Coaches


John M. Bancheri John M. Bancheri – (14th year, Charleston ’83), Head Men’s Rowing Coach/Director of Rowing for Men and Women

Coach John Bancheri is a passionate leader who began his rowing career in 1973 at the Atlantic City High School in southern New Jersey. Before coming to Grand Valley State University, he built successful programs at the University of Charleston, Wichita State University, and Marietta College. His crews made regular visits to the medals podium at the Dad Vail Regatta, and in 2002 he was selected as Dad Vail Coach of the Year. .In 2013, Bancheri coached a women’s crew to a Dad Vail Gold Medal in the Women’s Varity Eight (current course record of 6:30). He is widely regarded for his deep knowledge of the sport.

Bancheri, the Head Rowing Coach for Men and Women and Varsity Men’s Coach, has, working tirelessly since his coming in 2005, grown the program immensely in size, support, equipment, facilities, notoriety, and – not least of all – accomplishments. The GVSU Club is a 6-time consecutive ACRA Team Points National Champion (2008-2013), and, under Bancheri’s direction, the women have twice won gold, and men twice won bronze at the Head of the Charles Regatta. 2013 ACRA Champions in the Women’s Varsity Eight and selected by his peers as the 2013 ACRA Women’s Coach of the Year. The Varsity Men’s Eight also coached by Bancheri earned a bronze medal. 2014 Silver medalists in the Men’s Varsity Eight at the ACRA in 5:45. GVSU’s fastest men’s eight in the history of the program.

In 2015, Coach Bancheri was selected as The Joy of Sculling (National Peer Group) Collegiate Coach of the Year. An honor Coach Bancheri has strived for over 30 years. In 2015, the Men’s top Four made it to the 3rd round of the Prince Albert Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta (the fastest race of the event vs. eventual champion, Edinburgh University).

Further than the vast athletic success he has produced in the sport, Bancheri is known both by his mentors and alumni as part of a special chain of influence. Just as John remains connected to those (such as his high school coach Bob Garbutt) who made an impact on him, so too do many of Bancheri’s athletes and coaches continue sharing their lives with him even after their days of competition have ended.

From former coach and businessman Mark McIlduff; M.S.’09:

“Coach B has an unmatched passion for the sport of rowing, period. His loyalty and commitment to the student-athlete is always on display. Coach has personally impacted and influenced the lives of Olympic athletes, world champions, national champions, and collegiate champions. Coach has continually promoted an environment of education and achievement. In the four years I assisted him and since, Coach has mentored countless members of his crews to national recognition by way of athletic and academic achievements. He is without question a commander of his crews, a preacher of technique, and a believer in the adage that mileage makes champions. This should tell you all that you need to know about Coach, he is relentless in his determination to reach the podium. I am grateful for my opportunity to learn and grow under Coach Bancheri’s tutelage, and owe a great deal of any successes to his motivation, education, and friendship. I am not only optimistic about his abilities on the next level, but am positive he would make an immediate impact no matter the challenge.”

He considers these relationships to be among the richest of rewards for a coach. Coach Bancheri is US Rowing Level III certified and Power Boating certified. Coach Bancheri lives in Allendale with his wife Christine, twin sons John Patrick and Salvatore Vincenzo, and his stepson Eric.


Costas Ciungan – (3rd year, Grand Valley State ‘15), Assistant Men’s Coach and Novice Men’s Coach

Costas started rowing his 8th grade year when he attended a learn to row program at Wyandotte Boat Club, MI. In High School, Costas rowed for the Grosse Ile Rowing Club under Head Coach Scott Sitek and won a Canadian School Boy medal, a state championship, and the Mid-West scholastic Rowing Championships. Wishing to continue with the sport, he joined Grand Valley’s Rowing Team his freshman year and was a 4-year rower for GVSU; serving as team president during his Senior year (Spring of 2014). Costas would later graduate with honors from GVSU in the Winter of 2015 with a double major in Legal Studies and Criminal Justice and with a minor in information technology.

During his athletic career with Grand Valley Rowing Club, Costas had many notable accomplishments including a silver at the SIRA Championship Regatta, a silver at the MACRA Championship Regatta, and a silver at the 74th annual Dad Vail Championship Regatta. Other notable accomplishments in his rowing career were 3rd at the Head of the Charles, Gold at the Lubbers Cup Regatta, fourth at the 75th annual Dad Vail Regatta, and third at the ACRA National Championship Regatta. Costas also traveled to Henley-on-Thames, U.K. to compete at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta. Lastly, Costas rowed three seat in the Varsity 8+ that won the San Diego Crew Classic American Specialty Cal Cup Championship.

