Rowing's Rothstein Develops Olympic-Caliber People, Not Just Olympians
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Michigan finished second to No. 4 Ohio State in five of the seven races in its only home event of the season.
The only head coach in the program's 20-year history, Mark Rothstein is responsible for the University of Michigan women's rowing team's ascent from over-achieving club squad to one of the nation's top-notch varsity rowing programs.
On and off the water, Rothstein creates a positive training environment that encourages the student-athletes to challenge themselves mentally and physically, to embrace a competitive spirit and to enjoy competing. An excellent teacher and technician, Rothstein is passionate about coaching.
"The athletes should learn more about themselves and others through their experiences as members of this team than in any other collegiate pursuit," Rothstein says. "If they don't, we haven't done our job."
Coaching Michigan women's rowing for 25 seasons -- five club and 20 varsity -- Rothstein has made the Wolverines one of the most respected programs in the country. He led the Wolverines to the inaugural Big Ten Conference championship in 2000 and has directed U-M to five of the 12 Big Ten team titles (2001, 2003, 2004, 2012) in all. The Wolverines were the Big Ten runners up in 2002, 2007, 2009, 2011 and 2017. Michigan's first varsity eight captured first place at the Big Ten Championships in 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004 and 2007.
Michigan earned team bids to eight straight NCAA Championships from 1998 -- its second year as a varsity program -- through 2005. U-M posted top-five finishes from 1998-2001 and again in 2003 and 2004 and in 2012 and 2017. In 2001, Rothstein guided the squad to a second-place showing, thanks in part to a boat national title from the second varsity eight, and was recognized as the National Coach of the Year by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association. In 2003, the first varsity eight's second-place finish established a school record. Following a two-year hiatus, U-M's first varsity eight earned an at-large bid to the 2008 NCAA Championships. Michigan garnered four consecutive team bids to the NCAA Championships from 2009-12, capping that stretch with a 2V8 national title en route to a runner-up team finish in 2012. U-M's best team finish since that runner-up showing came in 2017, when the team placed third on the strength of all three boats in the Grand Final and a third-place finish from the 2V8 boat.
From 1998-2002 Rothstein led U-M to five consecutive Central Region championships. The Maize and Blue captured its sixth Central Region title in 2009. The accomplishments by Rothstein-led teams have not gone unnoticed. He shared the inaugural Big Ten Coach of the Year award and was the Central Region Coach of the Year in 2000. He repeated those accolades and added his aforementioned first National Coach of the Year award in 2001. Rothstein garnered his third Big Ten Coach of the Year award in 2004. He collected the Central Region Coach of the Year laurel in 2009 after Michigan finished first in the region.
|Coach Quick Hits|
| Two National Championships (2V8 Boat)
Two NCAA runner-up finishes (Team)
Five Big Ten titles
2001 National Coach of the Year
Four-time Big Ten Coach of the Year
Seven of Rothstein's former pupils have competed at the Olympic Games. with Sarah Trowbridge making her debut at the London Games in 2012. At the 2004 Games in Athens, Kate Johnson and Kate MacKenzie rowed for Team USA. Johnson earned a silver medal in the U.S. eight and MacKenzie rowed in the American pair. Four alumnae reached the 2008 Games in Beijing. Heather Mandoli (eight) and Janine Hanson (quad) pulled for Canada. Ellen Tomek (double) and Brett Sickler (alternate) were members of Team USA. Hanson (eight) earned a silver medal with Canada in 2012, while Trowbridge competed in the double sculls with Team USA.
Rothstein's experience does not end at the collegiate level. He traveled to San Diego to coach at the Pre-Elite Camp at the Arco Olympic Training Center following the 1999 season. The majority of his summer was spent in San Diego coaching with the National Team's head coach. Rothstein was selected to coach the Under-23 National Team coxless four at the Nations Cup in Hamburg, Germany. The boat finished third, less than seven seconds off the gold medal time. Additionally, he served as a guest coach for U.S. Under-19 squads in the summers of 2005 and 2006.
Rothstein was a competitive collegiate athlete. He played football at Central Michigan University. Rather than pursue a second year of CMU football, Rothstein transferred to Michigan and switched his athletic preference to rowing. He competed for the U-M men's crew team, then continued his rowing career with the US Rowing development program in Philadelphia, Pa. Rothstein coached the club team's novice women's crew until 1992, when he became head coach of the U-M women's club team. The club team's most successful season was 1994-95 when it won a gold medal at the Dad Vail Regatta and earned a spot in the English Henley Regatta. Rothstein joined the Michigan Athletic Department's coaching staff in August 1995 in preparation for the program's first varsity season in 1996-97.
An Ann Arbor native, Rothstein holds a bachelor of science degree in physics from Michigan. He earned academic honor roll citations and was inducted into Pi Sigma Pi, the physics honor society, as an undergraduate. He holds professional affiliations with the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association and United States Rowing Association.
Rothstein and his wife, Alisse Portnoy, were married in 2006 and reside in Ann Arbor. They have one daughter, Jessica.