Jr Rowing Coaching Staff


NAC Executive Director: Billy Whitford      


Screen Shot 2014-09-11 at 2.15.32 PMNewport Aquatic Center was founded in 1982 as a non-profit corporation offering the public unique opportunities in the Olympic water sports of rowing, canoeing, kayaking and outrigger canoe competition. Billy has dedicated his life to serving the public, especially kids. He has created programs for Santa Ana’s inner-city kids and outrigger paddling programs for the blind. He has created camps for all ages and their desired water sport. Billy welcomes competitive Olympic athletes from around the world to train out of Newport Aquatic Center. He trains the whole athlete, pushing people to go beyond their fears, become humble winners and gracious losers, and find joy in their sport. He creates opportunities for championships, travel, and success. Billy is described as a mentor, a coach, and a father figure. He exemplifies what he teaches: that it’s not about you, but about what you can do for others. Billy’s work keeps people happy, vibrant, and in touch with the ocean. His influence has changed lives and leads others to where they dream of going.


Director of Jr. Rowing: Pat Rolfes



Pat works on daily management and long-term planning for NAC Jr. Rowing.  As Jr. Rowing’s link between the NAC’s Executive Director, Parents, Members, Staff, Coaches and Athletes; Pat manages NAC personnel on a daily basis to implement the NAC Jr. Rowing Program’s positive vision. Pat is also highly committed to developing long-term resources and growth opportunities for rowing at the NAC.

Pat brings 30 years of business experience along with serving on (2) 501 (c)(3) nonprofit boards in the past.  He is a lifelong resident of Newport Beach.  Pat and his wife, Jennifer, have 3 children: Reid, Emery & Clay.


 Nick D’Antoni

Head Varsity Boy’s Coach

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Nick D’Antoni returns to Newport Aquatic Center after serving as an assistant coach at Princeton University and before that he spent three years as Head Coach of the boys program at Long Beach. Nick started his coaching career with the Newport Aquatic Center juniors in 2006, during which time he led the men’s team to 3 consecutive team points championships (’08, ’09, and ’10) at the Southwest Regionals and back to back national championships in the Men’s Youth Heavyweight 8 (2008 & 2009). In 2008, he coached the Men’s Junior National Team Pair (2-) at the world championships to the highest finish ever by an American crew in that event. In 2009 he also coached the Men’s Youth Lightweight 8 to a national championship, becoming the first coach to win both Men’s Eights events in the same year at the US Rowing Youth National Championships.

Nick began his competitive rowing career in 1996 for the Newport Aquatic Center as a junior, then moved on to pursue the sport at Orange Coast College followed by Rutgers University. Nick has always enjoyed both sweep and sculling disciplines: racing in as many boats as possible as a junior, primarily in 8′s in college, and training in his single in his spare time. Currently, he enjoys rowing and competing as often as time allows.  Nick can be reached at nickdantoni@gmail.com


    AJ Brooks

Assistant Varsity Boy’s Coach

AJ began rowing at the Newport Aquatic Center in 2005 under the leadership of Nick D’ Antoni. During his four year junior rowing career, Aj and his team captured a series of National titles- the first in the programs history. AJ also traveled to the Junior World Championships and placed 4th in the pair and put the Newport Aquatic Center on the map as one of the premiere rowing programs in the Nation.
After graduating from high school, AJ took his talents to the University of Washington where he continued to be successful. At UW, AJ won four Pac 12 Championships, four National Championships, and a Henley Championship. AJ managed to race an undefeated career between 2008-2013.
After graduating from UW, AJ has changed gears. He left the oar in the boat and has taken a seat behind the megaphone where he plans to continue his success back where it all started. AJ is also the Head Varsity coach at the University of California, Irvine.  austinjbrooks13@gmail.com

  Cristina Morcom

Head Varsity Girl’s Coach    

Cristina Morcom joins the Newport Aquatic Center after coaching competitively at Newport Sea Base where she was the head women’s coach for the passed two years. Cristina began her coaching career there, where she led the team to two Southwest Regional Championships and 3 top 10 finishes at the USRowing Youth Nationals in 2016 and 2017. Cristina coached her team to a Crew Classic gold in 2017 and a nearly undefeated season in the women’s lightweight 8+.

