Zach Johnson enters his ninth season with UC San Diego Men's Crew team and seventh as head coach in 2012-13.
During his tenure, Coach Johnson has taken UC San Diego Rowing to new heights and expectations. During each of his nine seasons the team has achieved new goals and set new standards each passing year. Never ranked prior to the 2007 season, UCSD has now spent time ranked in the top 25 of the US Rowing Collegiate Poll in five of the last six seasons.
Some highlights the team has enjoyed under Johnson's tenure have been wins in 2007 and 2009 in the San Diego Crew Classic Cal Cup event, as well as invitations as one of the country's top crews to the Crew Classic Copley Cup Invitational in 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012. The highlight of these races was the 2011 season when UCSD became the first non-Pac-12 program to make the Grand Final of this event, taking fifth place overall and defeating traditional powerhouses along the way.
In addition, the team has enjoyed success at races such as the Stanford Invitational, where UCSD has compiled a winning record in duel races; the George Washington Invitational, where the team placed second overall in team points in 2012; the SIRA Regatta where the team finished second overall in 2011; and the WIRA Championship Regatta, where the team has never finished lower than third overall and has won the overall team championship in 2006 and 2011.
In 2012, the Tritons came away with two victories in the final day of the WIRA Championships while just missing the Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) National Championships. The first-place finishes came from the Triton JV eight and the second novice eight boats. The varsity eight boat took third and the novice eight finished fourth in their respective races.
UC San Diego has also received its only invitations to the IRA National Championship Regatta during Coach Johnson's tenure, as well. Under Johnson's guidance, the Tritons' Varsity 8, JV 8 and freshman 8 boats qualified in both 2009 and 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 Yale JV was able to surprise a heavily favored Harvard boat, which had beaten them at both IRAs and Eastern Sprints weeks earlier, winning the event by over 15 seconds.
Johnson joined the UCSD coaching staff during the 2004-05 season as the novice/freshman coach. At the time, the UCSD novice program was comprised entirely of walk-ons and went on to enjoy tremendous success over the next two seasons, setting records for UCSD freshman 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 Grand Finals of the ECAC National Invitational Championships, where in 2006 the team took second place overall to become the only UCSD team to ever medal in a national invitational.
Prior to joining UC San Diego, Johnson was the head coach at San Diego State University from 2000-04. During his tenure, SDSU became a highly competitive crew, winning or medaling in numerous conference championships. Johnson's SDSU crews qualified in the Varsity 4 for the IRA National Championships in three of his five years as head coach.
Johnson began his rowing career at the early age of 9 and has rowed competitively at every level from Junior to Elite. Although most of his 20-year competitive career focused on sculling events, Johnson 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 Crew from 1995-98.