- INSIDE ATHLETICS
- FOR THE STUDENTS
Al Ramirez is now in his 12th season as Director of Rowing and head crew coach at Loyola University Maryland.
Ramirez leads a program that has captured one men's Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title -- in the year 2000 -- and four women's team championships in only 11 seasons of existence.
In his twelve previous seasons on the Evergreen Campus, his women's teams have finished no lower than third at the MAAC Championships. His men have finished second at the MAAC's in five of the past six seasons. Both Loyola's men's and women's crews have captured varsity 8 crowns and multiple freshman 8 championships during that time.
Entering the 2010-2011 campaign, the Loyola women's crew team is riding a two-year MAAC Championship winning streak. In 2010, in addition to picking up the title at the MAAC Championships, the women's Varsity Lightweight 4 boat won the Grand Final title at the 2010 Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships.
Ramirez arrived at Loyola in 2001, becoming the Director of Rowing and Women's Head Coach. He guided the Greyhounds' women to a third-place finish at the MAAC Championships while the men placed fourth overall with only a varsity team. The women's Novice 4 claimed a victory at Orchard Beach, helping the Loyola women tally 57 total team points.
In 2002-03, each squad improved under Ramirez. The women won the Lightweight Varsity 4 and the Varsity Pair to take runner-up honors at the MAAC Championships. The men placed third overall with a strong Varsity Pair taking gold at the conference meet. That same varsity pair, comprised of senior Mike Ferguson and sophomore Will Farrell became the first Greyhound rowers to reach a grand final at the annual Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) championships. The duo placed sixth in the national championship race.
As Director of Rowing in 2003-04, Ramirez guided Loyola to it's best-ever performance at the Dad Vails Regatta while helping the `Hounds achieve one of its finest finishes at the Knecht Cup Regatta on the Cooper River. Maybe the highlight of the season, however, came at the MAAC Championship race where the women captured the conference crown in dramatic fashion. Loyola needed a win in the final event of the championships, the women's Varsity 8. The Greyhounds edged out MAAC power Marist and Ramirez was named the conference Coach of the Year.
On the 03-04 men's side, the `Hounds placed fourth overall, receiving big points from the Novice 8 and Varsity Pair. The men's Novice 4 boat ended up taking 23rd place at the national championships.
The Greyhounds continued to show improvement as a Mid-Atlantic region program in 2004-05 as both the men's and women's varsity eights were victorious at the Mid-Atlantic Crew Championship and the men's team would repeat the following season. That same season, the women's squad won its second straight Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title. The Novice Eight also won a gold medal at the Bill Braxton Regatta, ensuring future growth for the program.
In 2005-06, Ramirez witnessed what he called the "return" of the men's rowing program with an impressive showing at its first Dad Vails Regatta in five years. The varsity eight shocked physically dominant crews in Michigan State and Kansas, and finished two seconds behind eventual grand finalist, Temple, to take third place and advance to the semifinals.
Another season came in 2006-07 and along came a third straight Charlie Butt, Sr., trophy as the men were victorious once again at the Mid-Atlantic Crew Championship. Both the men's and women's squads also advanced to Dad Vails that season.
In his seventh season at the helm of the rowing program, the 2007-08 season saw the program advance to an unprecedented five of eight grand finals at the Knecht Cup Regatta. The men's varsity also took gold at the Occoquan Sprints that year and advanced a pair of boats to the final founds of the IRA National Championships. Just last season, rowing only freshman and juniors, the women's squad captured its third MAAC title, while the men captured its first conference varsity eight gold medal in over a decade and won the Battleship New Jersey trophy after a victory at the Navy Dad Vail Eight. The men's squad also earned wins over Saint Joseph's, a first in history for Loyola, as well as victories against Drexel, Virginia, Lehigh, George Mason and Colgate. Following the season, the men's varsity four were ranked 11th in the country following IRA Nationals in Sacramento, Calif.
Ramirez brought an excellent resume to Evergreen with tremendous success as a coach at the University of Texas, Santa Clara University, St. Stephen's High School, and two Austin, Texas rowing clubs. An excellent rower himself, Ramirez has built a very respectable Loyola program after a brilliant career as a collegiate rower at Santa Clara.
From 1993 to 1997, he served as the head coach of men's rowing at Santa Clara. While at the helm of his alma mater, Ramirez guided his varsity-eight and varsity-four boats to fourth place finishes at the 1997 Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships (W.I.R.A.). As both rower and coach, Ramirez was a core contributor to Santa Clara winning medals in both varsity and novice events at every California and West Coast Championship since 1991.
In 1997-98, Ramirez filled the role of interim head coach of women's rowing at the University of Texas, where he led a group of 65 walk-on student-athletes to very impressive finishes. Ramirez piloted his crew to team points trophies at the Head of the Chattahoochee, the Head of the Colorado, and the Heart of Texas regattas. In 46 spring races, the Longhorns posted 23 wins, 11 second-places, five third-places, and four top-fives under Ramirez's tutelage. Texas also qualified two varsity eights and a varsity four to be entered in the Champion International Collegiate Regatta, where both the novice and lightweight eights finished first.
Ramirez helped the 1998 Longhorn varsity lightweight-eight reach the collegiate elite as the boat achieved a national ranking of fifth by the Independent Rowing News Poll. That boat placed first at the Southern Intercollegiate Rowing Association (S.I.R.A.) Championships, first at the Champion Regatta, second at the Midwest Championships, and fifth at the San Diego Crew Classic.
During the 1998-99 season, Ramirez was the assistant women's rowing coach at Texas and took a novice team composed of non-scholarship athletes to top-six finishes at every major regatta in which they were entered. Under Ramirez, the Novice Longhorns were undefeated at home and in their conference, winning each of these races by wide margins.
Ramirez, an accomplished rower himself, won several silver and bronze medals in the lightweight and open events at various Pacific Coast Rowing Championships between 1987 and 1990. The native Californian also won numerous California State Championship medals during his collegiate career. He has continued to enjoy competing in various regattas.
Ramirez and his wife, Susan, have a twelve-year-old daughter, Mia, and a ten-year old son, Timothy and a five year old Matthew. They currently reside in northern Baltimore County, MD.