Our Coaches: A Wealth of Experience

Chicago Training Center utilizes high-level ex college rowers to serve as volunteer coaches to the team. These coaches hail from all over the country and engage our youth at at-least one practice every two weeks. With our network of coaches we are able to introduce the participants to a wide range of backgrounds, pedigrees, and insights that are uncommon in this space.

Given that we work with youth and are funded by multiple different agencies, our coaches are certified in:

  • First Aid
  • CPR
  • Safety Boating Course
  • Illinois State Background Check

Think you'd like to get involved?
Can you find time to cover one of our weekly practices? Then we'd like to talk to you! Please contact us directly to pursue your spot on our team.


Current Coaches:

Below is a list of our current coaches - click on a name to see the full biography.

  • (click a name to view biography) +

  • Baldwin, Steve +

    A Brit, Steve learnt to row at St. Edwards School in Oxford, England where he was Junior National Champion in the 4+ in 1998 and winner of the UK National Schools Head of the River on two occasions. He represented Great Britain in the 8+ in Junior European Championships in Candia, Italy winning a bronze medal. He rowed in the varsity crew for 2 years at Durham University winning a few University National Championship medals, as well as rowing for London Rowing Club. He has coached junior crews both along the famed Tideway stretch of the River Thames in London as well as coaching at the Southport School on the Gold Coast, Australia. Steve has recently moved to Chicago from London with his Wisconsin wife and two boys and works as a Recruitment Manager for PwC, an accounting firm.

  • Barhamand, Adam +

    Adam served as coxswain for Wisconsin’s national championship crew in 2008 and was a three-year varsity coxswain where he also won the 2008 Big Ten Medal of Honor. A Naperville, IL native, he also coxed the U.S. men’s eight at the 2007 World Under-23 Championships in Strathclyde, Scotland and the Oxford ISIS Boat in 2009 and BLUE Boat in 2010.

  • Butsch, Montana +

    Montana Butsch began rowing in 1994 as a sophomore at Loyola Academy. He was a member of the 1997 Midwest Championship team, and helped the squad place 9th nationally. He was recruited to the University of Pennsylvania, where he earned his varsity letter in 2001. He participated in selection trials for both the junior and senior U.S. national teams, and placed at both the American and British National Championships in a single scull. After graduating from UPenn, he moved to London and began graduate studies at Oxford University. He continued rowing career while there participating in the prestigious Oxford vs. Cambridge Boat Race for the (the 149th and 150th running respectfully) . His boat won both times – in the pair (2003) and the eight (ISIS, 2004). His mentors have included world renowned coaches Peter Haining, Sean Bowden, Stan Bergman and Jim McCartney. His past coaching experiences include Loyola Academy, Thames Rowing Club (London) and Lincoln College (Oxford University).

  • Byrd, Joe +

    Joe sculled in high school for two years, representing West at the National Sports Festival in 1983. He then switched to sweep rowing, competing for 4 years at the University of Washington. He was also a member of the U.S. Junior 8 that competed in Vichy, France in 1983 at the Junior World Championships. Today, he’s a property manager & licensed contractor residing in Albany Park, married to an architect, and he and his wife have two sons.

  • Dempsey, Emily +

    Emily Dempsey rowed on the lightweight team at Georgetown University for four years and had the opportunity to race from coast to coast with fantastic teammates. She is excited to support younger rowers as they develop the skills needed to be a successful rower, including commitment, teamwork, dedication, and confidence. Emily is a litigator and partner at Kirkland & Ellis in Chicago.

  • Duran, Abel +

    Abel Duran is CTC’s first ever recruit and high school class of 2010 (Little Village HS). During his time as a participant he traveled with the team to races in Ohio, Indiana, Chicago and suburbs. Abel was also awarded the opportunity to travel with teammate Argel Herrera to London (UK) to witness the Boatrace firsthand in 2009. Since his high school graduation Abel received a certificate as a certified automobile technician to follow his desire to work in the auto industry. He is currently an auto technician at McGrath Acura as well as an apprentice coach with CTC. His favorite color is sky blue and favorite soccer team is Club America.

