Mitch McManus successfully led crews of a different kind before moving to coaching full time. As an internationally awarded Film & Television Director, he has written, produced and directed commercials for everything from hamburgers to Hollywood blockbusters, however his passion has always been working with sports, listing NFL, The Soccer World Cup and the Olympic Games among his many production credits.
Growing up in Sydney, Australia, Mitch first fell in love with rowing at arguably Australia’s most successful boys’ rowing nursery, the Shore School where he coxed the Junior 4+, 1V 4+ and 1V 8+. Upon graduating High School, he continued coxing with Sydney Rowing Club in both the Youth 8+ and the club Gold Cup 8+. Having completed studies at the Australian Film, TV and Radio School (AFTRS) in Sydney, Australia and Harvard University in Boston, Mitch followed a lifelong passion and undertook a full year’s intensive postgraduate study at the Institute for Rowing Leadership, graduating as a Fellow of the IRL, Class of 2019.
In 2016 Mitch was introduced to CRI when his daughter Caitlin was selected to row on their Women’s Varsity Team. Unable to resist the draw any longer, Mitch began coaching Competitive Youth Skills Development & Adult Sweeps at CRI, in addition to being appointed Head Coach, Novice Boys at Bromfield Acton-Boxborough in 2018 where his crews won 4 Gold, 2 Silver, 2 Bronze and a State Championship title.
In the summer of 2019 Mitch was appointed to the position of Rowing Director and Head Coach at Greater Lawrence Rowing. Under his leadership, GLR won many races in his first season as Head Coach as well as winning the team point score trophy, ‘The New Hampshire Cup’ for the first time ever at the New Hampshire Championships. At that same regatta, the Girl’s 1V 4+ won the coveted George Dirth Memorial Cup. The Boy’s 1V 8+ also achieved a history-making result for GLR in the 2019 Head of the Charles Regatta – being the first GLR 8+ ever to place high enough to qualify for automatic entry in the following year’s race.
Despite the challenges of COVID-19 in the Spring of 2020, GLR qualified a record-breaking six crews for USRowing’s Virtual Youth Nationals, placing 2nd overall of 31 teams in the hotly contested Northeast Regional Championships. In the blue ribbon event at USRowing’s 2020 Youth Nationals, the Men’s Youth 1x, GLR took the Silver medal; plus a Gold Medal in the Men’s U15 4x.
GLR’s momentum continued into the Fall with a Gold Medal in the HOCR 4702 Men’s Youth 1x; Silver in the Women’s Open LWT 1x and Bronze in the Women’s On-Water Youth 2x, Men’s U17 4+ & 2x plus Women’s U17 4x & 2x. The Gold Medal streak continued at the 2020 Head of the Schuylkill with 8 wins from 9 entries and a Silver in the 9th covering Men’s & Women’s events across all age divisions: U15, U17 & U19. Head of the Fish delivered 5 more winning HOTF trophies to the GLR Boathouse plus 3 Silvers. The Spring 2021 winning tally opened with 6 Gold, 4 Silver and 6 Bronze at SRA’s Valentines Regatta; PLUS 15 wins from 16 entries at Ergzilla 500 – the 16th being a very close second place.
While success at regattas is great fun, Mitch firmly believes that developing camaraderie, leadership & life skills in the athletes he coaches is just as important as teaching technical ability. His rowing philosophy is simple: Get fit, go fast, have fun. “It’s only half about the rowing”.
Email: Mitch McManus