M Rowing Coaching Staff
Zach Johnson
Director of Rowing
Coach Info:
Position: Director of Rowing
Alma Mater: San Diego State
Experience: 13 Years
Phone: 858-822-2671
Email: zajohnson@ucsd.edu

Zach Johnson is currently serving as the UC San Diego Director of Rowing. He has been with the Tritons since 2004-05, when he was named an assistant coach for the men's rowing team. As the team's head coach from 2006-19, Johnson was the longest tenured head coach in program history. In the summer of 2019, Johnson stepped down from his role as head coach, but retained his position as the Tritons' Director of Rowing.

During his tenure, Johnson has taken the program to new heights and expectations while competing at the national level. In each of his seasons, the team has achieved new goals and set new standards. Never ranked prior to the 2007 season, UC San Diego has now spent time ranked in the top 25 of the U.S. Rowing Collegiate Poll in six of the last 11 seasons.

Under Johnson's leadership, the Tritons have become regular competitors at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championship. UC San Diego qualified for the prestigious championship for the first time in program history in 2009, and earned the right to compete again in 2011 and 2013. Most recently, the Tritons have qualified in three-consecutive seasons, taking part in 2017, 2018, and 2019.

UC San Diego has also enjoyed success during Johnson's tenure at the WIRA Championship, where the Tritons have never finished lower than third. The Tritons won the overall team championship in 2006, 2011, and 2019, including an incredible sweep of the Varsity 8, Second Varsity 8, and Third Varsity 8 races in 2019. Following the sweep, Johnson was named WIRA Coach of the Year, while four Triton student-athletes came away with All-WIRA awards.

Other team highlights under Johnson include wins at the 2007 and 2009 San Diego Crew Classic Cal Cup events, as well as invitations to the Crew Classic Copley Cup in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 as one of the country's top crews. In 2011, UC San Diego became the first non-Pac-12 program to qualify for the Copley Cup Grand Final, taking fifth place overall and defeating traditional powerhouses along the way.

In addition, the team has experienced success at races such as the Stanford Invitational, where UC San Diego has compiled a winning record in duel races; the George Washington Invitational, where the team placed second overall in team points in 2012; and the SIRA Regatta, where the Tritons finished second overall in 2011.

At the end of the 2006-07 season, Johnson was invited to "guest" coach for a month at Yale University. While at Yale, he coached the JV and 3V athletes as they prepared for the oldest intercollegiate sporting event in the country, the Harvard-Yale Regatta. The JV crew was able to surprise a heavily-favored Harvard boat, which had beaten Yale at both IRAs and Eastern Sprints weeks earlier, winning the event by over 15 seconds.

Johnson joined the UC San Diego coaching staff during the 2004-05 season as the novice/freshman coach. At the time, the novice program was comprised entirely of walk-ons and went on to enjoy tremendous success over the next two seasons, setting records for UC San Diego freshmen crews that still hold today. Johnson's crews placed fourth at the San Diego Crew Classic, won all duel competitions and qualified for back-to-back ECAC National Invitational Championships Grand Finals, where in 2006 the team took second place overall to become the only Triton crew to ever medal in a national invitational.

Prior to coming to UC San Diego, Johnson was the head coach at San Diego State University from 2000-04. During his tenure, SDSU became a highly-competitive program, winning or medaling in numerous conference championships. Johnson's SDSU crews qualified in the varsity four for the IRA National Championships in three of his five years as head coach.

Johnson began his rowing career at the early age of nine and has rowed competitively at every level from Junior to Elite. Although most of his 20-year competitive career focused on sculling events, he won a total of nine national championship medals in the eight, straight four, coxed four, quad, double and single, with his last coming in 2005.

Johnson graduated from San Diego State University with a bachelor's degree in history. He was varsity captain and club president for SDSU from 1995-98.