  • Gocken, Todd +

    Todd Gocken began his rowing career as a founding member of the Wabash College Rowing Club in 1991. He continued his rowing career as a member of the Lincoln Park Boat Club's competitive rowing team in the early 2000's, competing in several regattas across the midwest as well as the Head of the Charles regatta in Boston. Todd also served on the Board of Directors for LPBC as Vice-Commodore and Safety Officer. He began coaching while at LPBC, and has spent several years coaching at the collegiate level.

  • Herrmann, Patricia +

    Patricia rowed on the Chicago River for 4 years with Woodlands Academy, before joining the Yale Women’s Crew in 2001, where she rowed with an undefeated Women’s 8 and in the 2001 NCAAs. In 2011 she graduated with a Ph.D. in Psychology from Northwestern University, and moved to Austin, TX where she began rowing and competing with the Austin Rowing Club. She moved back to Chicago in 2014 and currently works at Forum Analytics.

  • Hummel, Sarah +

    Sarah Hummel competed in swimming in middle and high school and picked up rowing at the Miami University Rowing Club – for which she was a 4-year team member. She graduated 2002 with a B.A. in Political Science and Zoology. Following Miami she picked up her J.D. from Loyola University in 2005 and her M.Ed. in Education from DePaul in 2011. She currently works as a surveillance analyst for the Chicago Stock Exchange. Sarah is originally from Syracuse, NY.

  • Klein III, Richard +

    A fencer at Boston College, Rick decided to try rowing a few years ago and has not looked back. He is a member of the Lincoln Park Boat Club sweep team, having raced at regattas such as Chicago Sprints, USRowing Masters Nationals, and Head of the Hooch. His boat medaled in the Men's Club 4+ event at the Head of the Charles in 2012, a great accomplishment for a crew of lightweights against bigger, heavier, and younger competitors. A former teacher, Rick recently finished graduate school at Loyola University Chicago, earning a degree in school psychology; he now works with elementary students in Proviso Township. Promoting health and well-being is one of Rick's favorite aspects of working with students.

  • Merio, Margherita +

    Margherita has rowed since her high school years on Lake Maggiore in the North Western part of Italy. She has competed for her team "Canottieri Pallanza" in regional and Italian national competitions in the 1x, 2x and 4x. After graduating from Polytechnic of Turin, Margherita moved to the Chicago area and has begun work at Fermilab.

  • Niemczyk, Mike +

    Mike Niemczyk was a varsity football, swimming and track athlete in high school and was very involved in weight training and other conditioning to improve his athletic performance, his max bench press was 345 lbs. Mike started rowing in college at the University of Wisconsin where he metaled several times at the collegiate national championship and placed second in the championship eight event at the 2002 Head of the Charles, losing only to the US National Team. Today, Mike is the president of Spero Consulting, a company that specializes in structuring and obtaining financing for real estate development projects.

  • Richardson, Charles +

    Growing up in Washington, D.C., Charles starting his rowing career his senior year in high school as an alternative to the standard football and basketball that his peers always chose. While majoring in Computer Science at Northeastern University, he did not row, but reunited with the sport in 2002 with Community Rowing, Inc where he competed and medaled at Master's Nationals and eventually his first experience rowing in the Head of the Charles with the MIT Sloan Master's Club. He continued his rowing career in Chicago training with Lincoln Park Boat Club and competing at the HOCR and local regattas eventually medaling at multiple Master's Nationals. In Chicago, he has coached at North Suburban Crew and Lincoln Park Boat Club, and currently at New Trier High School where he's taken boats to SRAA Nationals, medaling 3 out of 4 years including winning the Freshman 8+ in 2013. He began volunteering at CTC in 2014 after a self-imposed one year sabbatical from the sport. Charles works in Product Management in the healthcare arena and lives in the popular Andersonville neighborhood of Chicago.

