Crain Announces Coaching Additions

Athletics Communications
By Athletics Communications
University of Oklahoma

NORMAN – University of Oklahoma head rowing coach Leeanne Crain announced Wednesday the addition of Rebecca George and Krystina Sarff to the coaching staff.

“I’m excited to introduce this ‘dream team’ of talented coaches to the OU program,” Crain said. “Having the chance to work again with two of my former student-athletes is a unique privilege and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can build together.”

Former OU rower Rebecca George returns to Norman after three years as the head varsity coach with Dallas United Crew and will serve as the Sooners’ novice coach.

“It’s great to welcome Rebecca back to OU,” Crain said “As a former walk-on and Big 12 Champion, she understands first-hand the importance of recruiting, developing, and retaining our top out-of-sport athletes and those who are new to the sport.  She has proven herself to be one of the most successful junior coaches in the region and that experience has prepared her well for heading up our novice program.”

In Dallas, George coached 11 athletes to Division I rowing programs, including four to top-10 programs. She also led the crew’s Women’s V8 to regional championships in 2016 and 2018.

Prior to her time in Dallas, George was an accomplished rower at OU from 2009-13 and served as a student-athlete development graduate assistant in 2014 under Crain. As an athlete, the Washington, Okla., native played a crucial part in the team’s first ever Big 12 and C-USA Championships in 2013. In addition to succeeding on the water, George received several academic honors, including spots on the Academic All-Big 12 Second Team and Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll in 2012 and 2013. She also earned the Academics Council Service Award in 2013.

George finished her undergraduate degree in multidisciplinary studies in 2013 and her graduate degree in human relations in 2016 from the University of Oklahoma.

“I was born and bred a Sooner,” George said. “Representing the University of Oklahoma as a student-athlete on the women’s rowing team was a great privilege and invaluable experience.  Having a role in facilitating that experience for other student-athletes alongside an amazing coaching staff is an incredible opportunity. I’m very excited to be back.”

Former OU rower George brings a few years of coaching experience with Dallas United Crew.

Sarff, who will serve as varsity assistant coach and recruiting coordinator, brings almost 10 years of collegiate coaching experience to Oklahoma.

“Krystina is one of the most competitive athletes I’ve ever coached,” Crain said.  “She’s carried that competitive spirit into her coaching and her team’s results demonstrate her talent for getting the most out of the athletes she coaches, while providing a positive student-athlete experience.  She understands what it takes to compete at the highest level and will be a great mentor and role model for our athletes.”

At Sarff’s most recent stop, she spent four years as the University of Michigan’s head novice coach. The Valrico, Fla., native led the Wolverines’ 1N8 to a Big Ten title in 2017. In addition to her coaching role, she played a key role in the recruitment of out-of-sport and rowing athletes.

During the 2013-14 season, Sarff helped the University of San Diego to one of its most successful seasons as an assistant varsity coach. She guided the program to the 2014 West Coast Conference Rowing championship and its first ever NCAA Championships bid.

Prior to her time at USD, Sarff oversaw the University of Florida’s club novice program. She led the team to the No. 1 spot in the ACRA national rankings in April 2013 and led the Gators’ WN8 to first place at the 2013 SIRA Regional Championships and the 2013 SIRA State Championships.

Sarff has a wealth of coaching experience that she brings to OU.

As an athlete at the University of Central Florida, Sarff was a three-time All-American under then-Knights head coach Crain. She rowed with the 1V8, powering UCF to its first appearance at the NCAA Championships.

Sarff earned her PhD in health and human performance from Florida in 2015. She also received her master’s degree in rhetoric and composition in 2009 and her bachelor’s in English, education and Spanish in 2009 from UCF.

"I am thrilled to join the Oklahoma rowing staff and am truly grateful to the university and head coach Leanne Crain for the incredible opportunity to be a part of the Sooner family," Sarff said. "As a former rower under coach Crain, I know the high level of excellence, passion and excitement she brings to the teams and athletes she coaches. I am also really looking forward to working with the other coaches on staff; Assistant coach Guillermo Lemus and I have coached together previously and he brings so much enthusiasm for the sport. I cannot wait to meet the team and start the season."