8 and Junior 4), and at the Canadian Henley Gold medals - Junior women’s single - 2005, Junior B 4 - 2006, Junior B 8 - 2007-2008, light weight women’s 8 Dash, 2008), and finalists in the Junior Women’s 8 since 2003.
McNamara also worked to develop the Senior programs at WSRC, both men’s and women’s. The West Side Rowing Club was designated as a US Senior Development Camp in 2008 and 2009. In 2008, the women won the Senior 8 at US Club Nationals, as coached by Andrew Wieler. Five of the athletes in this boat were returning members of the West Side Junior Crews.