  • Rothmeier, Berkley +

    Berkley started her coxing career as a high school freshman with St. Louis Rowing Club. She then moved east and coxed Yale Women’s Crew for four years. At Yale, she led her boats to four NCAA Division I Championship appearances and three top five team finishes, wins at the Head of the Charles, Princeton Chase and Eastern Sprints, a course record and win over the British U23 crew in the Henley Women’s Regatta Elite 8+ Sports Council Cup, and a second place finish in the Royal Henley Regatta Elite 8+ Remenham Challenge Cup, behind the British Senior National Team. Today, Berkley works in environmental sustainability and owns Wenzel, the world’s greatest English Bulldog.

  • Sholl, Ben +

    Ben joined the coaching staff in 2010 after learning of CTC’ s mission to empower Chicago’ s youth through the sport of rowing. An experienced competitive rower, Ben was a Varsity rower at Hamilton College in Clinton, NY and at New Trier High School before then. Since graduating from Hamilton College in May 2009 with a BA in Psychology, Ben has been taking pre-med courses at Loyola U. in Chicago. Ben’ s goal is to enrich the lives of the CTC boys and girls by being a valuable mentor and coach.

  • Tita, Joe +

    Joe Tita began his rowing career as a freshman coxswain for St. John’s Jesuit High School in Toledo, Ohio. He then went on to compete as a coxswain for four years at Boston University, competing in regattas such as Eastern Sprints, IRA, and Henley Royal Regatta. His coaching experience includes Boston University Academy, Toledo SumPro, and Toledo Metropolitan Rowing Club., He joined CTC in 2013. In addition to coaching, he works as a technology coordinator in a west suburban high school district, where he also assists in coaching the speech team.

  • Tullis, Liza +

    Liza Tullis, a 2012 graduate of the University of Virginia, walked onto Virginia's rowing team at the beginning of her freshman year of college, after spending most of her earlier years as a competitive soccer player. She rowed on the novice team for one year before joining the varsity squad for the remainder of her college career. During her time at Virginia, Liza won two Division One NCAA championships and three ACC regional titles. After college, Liza taught at a boarding school in England and successfully designed a training program for the varsity womens' crew and coached them to several big races. Back in Chicago, she spent a year teaching in Englewood and is now pursuing a career in law. She is happy to be coaching again and hopes that the kids will help keep her hip in her old age.

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Alumni Coaches:

  • (click a name to view biography) +

  • Brieley, Phil +

    Originally from South Africa, Phil works for Marcus & Millichap where he is focused on commercial investment properties along the Chicago's SW Industrial Corridor. He has worked in a number of international real estate markets, including South Africa, the United Kingdom and Canada since 2008. He obtained his BS in Economics from Rhodes University, South Africa, 2007 where he was a member of the rowing team and subsequently represented South Africa in the U23 international championships.

  • Brunt, Laura +

    Laura is originally from Amsterdam and moved to Chicago in August 2011. She started rowing when she was a student at the University of Groningen and was a member at the students rowing club "Aegir". She competed in the Dutch national competition in the women’s 8+ , 4+ and 4-. She’s also coached several rowing teams at Aegir. During the last couple of years she was a member of her company’s rowing team and loved to go out on the water with her colleagues on Friday afternoons. It gives her great pleasure to be able to share her passion for rowing with CTC students!

  • Carroll, Ellie +

    Ellie just joined as a CTC coach this summer. Ellie began rowing in 2006 as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Although she played sports in high school, volleyball, basket ball and track, she never rowed until walking onto the Women's Lightweight team in Madison. Her novice boat went on to win silver at Eastern Sprints in 2007, while the first varsity boat took 3rd at IRAs. Making varsity the next year, her 2V boat won gold at Eastern Sprints in 2008 and 2009, and the 1V won the Eastern Sprints as well as the National Championship both years. While at Wisconsin, Ellie earned her BA in Marketing and was a member of Gamma Phi Beta, and was twice an Athletic-Academic Achievement award recipient. Ellie heard about CTC through her boyfriend Ed Newman, (an Oxford alum like Montana,) and loved the thought of getting back on the water to coach and maybe even row. Today Ellie works downtown in Advertising as a Media Planner/Buyer, and lives with her sister in Lakeview.

