|Alma Mater:||ALMA MATER=>TRINITY COLLEGE '91|
Entering his his eighth season as Saint Joseph's head men's rowing coach, Mike Irwin has guided the Hawks to great growth during his tenure, while recently putting together two of the best seasons in school history.
In 2018, the Hawks finished the year ranked 17th in the nation for their first-ever spot in the final Top 20, while making their second straight appearance in the IRA National Championship. SJU won three Dad Vail medals for the second year in a row, with silver in the Varsity 8 and the Second Varsity 8 and a Bronze in the Third Varsity 8.
That performance followed one of the most successful seasons in school history in 2017 as Saint Joseph's took home two gold medals (Second Varsity 8, Third Varsity 8) and one silver (Varsity 8) at the Dad Vail Regatta. It marking the most medals since 2010 and the Hawks finished third in the team standings. SJU's second-place Dad Vail finish in the Varsity 8 matched the highest since 1999, while the boat also captured the Bergen Cup for its first title since 2008. The Hawks culminated the year by earning an at-large bid to the IRA National Championships in California with three boats, for Saint Joseph's first trip to the IRAs since the current format of varsity-only crews and qualification standards were instituted in 2009.
His college coaching career has spanned more than 20 years, including seven seasons (2002 to 2009) at the University of Pennsylvania as the men's lightweight head coach and director of boathouse operations. He also coached for seven years at Yale University, working first with the freshman lightweight crew and then the freshman heavyweight crew.
He came to Saint Joseph's from the Essex Rowing Club in Methuen, Mass., where he was the director of operations since 2009, while also serving as the senior coach for the Men's Youth and Women's Master's rowing programs.
"We are thrilled to have Mike head up our men's rowing program. He has been a successful leader and director of programs on the regional, national and international levels. His two decades of coaching experience has many crossroads and connections through Philadelphia and the Dad Vail community," said then-athletic director Don DiJulia, upon Irwin's appointment.
Irwin was a boatman for the United States National Team at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, and was a member of the U.S. National Team staff for a total of five World Championships, dating back to 1999. "Mike and his proven track record, both internationally and collegiate, will be a great asset for the Hawk rowing program. I wish Mike all the best and congratulate Saint Joseph's on hiring such an accomplished quality leader," said Mike Teti '78, the former University of California coach and U.S. National Team coach, who is a member of the SJU Athletics Hall of Fame.
While at Penn, Irwin was named the 2005 EARC Lightweight Coach of the Year as he guided the Quakers a bronze medal at the IRA Championships. In 2002, he led Yale's freshman heavyweight crew to a bronze medal in the Eastern Sprints, while in 1999, his freshman Lightweight crew at Yale captured two Eastern Sprints gold medals and went undefeated.
In addition to his duties at Penn, Irwin was very involved in Philadelphia rowing, having served as the head coach of both the Fairmount Rowing Association Master's Program and the Vesper Boat Club Senior Rowing Program.
Irwin began his coaching career as the novice coach at his alma mater, Trinity College, after graduating in 1991. A native of Buffalo, N.Y., he earned a business essentials certificate in 2007 from the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School.