CHESTERTOWN — Bill McLean, who has 25 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, has been tapped to head the men’s rowing program at Washington College. He succeeds Scott Wisniewski, who resigned in August to take a coaching job at Cabrini College.
McLean’s first day here was Monday, Nov. 18.
He had been the head women’s coach and head men’s club coach at Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference rival Johnson & Wales in Rhode Island since August 2014.
“Washington College has a fantastic infrastructure for building a competitive rowing team and a campus that is in an idyllic setting. I hope to build on the strong foundation that my predecessor Scott established for the program and to build on the energy that the campus climate provides,” McLean said in a news release.
Washington athletic director Thad Moore said McLean’s “vision of the program aligns with ours and we are looking forward to watching him achieve his goals.”
McLean was hired at Johnson & Wales one year before the debut of women’s rowing as a varsity sport there. By the program’s third season, at the 2018 MARC Championships, the Wildcats finished second in the conference. They also placed second this spring, trailing only Washington’s women.
During his tenure at Johnson & Wales, McLean also developed the men’s rowing program, which competed at the club level.
He held additional duties in the Johnson & Wales athletic department, including serving as an advisor to the Student Athletic Advisory Committee and as a game-day supervisor for various other sporting events as well as assisting in the renovation and development of the school’s Sailing and Rowing Center.
In a prepared statement, McLean said: “I was given a wonderful opportunity to build a championship program from the ground up and, within four years, the team has taken second place at the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference Championships. Thank you to Mel Graf, associate dean of student development, for taking a chance on me to build the program and Dana Miller, athletic director, for supporting the team to achieve our goals.”
Johnson & Wales was the most recent stop in McLean’s long career as a college rowing coach. He started with a one-year stint as the freshman coach for Ohio State’s club women’s team in 1994.
He moved on from Ohio State to serve eight years as the head coach of the club men’s and women’s program at the University of Rochester, where he tripled program participation and created the Friends of Rochester Rowing, a fundraising group comprised of alumni and parents.
In August of 2003, McLean began a five-year stop at Murray State University in Kentucky, serving as the head coach of the school’s Division I varsity women’s program and club men’s program — heading up a varsity program for the first time. He again created a fundraising support group and assisted in the renovation and construction of the boathouse.
In August 2008, McLean moved on to Southern Methodist University in Texas, serving as an assistant coach for the varsity women’s program. He remained at SMU until taking the position at Johnson & Wales.
Prior to joining the college coaching ranks, McLean was a coach and boathouse caretaker at Three Rivers Rowing Association in Pittsburgh and the head boys and girls rowing coach at North Allegheny High School in Wexford, Pa.
He also has been the director of Learn to Row at Pittsford (N.Y.) Rowing Club, an assistant coach at Penn Athletic Club Rowing Association in Philadelphia and an assistant coach for White Rock Rowing Club in Dallas.
McLean has served on the NCAA Division III Mid-Atlantic Regional Advisory Committee and as treasurer of the MARC. He is a United States Rowing Association Level III Certified Coach.
He earned a B.A. in history in 1992 from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. This is where he discovered rowing, joining the club program as a walk-on.