Craig Amerkhanian is a Pac-10 college champion oarsman and rowing coach at Stanford University. Amerkhanian also has placed numerous athletes on National, Olympic and "Boat Race" (Oxford/Cambridge) teams. He was an all Pac-10 oarsman at University of California Berkeley and graduated in 1980 with a degree in History. He received his master's degree in education in 1993.
After rowing for two years at Orange Coast College, Amerkhanian raced in the Cal varsity eight in 1979 and '80. The '79 team won the Pac-10 championship well as the Opening Day Regatta on the Montlake Cut. The crew traveled to Henley (Cal's first trip since the '48 Olympic crew) and raced in the Grand Challenge Cup. In 1980 the crew was undefeated again throughout the dual racing season.
In the fall of 1980, Amerkhanian began a five-year stint with the Oakland Athletics Baseball Co., working with Roy Eisenhardt ('80 Cal frosh coach and A's president). He then worked in the mortgage industry while earning his master's degree in education. Amerkhanian has taught social studies and English in the Oakland and San Ramon school districts.
Amerkhanian's coaching career began at University of California, Berkeley in 1992 when he became the coach of the freshman team, working under his former coach at Cal, Steve Gladstone. The classes of athletes that Amerkhanian recruited during the mid- to late-'90s began a rowing dynasty at Cal. Amerkhanian-coached crews had great success at the IRA national championship regatta, winning gold in '98 and 2000, silver in '99 and '96, and a fourth-place finish in 1997. His freshman crews also won Pac-10 titles in 1994, '95, '96, '98, '99, and 2000.
After his victorious season with the Cal frosh in 2000, Amerkhanian accepted an offer to become the Director of Stanford's Rowing Program. Amerkhanian takes the lion's share of credit for building a successful rowing program at the University. By 2005, the team included two athletes who had rowed in the 2004 Athens Olympics and another who would go on to compete in Beijing in 2008. Amerkhanian coached four members of the team that competed in the London 2012 Olympics. Coach Amerkhanian was named Pac-10 coach of the year in both 2006 and 2010. Stanford's team under Amerkhanian's leadership has won national titles at the IRA championship regatta in the freshman 4+, varsity 4+, and 2- events, earned silver (2007) and bronze (2009) in the varsity 8+ event, and won the Copley Cup at the San Diego Crew Classic in 2006 and 2007.
Past athletes coached
Amerkhanian has coached many Olympic athletes, including:
- Adam Kreek
- Jamie Schroeder
- David Banks
- Alex Osborne
- Silas Stafford
- Jake Cornelius
- Austin Hack
- Jake Wetzel
- Scott Frandsen
- Nito Simonsen
- Luke Walton