  • Cikanek, Erin +

    Erin began rowing as a novice at the University of Michigan Women’s in 2003 and never looked back. She was a member of the varsity squad from 2004-2007 and during her time there she became a varsity letter winner and won a Big Ten Team Conference Championship in 2004. Since 2007 she has coached for various teams in the Chicago area, including learn-to-row at LPBC, the novice men at Northwestern University from 2007-2008, Chicago Rowing Union, and Chicago Training Center. Erin recently completed her MA in Public Policy and Administration at Northwestern University. Erin credits the sport of rowing with helping maintain her very strong addiction to coffee.

  • Curcio, Scott +

    Originally from Long Island, New York, Scott has been in Chicago since 1996. He's lived in Evanston and Roscoe Village, and currently resides in Avondale. He spent the early part of his career in event management & marketing, promoting some of Chicago’s iconic neighborhood festivals and cause-related runs & walks. Scott is an avid runner, having completed 3 marathons, and former competitive rower and Lincoln Park Boat Blue and CRU. Additionally, he enjoys photography, travel and cooking for friends & family.

  • Diaz, Vanessa +

    Vanessa Diaz (Assistant Head Coach) was born and raised in Chicago, but parents are Mexican and Salvadoran. She will graduate this June from DePaul University with a B.S in Marketing and a Commercial Spanish Minor. Currently working at Aon Corporation as an International Treasury Analyst along with DePaul University's Steans Center as Spanish/English Conversation teacher. She will be working with Millward Brown (global market research company) as a Research Executive beginning June 26. She was one of the founders of the Maria High School team with Coach Tim's Chicago Youth Rowing Club; co-captain her senior year.

  • Evans, Adam +

    Adam began his rowing career at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, named Washington Post All-Met Honorable Mention in 2008. After stroking Northwestern University's varsity eight in 2009 and 2010, Adam took some time away from rowing to swim and to speedskate competitively. Now pursuing a Master of Science in Analytics, Adam hopes to create a data-driven model of performance for CTC athletes.

  • Harris, Hunter +

    Hunter joined CTC in the fall of 2009 after moving back to Chicago from England. He started rowing at Winchester College and rowed in the school's 1st VIII in both the National Schools Regatta and Henley Royal Regatta. At college, he rowed in Balliol College, Oxford's 1st VIII, captaining the club to winning blades in Torpids and reaching Head of the River. He also had the privilege to serve as the club president. Hunter graduated from the University of Chicago with a Master's degree in August of 2010, and currently works on political campaigns in Chicago.

  • Hillier, Travis +

    Travis Hillier was introduced to rowing in Dallas, TX while a junior in high school. Travis began rowing with Northwestern Crew his sophomore year in 2010, and quickly became a competitive member of the team. As a senior at NU, Travis coached juniors at the Chicago Training Center and pursued his own competitive rowing in the summer of 2013 at the Penn AC Rowing Association in Philadelphia.

  • Hyman, Jonathan +

    Jon joined the CTC in the summer of 2011 shortly after moving to the Chicago area. He discovered the sport of rowing as a freshman at Wake Forest University where he competed in the Men's Novice 4 and helped establish the crew team during its early years. As a sophomore, Jon moved into the Men's Lightweight 4 with whom he rowed through graduation. The team represented the University at regattas throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic. Jon works downtown as a MBS strategist for a privately held broker-dealer. He is thankful for the opportunity to introduce others to rowing and to share his experiences as they develop their own passion for the sport.

  • Jones, Jennifer +

    Jennifer picked up rowing during college with the Davidson College club crew team in 2006. She rowed sweep for 3 years and coached novice women’s club crew during her senior year. While rowing she medaled at 5 collegiate regattas, including the Head of the South (Augusta, GA) and the West Virginia Governor’s Cup (Charleston, WV). Currently she is a first year medical student at the University of Chicago.

