Skip to main content

Alums Invest in Future Success of Rowing Programs

Jun 16, 2022

STANFORD, Calif. – A recent gift to Stanford Rowing will provide lasting support for the Cardinal men's and women's rowing programs, enabling both teams to retain and recruit the very best coaching staffs.
Two coaching positions have been endowed by Stanford alums Jonah Alben, '95, MS '99 and Lis Hammel, MA '97. Assistant coach Niles Garratt will serve as the inaugural Alben Family Assistant Men's Rowing Coach and Molly Hamrick will serve as the first Alben Family Associate Head Women's Rowing Coach.
"We are extremely grateful to the Alben family for these gifts," said Jaquish & Kenninger Director of Athletics Bernard Muir. "With both the men's and women's rowing programs on the rise, these endowed coachships demonstrate the commitment among alumni and the athletics department to see the teams be successful."
The Alben family is among the many alumni who have expressed support for the Cardinal since the university's decision to recommit to 36 varsity sports.
During his time on The Farm, Alben competed as a coxswain for the Cardinal rowing team. Alben credits his experience as a student-athlete as a powerful teaching tool.
"I am extremely grateful for having the opportunity to participate in rowing during my undergraduate years at Stanford," noted Alben. "My experience in rowing taught me so much that I couldn't have learned in the classroom. Most of all, I learned to believe in the power of teamwork and the value of fighting through adversity."
"Stanford's decision to return to supporting 36 varsity sports means that future students will again have diverse opportunities to benefit from the experience of being a competitive student-athlete, but Lis and I also understand that this is only possible with stronger alumni support," Alben continued. "Along with many other alumni who have contributed, we want to do our part by supporting both the men's and women's rowing coaching staffs."
Both the men's and women's rowing programs registered strong performances during the 2022 season and look to build on that success in future campaigns.  
The Stanford women's rowing team capped off a successful 2022 season with its second consecutive second-place finish at the NCAA Championships (decided by a tiebreaker). The Cardinal won its first team Pac-12 Championship since 2014, just the program's second-ever conference title, and Stanford's varsity eight and second varsity eight boats each placed second in their respective competitions at NCAAs.  
Highlights from the Cardinal men's 2022 campaign included an All-Pac-12 team award for senior James Wright and the continuation of a streak dating back to the 1984 season of the Stanford men's team finishing in the top-four of its conference. The program's top-20 finishes at the 2022 IRA Championships continued a 14-year streak of Stanford boats finishing within the top-20 at the annual competition.
"We are humbled by the knowledge that an alum of our men's rowing program is stepping forward to support our program," said Derek Byrnes, Stanford women's rowing head coach. "This gift will help us build on our program's long-term vision and support us in retaining a high-caliber staff."
"A big part of the mission of Stanford Athletics is to 'Inspire Champions in Life,'" said Ted Sobolewski, who is Stanford's Farwell Family Director of Men's Rowing. "Lis and Jonah epitomize what that mission truly hopes to achieve. The unwavering support of alums leaves no doubt that our program can continue to inspire future Stanford oarsmen and oarswomen."