Christopher O'Brien
Christopher O'Brien
Title: Assistant NCAA Compliance Coordinator/Head Men & Women's Rowing Coach
Phone: 215-951-5943
Email: obrienc@philau.edu

Philadelphia University Head Men's & Women's Rowing Coach Chris O'Brien enters his fifth season for the Rams in 2010-11. 

The 2010 season was O'Brien's best yet with the Lady Rams, as the squad finished in third-place overall at the NCAA Championships on Lake Natoma in Gold River, CA.  Two rowers- Magdalena Dzierzanowski and Renee Rosaieski made PhilaU rowing history as they were named to the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Pocock All-America team.  They are the first-ever rowing All-Americans at PhilaU. 

For the men the V4 took second-place in the Dad Vail Regatta, while taking V4 team titles at the Kerr and Knecht Cups.

In 2009, the PhilaU women's crew team went to their second-straight NCAA Women's Rowing Championship, held in Cherry Hill, NJ on the Cooper River.  In just their second year as an NCAA-sponsored sport, the V8 team placed fourth overall in the NCAA Division II Grand Final on Sunday, May 31. The Lady Rams finished behind winner Western Washington University by less than two boat lengths. The Lady Rams won the repechage (semi-finals) on Saturday, May 30 to enter into the Grand Finals.

O'Brien's men's team was also strong in '09, winning the V4 at the Murphy Cup, a second-place finish in Conshohocken to beat out Villanova and Dowling on the Schuylkill River and a V4 win at the Frostbite Regatta.

In 2008, O'Brien's team earned their first-ever berth in the NCAA Women's Rowing Championships. It was the first year the team was eligible for the NCAA Championships and the team placed fourth overall. 

In 2007 he put together a tremendous season for the inaugural PhilaU rowing season.  At the 69th Annual Dad Vail Regatta, the nation's largest collegiate rowing championship, the Women's Novice Eight captured a 1st place gold medal, winning the Sara Vaughn Trophy.  O'Brien and his team proudly became the first program to ever win the Dad Vail Regatta in its inaugural season.   

O'Brien's coaching career began in 2002 at Monsignor Bonner High School in Drexel Hill, Pa., which has a strong rowing tradition of more than 40 years.  During his five-year tenure as head freshman coach at Bonner, O'Brien led his crews to more than 15 championship medals including the Scholastic Rowing Association (SRA) National Championships (2004).  

A 2002 Villanova University graduate, O'Brien was the Wildcats coxswain.  He served as captain of the men's team his junior and senior years.  During his junior year, O'Brien captured a title at the CRASH-B World Indoor Rowing Championship in Boston. 

In 2001, ‘Nova won the Dad Vail Regatta and competed in the IRA (Intercollegiate Rowing Association) Championships, the oldest collegiate championship in the United States. To this day, no other ‘Nova Men's Lightweight Eight has ever competed at the IRA Championships.

Coach O'Brien began his rowing career in 1994 at Monsignor Bonner High School as a coxswain.  He spent three years as a coxswain for the Varsity Heavyweight Eight winning races that included the Stotesbury Cup Regatta and the SRA National Championships. For his efforts, O'Brien was invited to the Junior Worlds rowing camp in 1998.

O'Brien is a current member of Malta Boat Club on historic Boathouse Row in Philadelphia, Pa.  He currently resides in the Manayunk section of Philadelphia.

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