Mike Irwin is in his seventh season as head men's rowing coach at Saint Joseph's University.
The Hawks have made great strides since Irwin has taken the reigns of the program and in 2017, he guided the Hawks to one of their most successful seasons in school history. Saint Joseph's took home two gold medals and one silver from the Dad Vail Regatta, marking the most medals since 2010, while placing third in the men's team standings. SJU posted its highest-ever Varsity 8 finish (second) since the 1999 crew grabbed a silver and also won the Varsity 8 at 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, sending 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.
Irwin, who possesses a wealth of collegiate coaching experience and involvement with the U.S. National Team, was named the Hawks' head coach on July 21, 2011, becoming the 10th coach in program history.
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 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, the current University of California coach and former 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.