Rich Connell enters his fourth year as head coach of the Middlebury College rowing program, having assumed the role in the fall of 2018.
Connell graduated from Franklin Pierce College in 2007 with a double major in psychology and computer science, and was a member and captain of Pierce's rowing team from 2004-2007.
Upon graduation, he became the assistant coach at Pierce from 2007-2009, earned his Master’s degree in Sports Management, and then went on to become head coach of rowing at the Dublin School in southern NH from 2010-2015.
After a brief stint coaching Vermont Academy (2016-2017), and prior to his current position at Middlebury, he headed the Anchorage Rowing Association (ARA) in Alaska in 2017 and 2018.
While in Vermont, Rich has also spent time coaching during the summers at Craftsbury Sculling Center (2019 to present), adopting their small boat focus with the Middlebury athletes.
Aside from coaching, Connell also rowed for the MRRA in Lowell, MA from 2009-2015. During this time he competed at numerous regattas: Head of the Charles (2nd in club 4+ in 2014 & 2015), USRowing's National Championships (1st in 4- & 2- in 2013, 1st in 4+ in 2014), Canadian Henley (2nd in 2- in 2012), and the Royal Henley Regatta (quarterfinals in Britannia Cup 2013).
Rich has taken up interest in various outdoor pursuits since then, including long endurance events, and continues to remain an active competitor in the rowing world in addition to being a full-time head coach.
He currently lives in Monkton, VT with his wife, Sabra, and husky, Dakota.
Office: 219 South Main Street Middlebury, VT, 0575
Assistant Coach | Whitney Standefer
Whitney Standefer-Smith is beginning her first year as an assistant rowing coach for Middlebury.
Prior to coaching at Middlebury, Whitney was the assistant boys coach at Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN for two years (2018-2020) as well as assistant varsity and interim head varsity coach for Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, TN for four years (2010-2011, 2014-2017).
Whitney began her rowing career in high school at Girls Preparatory School in Chattanooga, TN after which she was offered a rowing scholarship to the University of California- Los Angeles (UCLA).
She rowed for two years at UCLA and qualified for U23 National Team selection camp before being injured and medically retired from high level training.
However, she still enjoys rowing and racing recreationally as well as helping young rowers learn the sport and reach their own goals.
Whitney is also a business, tax, and IP attorney with a J.D. from Vermont Law School and an LL.M. in Tax Law from Villanova University.
She has her own law practice with offices in Chattanooga, TN and Brandon, VT.
Whitney currently lives in Rutland, VT with her husband, Trevor, and young daughter, Adeline.
Assistant Coach | Elliot Munn
Elliott joined the Middlebury Crew coaching staff as an assistant in the spring of 2021.
Before ever laying hands on a racing oar, he fell in love with rowing as a high school senior after reading Stephen Kiesling's The Shell Game.
Attracted to the sport by its beauty, camaraderie, and fierce competition, he joined the rowing team at Bowdoin College a few months later.
He rowed for four years as a student and he got his first taste of coaching as an intern at St. Paul's School Advanced Studies Program.
Elliott is also an avid alpine skier and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.
He currently lives near the college in Middlebury with his spouse Elizabeth and daughter Lydia.