The head coach for the Asheville Youth Rowing Association is Jack Gartner. A graduate of the Wharton School of Finance, the University of Pennsylvania, Jack rowed for the legendary Joe Burk at Penn for four years from 1960 through 1964, where he was the captain of the men’s heavyweight crew. Upon graduation, he declined the opportunity to train with the Olympic program and went home to work in the family business. Jack started the rowing program at both Mercyhurst Prep School and Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. in the early 1970’s. He also began the Mercyhurst Regatta which is now over 30 years old. He went on to coach high school crews at The Baldwin School, Philadelphia, Pa.; Upper Marion High School, Philadelphia, Pa.; and Lower Marion High School, Philadelphia, Pa.
Coach Zack has a long and extremely impressive career. He rowed in college for the U.S. Coast Guard Academy and went on to earn a Master’s in Business Administration from the Yale School of Management.
Coach Zack was an assistant team leader for the 1996 Olympic rowing team as well as for the Pan-American Games, two World Rowing Championships and the Junior World Rowing Championships. He coached the U.S. Women’s Lightweight Quad to a sixth place finish at the 1997 World Rowing Championships and the U.S. Junior Women’s Quad to a thirteenth place finish at the 2008 Junior World Rowing Champtionships.
Coach Zack coached at the Coast Guard Academy for six years before heading to Sacramento State where he was the head coach for six years. He also coached the UCLA women’s crew and was the head coach for the University of Portland.
Coach Zack was the head coach for the women’s Division I crew at San Diego State for eight years. On three occasions, he was named WIRA Coach of the Year. When San Diego State terminated its women’s crew during covid, Coach Zack moved on to coaching juniors and we are delighted and lucky to add him to our roster of coaches.
Kate rowed in high school at St. Paul’s School in Concord, N.H. She was a recruited rower at Bowdoin College in Maine and was Crew Captain for two years. Her impressive resume includes successes as a rower as well as an educator. Kate is fluent in Spanish and German and is currently under consideration for a Fulbright Scholarship
Martha Williams is an attorney who retired from 23 years of service to the federal judiciary to become AYRA’s full time program director. She also is an assistant coach two to three days per week. Martha took up the sport of rowing at age 50 and was selected in 2008 by Row as One to compete at the Head of the Charles.
Margaret Ervin Bruder helps to coach our middle school kids. Margaret is a professor at Western Carolina University where she teaches comparative literature, film studies and American history.
Board of Directors
Jack Gartner, President and Chief Executive Officer
Martha Williams, Secretary and Program Director/Administrator