Cristina began her competitive rowing career in 2011 for Clemson University as a freshman, then move to the University of San Diego where she completed her degree and rowing career. Cristina won WCC championships in 2014 racing in the Varsity 8+. She also was a part of the fastest varsity 8+ in the history of the USD women’s rowing team. She also rowed internationally for St. Catharines Rowing Club where she competed in the 4- and champ 8+ and medaled in both events in the 2013 Royal Canadian Henley Regatta. Currently Cristina enjoys wake-boarding, snow skiing, and spending time with her husband Ryan Root. Cristina can be reached at cristinamroot@gmail.com


Kristen Oyen

Assistant Varsity Girl’s Coach

Kristen began her rowing career in 2007 at Oakland Strokes rowing club. During her time with Oakland she won gold at regionals in her Novice 8+, JV8+, and her lightweight 8+ making it to nationals where her crew placed 5th in 2010. Kristen later spent some time rowing for Orange Coast College on their varsity crew, and after ending her rowing career with Coast she began coaching CrossFit, where she trained and competed for 5 years. She continues to train in both crossfit and jiu jitsu and looks forward to bringing her knowledge of fitness and rowing to The Newport Aquatic Center junior rowers. Kristen can be reached at kristenoyen@gmail.com


Erich Hanxleden

Assistant Varsity Girl’s Coach

Erich is beginning his first year coaching at The Newport Aquatic Center. He first began rowing at Orange Coast College and then at The University of Wisconsin where he competed on the United States U23 squad at the 2010 U23 World Championships in the 2X.

With the persuasion of his friend, Coach Nick D’Antoni, Erich started coaching competitively for 5 years for Long Beach Jr. Crew. Erich coached multiple Southwest Regional Championships and multiple US Rowing Youth National Championship with winning squads on both men’s and women’s programs.  Erich continues to row and train here at The NAC when he is not coaching he loves to surf and ride horses. He can be reached at ehanxleden@gmail.com


 Garrett Pickard

Head Novice Girl’s Coach   

The NAC is excited to announce that Garrett Pickard will be joining the Junior Rowing girl’s coaching staff. Garrett has a long history with the NAC, starting in junior high school paddling outriggers and then as a junior rower in high school. He experienced great successes as a junior rower including winning the Youth National Championships in the Lightweight 8+, leading his team as Varsity captain to a points trophy at Southwest Regionals, and taking 3rd place at Youth Nationals in the Varsity 4+.

After graduating high school, Garrett attended Orange Coast College where he continued to succeed in his rowing career by winning WIRA championships in both the Freshman 8+ and Varsity 8+. While at OCC, Garrett coached the NAC novice boys from 2010 -2013 and led them to many podium finishes at Southwest Regionals. After OCC Garrett continued his education at University of Washington and rowed with the varsity team the year they swept the IRA National Championship.

After completing his bachelor’s degree at UW and spending a year working in Australia, Garrett is extremely excited to be back at the NAC, a place he considers his “second home.” He says he really wants to have a big impact on the girl’s side of the program this year, not only in results and racing success, but also instilling passion and enthusiasm for the sport.    garrett.pickard@gmail.com


Jordan Teisan

Assistant Novice Girl’s Coach   

Jordan began rowing in 2013 entering his sophomore year at Newport Harbor High School. He was coached by current Boy’s Novice coaches Pat Gleason and Marcel Stiffey during their first season coaching at the NAC. During that season the team as a whole went nearly undefeated all season and won all novice sweep events at Southwest Regionals. From there Jordan made his way to the varsity program, again being coached by current coaches Nick D’Antoni and A.J. Brooks. During his two years under their leadership he raced at Youth Nationals twice in the 4+ during his junior and senior year, placing 9th in 2015 and 7th in 2016. After high school Jordan continued rowing at Orange Coast College where he stroked the Varsity 8+ to a 9th place finish at ACRA National Championships during his freshman year. Jordan is excited to begin coaching while still rowing and hopes to bring a hardworking, positive attitude to this years Novice Girls Team.  jordanteisan@gmail.com


Emma Vujnovich

Assistant Novice Girl’s Coach   

Emma started rowing at NAC her freshman year at Newport Harbor High School 2011. She was coached by Allie Green her Novice year where her team was very successful. Emma then had Marketa Dequine for 2 years on Varsity, and Ben Hise her Senior year. Emma sat two seat in the lightweight eight her Senior year, winning many races including 2015 South West Youth Championships. From there, their lightweight eight trained and competed at Junior Nationals. Post Nationals Emma began her education at the University of Mississippi, where she completed two years of school. Emma now attends Orange Coast College and plans on transferring this next fall. She began Coaching the Learn to Row camps at The NAC this summer, making this her first season ever coaching Junior Rowing.



