Gonzaga University’s athletic director Mike Roth announced on Monday the hiring of Andrew Derrick as head coach for the GU women’s rowing team.
“We want to welcome Andrew Derrick and his family to Gonzaga, and we are excited about the knowledge and experience he brings to the program,” Roth said.
Derrick has a combined 23 years of experience in rowing through coaching and training, and the Cincinnati, Ohio, native has deep rowing roots in the state of Washington. Derrick rowed at the University of Washington from 2000 until 2004, finishing his collegiate career as a three-time PAC-12 champion and a national champion in 2001.
Derrick also earned PAC-12 all-academic offers three times and was an all-conference selection in 2004, all while he was working toward his bachelor’s degree in history.
In 2008, Derrick graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s in education in collegiate athletics, and for part of that time in grad school he was employed as an operations manager for Pocock Racing Shells in Everett, Washington.
Prior to taking the position at GU on Monday, Derrick was the head coach at Division II Seattle Pacific University for the past four seasons. When he started coaching at SPU in 2016, the rowing program had four members and after just over two years at the helm, Derrick was constantly putting out rosters of around 30 athletes each season.
During his tenure with the Falcons, Derrick is credited with getting the team into national regattas for the first time in almost a decade. In 2019, he led SPU to the NCAA Division II Championships, where the Falcons finished fourth overall. The division II program was ranked fourth in the latest CRCA/ U.S. Rowing Coaches poll for the 2020 season before the forced shutdown of all collegiate athletics due to COVID-19.
“I am extremely excited to be given the opportunity to join the Gonzaga family,” Derrick said. “I was fortunate to work with and get to coach some amazing people at Seattle Pacific, so leaving them is extremely difficult. However, when given the opportunity to be a part of such a highly successful department with impressive momentum connected to such a respected university, my wife and I knew it was the right decision for our family.”
Before returning to Washington to coach at SPU, Derrick was the head coach of another Division II rowing program at the University of Central Oklahoma from 2011 to 2016. In his first season coaching at UCO, Derrick captained the Bronchos toward competing in their first NCAA championships, and then proceeded to get them back to the championship regatta every year after.
Prior to that, Derrick served as an assistant coach for two Division 1 programs. He was the assistant coach in charge of the novice boat for Central Florida University from 2006 to 2008 after his time working for Pocock, and then he moved on to the University of Oklahoma in 2008 to help start its newly sanctioned rowing program as an assistant coach.
“One of the first things that jumped out at me through this process was how long most staff I spoke with have been Zags,” Derrick said. “In an industry where jumping around is the norm, I think the loyalty and desire to stay at Gonzaga speaks volumes to how the department values and supports its staff and student-athletes.”
Derrick will assume the position at GU from former head coach Marisa Wortman, who took over the Zag’s rowing program in 2018 after being on staff as an assistant coach since 2015. In her lone complete season as head coach, Wortman helped the Zags win the WCC championship title for the fifth consecutive time. The first-place finish on top of the conference granted the Zags an automatic bid to the NCAA championships, where the team finished 20th.
Derrick is joining a GU team that lost four seniors from this past season, but is gaining at least seven new additions with the incoming recruiting class. The incoming freshman along with returning athletes on the active roster, which includes 12 Zags who earned WCC all-academic honors in 2020, make for an exciting future with their new coach at the helm.
“I am honored to be chosen to represent Gonzaga, grateful to be trusted to mentor its already impressive student-athletes to help them achieve their potential, and am very much looking forward to the day we get together and get to work,” Derrick said.