Costas started coaching during his junior year with Grand Valley for the Allendale Youth Rowing Camp under then Coach Hugh McKeegan. In addition, Costas has coached for the Detroit Women’s Rowing Association for the past four years in the summer and helped at Northview Rowing for the spring 2015 season. This summer, he has also helped with the youth and learn to row programs at Wyandotte Boat Club. Costas is First Aid/ CPR certified and obtained a US Rowing Level II Certification while at GVSU. Furthermore, Costas is Power Boating certified. Costas is an understudy to Head Coach John Bancheri at Grand Valley and Coach Scott Sitek at Grosse Ile. At Grand Valley, Costas hopes to continue his education and earn a Master’s degree in Public Administration, while continuing his journey in the sport of rowing.


Dan Martin Dan Martin – (1st year, University of Virginia ’09), Varsity Assistant Coach and Novice Women’s Coach

Dan started his rowing career as a junior at Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia. As a senior, his second varsity four went undefeated in the regular season and won a state championship, the school’s first. Bitten by the rowing bug, he walked on to the team at the University of Virginia. While in Charlottesville, he was a part of gold-medalist crews at the GW Invitational, SIRA championships, and ECAC National Invitational Rowing Championships.

After his collegiate career was up, Dan spent a fifth year at UVA to finish a master’s degree in Secondary Science Education, aiming to become a high school chemistry teacher. Upon graduation, he started coaching learn-to-row classes with Sandy Run Scullers on the Occoquan Reservoir, and racing the single in fall head races. The last six years, he’s taught and coached at Fairfax High School, working with the Varsity Women’s squad throughout. Over that time, the team almost tripled in size, and both men’s and women’s squads found unprecedented success at the state and national level; twelve of the team’s sixteen total medals at the Virginia State Championships were won in that period. The last three years, during which Dan also served as the team’s head coach, saw the team successfully transition from racing primarily 4’s to focusing on the 8+.

Dan is excited to work with Coach Bancheri and the entire staff to assist the Laker Navy’s student-athletes and continue their long tradition of success.


Kate CastonguayKate Castonguay – (1st year, Mercyhurst ’16), Varsity Assistant Coach

Kate first picked up an oar at National Learn to Row Day on Mercer Lake in 2006. What began as a recreational summer hobby quickly developed into a full-fledged passion in 2010, when she became one of the founding members of Northville High School’s Rowing Club in Northville, Michigan. She has participated in summer programs at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor Rowing Club, Mercer Lake, and the Craftsbury Outdoor Center. In 2012, Kate was elected captain of her high school team, and she committed to row for Mercyhurst University. By the end of her freshmen year, she earned a seat in the Women’s four that competed at the NCAA championship. Her work ethic landed her a seat at every NCAA Championship of her collegiate career, culminating her junior year, where she sat bow-seat in the eight that finished second in the country. She has also earned silver medals at both the Dad Vail Regatta and the Head of the Charles.

Kate graduated from Mercyhurst University in December of 2016 with a degree in French Education. She returned to the East Coast and served as the Head Master’s Learn to Row Coach at Swan Creek Rowing Club on the Delaware River. Kate aims to continue her education by pursuing a Master of Education degree in School Counseling, while continuing to share her love of rowing. She is excited to join the Laker Navy.


Mike Stoll, M.Ed – Advisor

Mike rowed at Grand Valley for four years and graduated in May 2010 with a degree in Political Science. He also completed a Master of Education in the College Student Affairs Leadership program in April 2012 at GVSU. Mike works in the Kirkhof College of Nursing Office of Student Services as an Academic Advisor. During his four years as a rower at Grand Valley, Mike served as the team president for his junior and senior years as well as the men’s team co-captain his senior year. As a sophomore, Mike won a Dad Vail gold medal in the Men’s Second Varsity 8+ and as a junior, won a bronze medal at the Dad Vail in the same event. During his senior year, the Varsity 8+ took 2nd place at the San Diego Crew Classic and he also rowed in the Temple Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta. As an alumnus, he has rowed in the Alumni 8+ at the Head of the Charles Regatta from 2010-2013 recording the highest ever finish for the alumni boat with the 6th fastest time.


Dan Vainner, M.Ed -Advisor

In Fall 2004, Dan was able to race as a freshman in the V8+ with the remaining oarsmen from the successful 2004 V8+. After his novice year he was in the Varsity 8+ every race for his next 3 years on the team. His sophomore year was highlighted by a run to the finals in the 4+ at Vails. Junior year he raced in the 4- that won the Petite finals at IRA. In Fall of his senior year his V2-, V4+, and V8+ swept the Championship races at Head of the Hooch, the V8+ medaled at the Head of the Charles, and the V8+ upset a Harvard boat in a duel race. That spring, the V8+ peaked at 19th in the CMax national rankings. Dan was Treasurer of the team as a sophomore and President as a junior and senior. After college Dan served in Ghana as a Peace Corps volunteer and then was the Registrar at Jackson College. He is currently Associate Registrar at GVSU and has his Master’s in Higher Education Administration from MSU. He is also Secretary for the Grand Valley Rowing Alumni Association.







The Grand Valley State University Rowing Club challenges its student-athletes to reach the highest level to which they aspire both academically and athletically, while continuing to build and sustain a nationally competitive intercollegiate rowing program.

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