Pat Gleason

Head Novice Boy’s Coach

Pat Gleason is in his third year at NAC, coming from several successful seasons with the Orange Coast College Crew.  He coached OCC to two ACRA and ECAC National Titles and 17 WIRA Championships over eight seasons.  Pat began his rowing career at Coast and transferred to the University of Washington where he was a National Champion.  As a Husky, Pat competed against the Russian Olympic team that boycotted the 1984 Olympics as well as the British Olympians in the Grand Challenge at Henley.

Pat will draw on his many years of coaching experience as well as his personal athletic accomplishments.  He competed in three World Championships as a Team USA Triathlete and is also a two-time Hawaiian Ironman finisher.  Additionally, Pat has raced marathons in Boston, New York, and several other locations. When he is not coaching this sport that has greatly impacted his life, he can be found running his own successful commercial construction company.  Pat is a licensed General Contractor and has been in business since 1991.
 He currently has his 20-year old son George studying at UCLA  and, his 18-year old son Henry (mountain biking), and his 15-year old son Will rowing at the NAC.  Pat and his wife, Gina just celebrated their 23rd wedding anniversary!


 Marcel Stiffey

Assistant Novice Boy’s Coach

Marcel Stiffey begins his third year coaching the Boy’s Novice Squad. Marcel began his rowing career at Orange Coast College with Pat Gleason as his novice coach. While at Orange Coast College, Marcel won the WIRA championships, and then went on to compete at the IRA National Championships where his crew finished 9th. Post Orange Coast College, Marcel began training with friends and would compete in a club crew called the Little Knights. From there, he was invited to row for the famous Leander Club in the UK. While training at Leander, he was coached by the GB Olympic Coach Mark Banks and Chris Collerton, while training alongside members of the Olympic squad. As an added bonus, he was offered a position to begin coaching at the University of Oxford. While coaching there, he led his lightweights to an early season victory at the head of the Thames regatta. Marcel brings coaching experience from an international perspective as well as having experience coaching at Orange Coast College and with the Long Beach Junior Crew. His enthusiasm and passion for the sport of rowing is what motivates him to give back to the juniors as they reach for their potential. Marcel is happy to help all who come through the program and looks forward to another successful season with your children.  marcel.nacrowing@gmail.com


Mijo Rudelj

Novice Sculling Boy’s and Girl’s Coach

Mijo started rowing back in Croatia for his hometown club when he was 11. During his rowing career in Croatia, he was a member of Junior and U23 Croatian National Team. In 2009 Mijo joined the University of Washington Men’s Crew team. During his collegiate career he was the 5 seat of the IRA and PAC 10 winning freshmen boat, a Sophomore 3 seat of the IRA and PAC 10 JV winning boat, and in his junior and senior years Mijo was the 5 seat of the Varsity IRA and PAC 12 winning boat. Mijo has also won Henley Royal Regatta’s Temple Cup in 2010 as a member of UW’s freshmen eight and placed 2nd at the same regatta but in the Grand Challenge Cup in 2013 as a member of UW’s Varsity eight. During his tenure at UW, Mijo was awarded All Pac 12’s Team Award in 2012 and 2013.  This is Mijo’s 3rd year coaching at the NAC and he loves to see the reward that comes from all the dedication and hard work the boys put into their sport.                           

NAC Hours

Member & Boat Use Hours

FRI: 6AM to 7PM
Last Boats/SUP's on water @ 5PM
All Boats/SUP's DUE BACK @ 6PM

SAT & SUN: 6AM to 6PM
Last Boats/SUP's on water @ 4PM
All Boats/SUP's DUE BACK @ 5PM

STANDARD TIME starting Nov 5th 2017
FRI: 6AM to 7PM
Last Boats/SUP's on water @ 4PM
All Boats/SUP's DUE BACK @ 5PM

SAT & SUN: 6AM to 5PM
Last Boats/SUP's on water @ 3PM
All Boats/SUP's DUE BACK @ 4PM

NAC Holiday Hours

Holiday Hours

  • Open New Year's Eve until 12 noon

  • CLOSED New Year's Day

  • Open the 4th of July till 3pm

  • CLOSED Thanksgiving Day

  • Open Christmas Eve until 12 noon

  • CLOSED Christmas Day

Contact Us

Newport Aquatic Center
1 White Cliffs Dr.

Newport Beach, CA 92660 

Phone: (949) 646-7725

Fax: (949) 646-8398
Any bookkeeping Questions: bookkeeping@newportaquaticcenter.com