Marci Robles & Jacksonville Men's Rowing

By Sparks Editorial Staff | May 13, 2015

Marci Robles, the head coach of men’s rowing at Jacksonville University, is in her first year with the Dolphins. Robles was previously the assistant for the Gonzaga Women from 2011-14 and Georgetown University from 2009-11. Prior to Georgetown, Robles was a four-year coxswain for Boston College men's crew.

Having experience leading crews and communicating with male athletes as a coxswain, Robles feels comfortable in her position as the men’s coach.

“Coaching men and women both involve communicating and establishing relationships in a similar manner," states Robles.

Program director and women’s head coach Jim Mitchell says, “The team respects Coach Robles because they all share the same goals of making boats go fast, teaching and learning life lessons, and winning races.”

The on-campus boathouse is a state-of-the-art facility built through alumni support and designed by rowing alum, Brad Negaard.

The Jacksonville campus, on the banks of the St John’s River, is covered in palm trees and has warm weather year round. The beach is just a 15-minute drive away.

"At Jacksonville you feel like you’re on vacation," says Robles.

One of Robles’ daily challenges is changing team culture at a university in a large city near the beach, where 23% of the student body participates in athletics.

The rowers are tall and fit, with a desire to win. Changing team culture at JU means maintaining discipline and consistency. Robles is relentless in the details of daily practice, guiding the rowers to achieve more in each moment.

Robles has set new standards. All rowers must arrive at practice early and show up with a purpose. Daily goals include being in the moment, internalizing drills, focused stretching, and paying attention to details.

When school is out, the team volunteers time at a shelter for women and children who are victims of domestic violence. Robles is creating a culture where the JU Men to do more than just get by, but improve everyday, on and off the water.

“Robles is focused on not only elevating the program to the next level, but also to elevating the characters of our young men," says Jim Mitchell.

Improving from last year's 3rd place in the B final at SIRA, the varsity eight placed 7th overall this year (SIRA), only four seconds off times to qualify for the grand final.

The Jacksonville Men are doing all the little things right to make them competitive at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships (IRAs).