2011, 2013, 2019 NEWMAC Coach of the Year
Jason Steele begins his 24th year at the helm of the Women's Rowing team.
The Engineers followed their 2018 third-place debut at the NCAA Rowing Championship with a Runner-Up finish in 2019, bolstered by second place showings in both the varsity eight and the second varsity eight. WPI was tested early and often throughout its Spring campaign. The Crimson and Gray recorded an unprecedented undefeated regular season including a win over #1 nationally ranked Bates College early in the season. WPI was ranked #1 in the Nation according to the CRCA Varsity 8 national Poll for the final three weeks of April 2019 and continued its win-streak with a first-ever NEWMAC Championship which secured an automatic qualifier to the NCAA Rowing Championship where the Engineers finished 2019 with its highest-ever finish.. The team also excelled in the classroom. In 2019 WPI Oarswomen Sarah St. Pierre was awarded the prestigious NCAA Elite 90 award and WPI boasts 14 Academic All-Conference honorees and touting 16 NIRC selections. Both lists included nine student-athletes that achieved a 3.5 GPA or better and rowed at the national regatta.
As the first head coach of women’s rowing after its inception as a varsity sport in 1999, WPI's rise to prominence began immediately upon his arrival. WPI has consistently ranked amongst the nation’s top DIII Rowing teams. In 2004, WPI was ranked second in the nation, missing the country’s top slot by less than one second. The WPI varsity eight was ranked seventh and ninth in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
Prior to the 2019 season the Engineers had been the runner up at the NEWMAC Championship five of previous six years. The 2016-17 varsity eight was nationally ranked ninth a majority of the season while the varsity eight and second varsity eight were regionally-ranked by the NCAA in the final public release. The varsity eight remains undefeated during Fall head racing on its home course of Lake Quinsigamond since 2016.
Athlete accomplishments include All-America awards for Christine Hovermale and Kinsey McNamara in 2018 and 2019 and selection of Kinsey McNamara ’19 to the 2019 USA World Championship squad, where McNamara earned a Bronze medal as the 3-seat of the USA eight. Corre Steele (no relation) was selected as a CoSIDA Academic All-America three times (2013, 2014, 2015) to go with Jessica McAlear's 2002 nod. At the conference level, the program is poised to exceed 100 Academic All-NEWMAC laurels following the 2018-19 season.
Steele began his rowing career in 1987 as a member of Lake Quinsigamond's own St. John's High School. During his years at St. John's, he developed a passion for rowing which he carried forward into college. A founding member of Emory University's Crew Club (Atlanta, GA), he maintained his affiliation with Emory until 1999.
Notable non-collegiate coaching experience has come as a part of the United States National Team where Steele coached at the USA Lightweight Men's Pair at the 2001 World Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland. Continuing his interest in elite rowing, Steele spent time during the summers of 2002 and 2003 assisting the Canadian Women's National Team in London, Ontario, and the summers of 2004 and 2005 working with the United States Junior Women's National Team in New London, CT.
Steele holds a bachelors in history and near eastern studies from Emory and an MBA from Clark. He currently lives in Princeton with his wife and daughter.