  • Luce, Maggie +

    Maggie Luce began rowing at Loyola Academy. By sophomore year, she earned the stroke seat, which she would hold for the rest of her career. Maggie has won the Scholastic National Championship for the Women’ s JV8, has meddled four times at Midwest Championships, and participated in both the Head of the Charles and Royal Canadian Henley. After graduating as team captain from Loyola academy, she went on to row at University of Iowa. Here she meddled at the Head of the Charles. She finished her college career at Marquette University with a B.S. in Biomedical Sciences. Currently, she is preparing for her master’ s degree by taking courses at Northwestern University. Maggie looks forward to being a valuable member of the CTC team.

  • Marx, Jeff +

    Jeff has been a CTC coach since 2007. A life long athlete, Jeff attended Boston University and was a 4-year scholarship athlete for the Men's Crew. Jeff majored in biomedical engineering, and hopes to bring his experience of successfully balancing the rigors of both academics and athletics to the CTC boys and girls. Today, Jeff works as an Intellectual Property Attorney in Chicago.

  • Mitchell, Erika +

    Erika Mitchell rowed for Brown University for 4 years (a lightweight on the heavyweight team) and continues to compete as a master’s rower. She has won medals at races including Canadian Henley, Masters Nationals and Head of the Schuylkill in both sweep and sculling events. She has rowed throughout the US and Canada meeting some of the most inspiring people along the way. Erika currently works at Loyola University Medical Center as an orthopedic trauma surgeon.

  • Newman, Ed +

    - under construction -

  • Schreck, Teddy +

    Teddy joined CTC in 2009 after graduating from Harvard College. At Harvard, Teddy progressed from the second freshman 8+ to eventually captain the heavyweight program in his senior year. Since college, Teddy has worked in finance roles in the sportswear industry and he is committed to empowering people through sport. He is currently pursuing an MBA at Northwestern's Kellogg School of Management.

  • Sears, Newton +

    Newton Sears joined CTC as a 2009 graduate from the University of Pennsylvania and a member of the Men's Lightweight Team. He served as captain during his Junior and Senior seasons, and was a 3-year member of the first varsity boat. He currently resides in Lakeview.

  • Spellane, Pat +

    - under construction -

  • Tepley, Chad +

    Chad graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Madison School of Business in 2002 with a B.B.A. in Real Estate and Urban Land Economics. During his time at Wisconsin, Chad rowed with the UW Men’s Freshman and Varsity crews and placed 5th in the Men's 8 at the Freshman National Championships. Chad has volunteered and traveled internationally through over 40 countries and is working towards fluency in speaking Spanish. His interests include golf, scuba diving and the fine arts.

    Chad is currently employed with The Capital 22 Group at Jameson Commercial. As Director of Client Services for The Capital 22 Group, Chad Tepley has over 12 years of experience in local, national and international commercial real estate consulting and transactional services. Chad is focused on providing clients with a full range of commercial brokerage and advisory services including tenant representation, investment sales, buyer/seller representation and landlord representation.

  • Winters, Erik +

    Erik Winters joined the coaching staff with CTC in 2012. He is a graduate of Brown University where he was a member of the IRA champion freshman 8+ in 1999, Varsity 8+ Eastern Sprints Champions boat in 2000, and Ladies Plate Champion at the Henley Royal Regatta in 2000. Along with rowing for Brown, Erik also competed with National Rowing Teams. He won a gold and bronze medal in the 1999 and 2000 Under 23 World Championships in the 8+. He also competed at the World Championships in the 8+ and 4X. Erik also has coaching experience in the sport, most recently as a graduate assistant coach for the Cornell University Men’s Lightweight program. Erik works with a procurement consultancy, TradingPartners, based in Chicago.

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Think you'd like to get involved?
Can you find time to cover one of our weekly practices? Then we'd like to talk to you! Please contact us directly to pursue your spot on our team.