Paul Rassam enters his 12th year as the head coach of Princeton women’s lightweight crew in 2016, and his program has had several extremely impressive seasons recently.
Last season, Princeton knocked off the reigning national champion Radcliffe in Boston to win the Class of 1999 Cup, and it followed up with a medal performance at the EAWRC Championships. It was the second straight trip to the medal stand for the youthful Tigers, who return several key members of that boat in 2016.
After spending the 2011 season ranked No. 1, Princeton ended Wisconsin's long run at EAWRCs with a win in the grand final. Princeton also took silver at the IRA Championships, and it nearly knocked off reigning champion Stanford with a dramatic final push on Cooper River.In his first 11 years as head coach, Rassam has earned a 48-8 career record, with nine medals at the Eastern Sprints and five at the IRA Championships.
Prior to his time at Princeton, he served two years as the head women’s coach and two others as an assistant coach at George Mason from 2000-2004. During his two years as the head coach, he was able to triple the George Mason team size. His successful term was highlighted at the Dad Vail Regatta in 2004, when he led the Varsity 8s to the semifinal race for the first time in six years.
In 2003, George Mason placed second in the Colonial Athletic Association championships, and the lightweight 4 won the gold at the Southern Intercollegiate Championships. Rassam has also coached masters at Smichov Rowing Club, Prague and Capital Rowing Club in Washington, D.C.
A 1997 Princeton graduate with a degree in English literature, Rassam started his professional career as an account manager with Eurosports Marketing in Prague and Budapest. He rowed as a lightweight for three years and won two bronze medals at the Eastern Sprints (1991 and 1992) and one gold in 1995, when Princeton went on to win the Jope Cup.
Rassam believes in much more than rowing technique. He believes in nutrition, health, strength and fitness, both in his rowers and himself. He lives an athletic lifestyle and is an avid runner, and he has run in several marathons. He set a personal record of 2:48 in the 2008 Boston Marathon. In 1994, Rassam finished in fourth place in the kayaking national championships. He also continues to race, most recently competing with the Princeton Lightweight Alumni at the 2004 Henley Royal Regatta and at the 2004 Head of the Charles with the Fat Cat Princeton Alumni boat.
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