July 12, 2012
East Lansing, Mich. - Michigan State rowing coach Matt Weise has announced that Katie Bitz, a former US National Team coach and four-year member of the rowing team at MSU, will join the program as its novice coach.
"Katie has great knowledge of our sport and a leadership style that will instill great energy into our novice program," said Weise. "As a coxswain, there's a lot of things she can bring from that experience that will help both the coxswains and the rowers who will be getting their first experiences in collegiate rowing. She has experience at our sport's highest level, and we're excited for her to bring that to our novice rowers."
Bitz, a 2008 MSU graduate and native of San Francisco, Calif., spent the last four years in Princeton as an assistant coach with the US National Team. She also served as the assistant coach for the Princeton lightweight program in 2010-11 and coached the Mercer Junior Rowing program in 2009 and 2012.
As an undergrad, Bitz was a member of the Spartans for four seasons, helping the squad to Big Ten team titles in both 2005 and 2008. She was the Spartans' senior coxswain in the varsity eight in 2008 when the boat won its first of four consecutive gold medals in the event. With a Grand Finals appearance at NCAAs that season, Bitz helped bring MSU its highest-ever finish at the National Championship regatta. Bitz was in the varsity eight as a junior and senior, in the second varsity as a sophomore, and a novice in 2005 as a freshman.
"The university and the rowing program gave me so much while I was an undgrad," noted the newest Spartan coach. "I first have to thank Matt and Christiina [Donley, the Spartan Assistant] - they were wonderful as coaches and mentors when I was here, and I have such respect for both of them. I am so proud of the accomplishments that we had during my career, and also as a program overall in its history. I'm excited to have the opportunity to come back as a coach and give back even just a bit of what I received as an athlete."