CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The Harvard athletic department announced today the hiring of Elizabeth (Lou) O'Brien Berl as the head coach of Radcliffe lightweight crew.
"We are happy to announce the hiring of Lou Berl as the head coach of Radcliffe lightweight crew," said Bob Scalise, the Nichols Family Director of Athletics. "Lou succeeds in bringing out the best in each member of her crews and her experience as an elite rower and collegiate coach will positively impact the rowing community at Harvard."
"I am thrilled to have been offered this opportunity and I can't wait to start working with this exceptional group of women," said Berl. "I am honored to be joining a long line of great coaches and rowers and am excited to build on the program. Everyone I have worked with so far has been incredibly supportive and enthusiastic, especially head women's heavyweight coach Liz O'Leary, senior associate AD Patricia Henry, the entire administrative team, and especially the terrific lightweight captains, Andrea Linares '14 and Elizabeth Lenczowski '14. I already feel like I am a part of the program."
A successful rowing coach at multiple levels, Berl comes to the Charles River from Davidson, N.C., where she started Lou's Garage Crew (LGC), an intense training program for competitive youth rowers.
Formerly the head coach at her alma mater Trinity College, Berl led the Bantams to their first-ever NCAA championship regatta and won the New England Rowing Championship with both the varsity and second varsity eights.
Berl arrived at Trinity in 2001 after spending three years at the University of Virginia. Starting as the freshmen/novice coach, Berl was promoted to assistant varsity coach and consistently led her teams to medal finishes in championship events. Always a top-four team at the NCAA championships, the 1999 UVA squad tied Brown for most points as Berl's boats won gold and silver at the regatta.
Berl earned her collegiate coaching start at Ohio State University, where she led an undefeated novice squad to a first-place finish at the Mid-West Championships and Central Regional Sprints.
Berl also has six years of experience in the classroom, teaching at Woodlawn School (Davidson, N.C.) and Noble and Greenough School (Dedham, Mass.). While at Noble and Greenough, Berl coached the two-time undefeated varsity team to national championships in 1996 and 1997.
A captain and MVP varsity rower at Trinity, Berl graduated with a bachelor's degree in history in 1988. Berl was a member of the US Junior National team in 1984. The former Lou O'Brien married Chris Berl, a three-time US lightweight team member and former heavyweight rower at Penn, and the two have three daughters, Charlotte (14), Wilder (12) and Allaire (10).