Lehigh Names Peter Costas Steven J. ’69 and Karen A. Lee Head Rowing Coach
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – Following a thorough national search, Lehigh has named Peter Costas as the Steven J. ’69 and Karen A. Lee Head Rowing Coach. Costas comes to Lehigh following three seasons as the assistant coach for the women’s lightweight program at Princeton University.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Lehigh Athletics family,” Costas said. “The energy and sense of community have been apparent with everyone I’ve met. I’m looking forward to learning from the talented coaches in the department and getting to work every day in beautiful Bethlehem. I’ve had the privilege of working with some very special people throughout my career. To have the opportunity to take what I’ve experienced and share it with others is truly a dream come true for me.”
Last spring, Costas helped Princeton to the first Women’s Sprints and IRA team championships in program history. He worked directly with the Varsity 2x and 4+ boats and mentored all novice walk-ons, while also being heavily involved in student-athlete recruitment.
In 2021, Costas helped lead the Tigers to the Intercollegiate Rowing Association varsity eight national championship, the program’s first since 2003. The team was named IRA Women’s Lightweight Crew of the Year. Costas led the Varsity 2x to a gold medal at the 2022 Dad Vail Regatta and a bronze medal at the same event in 2021. The 2x also won gold at the 2022 Women’s Sprints and IRA Championships. The Varsity 4+ also won a bronze medal at the 2022 Women’s Sprints.
“We had a strong applicant pool for the head coach position,” said Associate Athletic Director Stacy Shiffert, who led the search process. “Peter stood out due to his understanding of the holistic development of student athletes. Many of the values he shared align with our departmental mission of Learn, Grow, Lead. His past experiences have prepared him to work with our team and to appreciate the athletic and academic balance of our student-athletes.”
Before moving to Princeton, Costas spent a year as the Director of Rowing Operations and Business Development at Row New York. His responsibilities included maintaining equipment across three sites including 45 rowing shells, six road vehicles, three rowing trailers, 25 launches, and 150 ergs. He was also responsible for generating and executing a $250,000 annual capital equipment budget.
From 2013 to 2018, Costas worked at the Brunswick School. He spent two seasons as an assistant teacher and freshman rowing coach before ascending to varsity assistant coach and boatman. Costas collaborated daily with coaches on practice and equipment plans and also created a communication process with video uploading to make rigging recommendations.
As an assistant, Costas also designed data-driven winter training programs for the full team, kept morale high with fun and creative themed competitions, increased regular participation in winter training, met monthly with each athlete to discuss personal goals and feedback. He also coached the Second Varsity 8+ to a program best-tying fourth place finish at NEIRAs. Costas also mentored the freshman team to a pair of undefeated seasons.
During the 2015-16 season, Costas was a volunteer assistant coach at MIT where he led practices for walk-on athletes and the Varsity 4+. In his one season in Cambridge, Mass., MIT’s Varsity 8+ won its first Patriot League medal in four years, while the Varsity 4+ made the Grand Final at the Patriot League Championships.
Costas graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013 with a degree in anthropology. He was a member of the rowing team during his final three years and was a member of the swimming and diving team as a first-year student-athlete.