UCLA Rowing's Amy Fuller Kearney Named Senior Advisor
LOS ANGELES – UCLA women's rowing head coach Amy Fuller Kearney will transition to the role of Senior Advisor within the UCLA Athletics Department, as announced on Thursday by Martin Jarmond, UCLA's Alice and Nahum Lainer Family Director of Athletics.
Associate head coach Previn Chandraratna, an assistant on UCLA's staff for the past six seasons, has been named UCLA's interim head coach. Chandraratna will assume all head coaching duties, moving forward.
Fuller Kearney has served as UCLA's head coach for the past 20 seasons – since the women's rowing program was elevated from club to varsity status in 2001. In her role as Senior Advisor, she will report to the Director of Athletics, assisting with a variety of mentoring responsibilities while continuing to support the rowing program.
"My time as UCLA's head coach has meant the world to me," Fuller Kearney said. "I have learned more from this community of student-athletes and coaches about high standards, excellence, compassion and leadership than I ever thought possible. Starting with meeting with Coach Wooden in his Encino condo, to honest conversations and mentorships with a community of coaches that I sincerely believe to be among the best in the world – the elite student-athletes, incredible administrators and support staff, and fellow UCLA coaches have made this the most important professional journey of my life. I feel so grateful for the past 20 years and the opportunity to be a part of UCLA Athletics. I want to add a sincere thank you to all the alumni and fans that have supported the rowing program during my time as head coach. You have made a huge impact on the program, and I hope you will continue your support.
"I am not leaving because I want to, but because my current battle with breast cancer makes it impossible for me to put the rowing program first," Fuller Kearney continued. "I need to focus on my family and on beating this thing. This team is amazing and deserves consistent leadership. I truly believe that I am leaving the program in a great place, with incredible returning and incoming student-athletes, and I cannot wait to see what they can accomplish. I am very excited for Previn Chandraratna. We have worked closely together for the last six seasons, and he is the best choice to take the reins in 2021-22. He will be a great leader, advocate for the student-athletes, and the coach to take this team to the next level. My role will simply be to support him and the rest of the coaching staff as I am able and as he sees fit. I will also work with the administration on other projects within the department. I am very grateful and look forward to that opportunity."
A three-time Olympian, Fuller Kearney has established the Bruins' program as a consistent national competitor. UCLA earned its first-ever bid to the NCAA Championships in 2010 before making consecutive appearances as a team in 2012, 2013 and 2014. UCLA has regularly been ranked among the nation's top 20 programs in the weekly Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) polls. The Bruins finished as high as third place at the 2012 Pac-12 Championships. In 2021, Fuller Kearney was named as Pac-12 co-Coach of the Year, securing the league award for the first time in her career.
Through the past six seasons, top UCLA rowers such as Saskia Budgett, Kyra Edwards, Marie Jacquet and Carlisle Wheeler have all had success at U23 international competitions. Jacquet has qualified with France for the 2020 Olympic Games in Japan, while Meaghan Volker rowed for the Australian women's eight at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil.
Under Fuller Kearney's leadership, UCLA's program has secured national rankings (during the season) as high as No. 3 in 2012, No. 5 in 2013, No. 9 in 2014, No. 11 in 2010, No. 13 in 2008 and 2009, No. 14 in 2021, No. 17 in 2011 and No. 18 in 2019.
Fuller Kearney was named UCLA's head coach on July 2, 2001 – the sport's inaugural varsity season – after having coached at Stanford, San Diego State, University of Tennessee Chattanooga and her alma mater, UC Santa Barbara.
Hailing from Westlake Village, Calif., Fuller Kearney discovered her passion for rowing while at UC Santa Barbara. In 1990, she was honored with the school's Associated Students Athlete of the Year Award. In 2006, Fuller Kearney was an inaugural inductee into the UC Santa Barbara Recreational Sports Hall of Fame. She was inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame in 2010.
"Amy means so much to UCLA and the sport of rowing," Jarmond said. "She's an Olympian and world champion, has transformed UCLA rowing in 2001-02 from club to a consistent national competitor today, and has been a mentor to countless student-athletes for more than 20 years. I'm thrilled that Amy will now serve as a senior advisor in our athletics department, where she'll continue to have a positive impact on our athletic program."
A graduate of Columbia University, Chandraratna has coached for over 20 years. He has overseen all recruiting efforts in his role as the Bruins' associate head coach. He joined UCLA's coaching staff in 2015 after three years as an assistant coach with the women's rowing program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he helped the program to achieve its strongest finish in program history. From 1999 through 2003, he was the heavyweight men's assistant coach at Columbia, helping the program to a national ranking as high as No. 9.
"I am deeply humbled by this new role in this hallowed and historic athletic department," Chandraratna said. "I thank Athletic Director Martin Jarmond, Senior Associate Athletic Director Matt Elliott and Associate Athletic Director Derek Doolittle for this opportunity. I am incredibly appreciative of the mentorship and friendship that Coach Amy Fuller Kearney has provided, along with the 20 years of blood, sweat, and tears that she has poured into this program, building it up to where it is today. Lastly, I am inspired to work with this Bruins' staff and team, a group that has boundless potential. I am so excited to lead the charge into 2021-22."
Most recently, Chandraratna helped the Bruins' 2021 squad to second varsity eight wins against USC in all three matchups. The Bruins' 2V8+ crew finished in fourth place at the season-culminating Pac-12 Championships after a pandemic-altered year. UCLA was ranked as high as No. 14, nationally, during the 2021 spring season.
In addition to his time coaching at UCLA, MIT and Columbia, Chandraratna served for 10 years in a scholastic coaching role, working with Row New York and Pelham Community Rowing. As Director of Programs at Row New York, he helped the program win the prestigious US Rowing Anita de Frantz Golden Oars Award. He was also a founding member of the US Rowing Task Force on Access, Affordability and Diversity.
As a rower, Chandraratna earned Most Valuable Player honors as the stroke seat and captain of the heavyweight program at Columbia. He also earned national level medals with NYAC and Union BC and trained with the U.S. National Team at the National Sculling Center in Augusta, Ga.