LaRiviere making WSU women’s rowing the best in the west

Jane LaRiviere has been Head Coach for the WSU women’s rowing team since July of 2002.

LaRiviere is described by senior rower Mihaela-Teodora ‘Teo’ Berindei as an “easy to relate to, wonderful, inspiring person.”

Before LaRiviere became the head coach for the WSU women’s rowing team, she was a novice coach at Oregon State University for eight years.

“It was excellent preparation for being a coach here,” LaRiviere said. “I got to cut my teeth in a place that you can still make some mistakes and learn from them. I really enjoyed my time there but I think toward the end it was time for me to be head coach.”

When LaRiviere was offered her current job, it was her first time moving anywhere and she was no longer a student. She came here with one thing in mind: to be the head coach of a rowing team.

“I just wanted to be a head coach,” she said, “so you just kind of immerse yourself in the job and you hit the recruiting trail and you start setting up the seeds of what you hope bloom in terms of the team culture and team dynamics.”

Even before arriving at WSU, LaRiviere has always maintained two philosophies as a coach.

“You want to create an environment where people feel their time is well spent. Like they’re getting something from their commitment,” LaRiviere said of her philosophies. “The other thing that’s important, I think, is you have to create the culture that people want to be a part of.”

Berindei, who is originally from Romania, has been coached by LaRiviere since her freshman year, and it shows in the way she talks about her coach.

“I got to enjoy it and love it,” Berindei said of LaRiviere. “I will definitely remember her speeches and the way she would make us realize that happy rowers are fast rowers.”

The speeches that Berindei mentions are those LaRiviere gives before regattas. They serve to remind rowers of their purpose in being a part of the program and why they are racing.

“Sometimes the speech will be a little bit of motivation, just reminding them of how hard they worked and reminding them that they’ve earned the right to be successful,” LaRiviere said. “It’s kind of a reminder of what they’ve already done in order to set themselves up to be successful.”

Berindei said that during practices, LaRiviere always emphasizes the importance of rowers carrying a good mood into their workouts.

“When she felt like we’re trying too hard, she always told us to relax, enjoy it, and feel the boat,” Berindei said. “Let the boat do more work, it’s supposed to be like that.”

Not only is LaRiviere a successful coach, as evidenced in taking the program to its 10th NCAA Championship appearance last season and its fifth in six years, she is also a huge support for rowers that are international student-athletes.

“She’s one of the people that showed me so much support since I came from Romania,” Berindei said. “I didn’t have too many people here that I can trust, so she became kind of like my mom. So with any problem I will have, I will go to and talk to her.”

Even with 15 years under her belt at WSU, LaRiviere does not plan on leaving anytime soon. LaRiviere is devoted to consistently finishing in the top half of the Pac-12 and bringing home NCAA Championship and individual regatta hardwear.

“That drives a person,” LaRiviere said. “Every year you just got to get a little bit better.”