The Orange Coast College men’s crew team has a new coach leading the way this year.
Cameron Brown took over as the new head coach and comes to OCC after a five-year stint as men’s crew coach at Oklahoma City University.
“I believe my experience at OCU, of building a small program into a contender, can really benefit me at OCC,” Brown said.
At OCU, Brown helped build the program into a steady national contender and lead the program to its highest ranking in its history with a bronze medal performance earlier this year as well as a gold medal at the Dad Vail Regatta.
In addition to his five years as head coach at OCU, Brown also brings experience from Australia where he served as a state development coach, club coach and high school varsity coach for Rowing Queensland in Brisbane, Australia.
He coached the Rowing Queensland varsity team for nine years from 1998 to 2007 where he led the U-19 women’s team to a top-three finish at the 2007 Australian National Championship.
In addition to the experience he brings to the job, he also brings determination and inspiration.
In June 2011, Brown was diagnosed with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, a potentially deadly muscle disorder that occurs when the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks the nervous system.
“It came on me very quickly. In a span of 12 hours I went from a fully functioning human to a quadriplegic,” Brown said.
Even through the disease, which left him in a wheelchair for two years, Brown pushed on against doctor’s orders and never missed a practice or a match.
“I enjoy coaching too much to not be there and with help from my wife and the team I was able to be there,” Brown said.
Brown hopes to continue the consistent success that the OCC men’s crew team has had in the past as they have become contenders on the national stage.
“My goal is to create a culture of success and that starts by having my team prepared, organized and responsible. I would like to treat this program like a Division 1 program because I believe we have the talent here to compete with the Division 1 schools,” Brown said.
Expectations will be high as always for the upcoming season with 21 total returners including 18 rowers and three coxswain.
“Having a lot of experienced returning players from a successful team can be very beneficial for this team going forward, not just on the water but in practice helping the freshman learn and leading the way,” Brown said.
Last year’s OCC team saw great showings at several national tournaments including the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association championships and the San Diego Crew Classic, putting pressure on Brown to continue the kind of success the team has become accustomed to over the years.