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Brian Conley

Head Coach
Brian Conley enters in second season as the Old Dominion Women's Rowing coach after successful first season taking sixth place in the American Athletic Conference Championships. One member of the rowing team was named to the All-Conference team. The highest finish of the year was in the Murphy Cup when the Varsity 8 team took fifth place in the Grand Final. 

Old Dominion University has hired Brian Conley as its head rowing coach, Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig announced on July 27. Conley joins ODU after spending the previous 12 years as the head coach of both the men's and women's programs at Lehigh. Conley is the third head coach in program history.
"Brian is a seasoned head coach poised to take over the ODU Women's Crew program and continue our pursuit of national prominence in the sport of rowing," ODU Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig said. "Brian has excellent academic and leadership credentials and I am confident our student-athletes will respond well to his leadership."
Conley led Lehigh on a steady rise, leading the team to the program's best finish ever this past season. Lehigh finished in fourth place at this year's Patriot League Championship and prior to that he led the team to its best ever finishes in 2017 and 2018. In 2017, Lehigh's 26 points were most in school history at the Patriot League Championships. The Mountain Hawks followed in 2018 by tying for fourth with 33 points. Lehigh won the first two medals in program history, as the Varsity Four and Second Varsity Eight each won bronze. 
"I am thrilled to be trusted with this opportunity to lead the Old Dominion rowing team and contribute to the Monarch community," Conley said. "I want to thank the search committee, particularly Dr. Selig, Rick FrenchCarolyn CrutchfieldDanielle Cohea and Aimee Clark. Their passion for Old Dominion and their commitment to the rowing program's success was very apparent in the process. This program has so much potential and I'm looking forward to working with the student-athletes to create a culture of excellence in the classroom and on the water. It's a great day to be a Monarch!"
In 2017-18, the women's team cracked the NCAA Regional Rankings for the first time in school history and won its first Patriot League Boat of the Week in program history (Second Varsity Eight on Apr. 3). Jules Malachin was named second team All-League while garnering All-Region recognition by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association for a second consecutive year. Liz Gagliardi also earned first team All-Patriot League in 2017 as Lehigh's Varsity Eight finished in fifth place overall, ahead of rival Bucknell.

"After a National and very competitive search, we were able to identify Brian out of a very strong group of coaches. Brian stood out with his preparedness and his passion, not just for the sport of rowing but for ODU," ODU Sr. Associate AD, Facilities and Operations and chair of the rowing head coach committee Rick French said. "His vision for the program truly sealed it for our committee. We are excited to welcome Brian to the Monarch Family. The only person more excited for Brian to get started than ODU athletics was Brian himself! We look forward to seeing what the future has in store."

In his first year, Conley led the Lehigh women's team to 10 points in the Patriot League Championships, almost doubling the previous year's output. Then in 2012, the squad improved to fifth at the championships.
The Mountain Hawks finished the 2014 championships in seventh place, ahead of both Colgate and Loyola. The Varsity Four and Second Varsity Eight finished third in their respective heats before placing sixth overall. Other highlights from the 2013-14 season included a strong effort at the Murphy Cup, which featured four crews reaching the finals - including a silver medal by the Men's Freshmen Eight. Lehigh won seven of eight races against Colgate and Hamilton while placing every boat into the grand finals at the Kerr Cup.
Conley's athletes have impressed off the water as well. Lehigh was one of just two Patriot League schools to feature two rowers on the Patriot League All-Academic Team in 2013 and 14, and he placed a student-athlete on the all-academic team every year he was at Lehigh.  

In four years at Dartmouth, Conley assisted varsity crews at the Ivy League Championships and the Eastern Sprints Championships. In three of his four seasons, Conley's first freshmen eights reached the grand finals at the Eastern Sprints.

While assisting at Dartmouth, Conley also served as head coach for the competitive women's rowing program at the Upper Valley Rowing Club in New Hampshire. His crews posted four top-ten finishes at the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta.

Prior to his stint at Dartmouth, Conley, a Philadelphia area native, served as the head rowing coach for the men's and women's programs at Lower Merion High School. In just three years Conley turned a program that lost every race to one that medaled in major championships including gold and bronze medals at the 2006 Scholastic National Championships.

Conley also enjoyed an impressive competitive career on the water. After a standout career at Saint Joseph's Preparatory School, Conley attended the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a four-year oarsman including three years on the first varsity eight. Conley served as team captain as a senior and was named the Quakers' Most Valuable Oarsman.

On the club circuit, Conley rowed for four years in the Penn Athletic Club elite program, where he won 10 medals in the U.S. Rowing National Championships including a pair of Gold medals.

Conley earned his bachelor's degree in American History from Penn in 2002.