Al Monte & Bucknell Men's Rowing

By Sparks Editorial Staff | January 19, 2012

Rowing on the waters of the Susquehanna River, Bucknell University Men's Crew has quietly built themselves into a top 25 rowing program in the United States. A member of the Patriot League, Bucknell's speed has increased significantly in the past few seasons and they look to keep the momentum going into 2012.

"… we will be the hardest working team during the week and the toughest to beat on race day."

"The top small college rowing team" is the goal of Al Monte, Head Coach of Men's' Rowing at Bucknell University. After serving as the Assistant Coach at Bucknell for the past three seasons, Monte steps into his first season as head coach, replacing Paul Bugenhagen who moved on to coach at Hobart College. "I learned a ton from Paul" says Monte, and "I am excited to lead the program into the future." While he is new to the head coaching position, every member of the Varsity rowed for Monte as a freshman, so little transition is necessary. "A level of trust is already present and the guys believe in our philosophy" says Monte, "We will be the hardest working team during the week and the toughest to beat on race day".

"..[recruits] need to be excited about our hard working philosophy"

After a solid 2011 season that saw Bucknell win a bronze medal in the Varsity 8 and a gold medal in the Freshman 8 at the ECAC Championships, Monte is raising the bar in 2012. "says Monte. " We have a strong freshman group moving up and good potential on the freshman level." Bucknell believes in the Freshman 8 experience, resulting in no freshman in the Varsity 8. Monte adds, "We like to build the freshman group together, have them race together and win together creating a culture of success. Then, they enter the varsity level as a group, bringing the culture of success along."

Recruited athletes need to have a GPA in the 3.5 range and SAT scores in the 1900 range

Bucknell builds the program on recruited and walk-on athletes. The Freshman 8 in 2011 consisted of five recruited oarsmen and a recruited cox while the Varsity 8 consisted primarily of oarsmen who had no previous rowing experience before college. In the recruiting process " we look for honest, hardworking guys who are passionate about rowing and Bucknell" says Monte, "additionally they need to be excited about our hard working philosophy". Bucknell's high quality academics and smaller student body makes the admissions process very selective. Recruited athletes need to have a GPA in the 3.5 range and SAT scores in the 1900 range. "We look to find the right guys for Bucknell, ones that seek to be challenged academically and athletically," adds Monte.

Bucknell Men's crew will be racing next weekend in Philadelphia at the Head of the Schuykill Regatta.

- Glenn Ochal