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 twin sons John Patrick and Salvatore Vincenzo.


Michelle Goodwin Michelle Goodwin – (2nd year, University of Tennessee ’14), Assistant Coach, Novice Women’s Coach and Operations

Michelle grew up in Ventnor City, New Jersey where she first picked up an oar at the age of 9 at the Viking Rowing Club. A graduate of Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, N.J. she rowed for 4 years earning various medals and awards. Michelle was highly recruited by many colleges in high school and chose to row for the University of Tennessee. During her rowing career as a Lady Vol at Tennessee, Michelle gained valuable experience, spent time racing in all boats, was a Conference Champion in 2012, and was on the SEC Honor Roll for 4 years. As a student-athlete she was able to manage her time effectively between rowing and school enabling her to graduate on time. In 2014 she earned a B.A. in History and continued her education at Tennessee earning her Masters of Science degree in Secondary Education in May 2015.

During her college breaks Michelle spent time coaching the Holy Spirit High School Boys team under the guidance of Coaching legend Stan Bergman. She also spent time as a volunteer coach for the Viking Rowing Club’s “learn to row” program that teaches middle schoolers how to row. In her spare time she enjoys travelling and spending time at the beach. With a strong passion for rowing and love for coaching, Michelle is excited to join the Laker Navy.


Allison SobiechAllison Sobiech – (3rd year, Jacksonville ’12), Assistant Coach and Assistant Varsity Women’s Coach

Allison began her rowing career at the Westerville Rowing Club in Westerville, OH, where she rowed for four years during high school. In 2008, Allison was recruited to row at Jacksonville University, where she rowed for four years on the varsity women’s team. She was elected team captain her senior year for her dedication and leadership. The highlight of her rowing career at Jacksonville was winning the Women’s Varsity 8+ at the FIRA Championship during her sophomore year. Allison graduated from Jacksonville University in 2012 with a degree in Exercise Science.

Allison then returned to Ohio, serving as an Assistant Coach for the club rowing team at The Ohio State University. There she coached the novice women and helped recruit new members. Following her stint at Ohio State, Allison went to Lafayette College and served as the Assistant Coach for the club rowing team. Her duties there predominantly consisted of coaching the novice men and women, but also included serving as the administrative assistant to the head coach. Allison hopes to pursue a long career in coaching while also pursuing a master’s degree in education where she’ll use her skills and knowledge to help those with special needs enjoy the sport of rowing.


Coastas Ciungan – (2nd 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 rowed for four years. Costas was the president of the club during his senior year in the 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 three years in the summer. In the spring of 2015, Costas coached for Northview High School Rowing to help rebuild their program. While coaching for the Detroit Women’s Rowing Association and Northview High School, Costas became First Aid/ CPR certified and obtained a US Rowing Level II Certification. 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.


Spencer West – (1st year, Grand Valley State ‘16), Assistant Coach, Varsity Women’s Assistant Coach and Facilities

Spencer first began rowing in 8th grade when a friend recommended he try out the sport on the Grand Rapids Rowing Club. Actually beginning his rowing career as a coxswain, Spencer learned at a very young age how to teach people to row, having a large role in coaching new rowers and teammates in learn-to-row programs. He eventually transitioned into a rower and helped lead his high school team as a captain to some of the program’s most successful years.

Determined to continue rowing in college, Spencer attended Grand Valley State University for the renowned success of the rowing program. He was part of a Frosh 8+ that placed 4th at the Dad Vail Regatta. He spent his next three years in the varsity 8+, where he stroked the crew and helped lead them to three top 5 finishes at the Dad Vail Regatta, and two bronzes and a silver at the ACRA National Championship Regatta. While on the rowing team, Spencer was a captain for two years, as well as spending time as the club historian and club secretary. From these experiences, he learned more about the detailed workings of the program, including how the club runs and developed a strong understanding of the GVSU training and coaching methods and expectations.

After rowing for 4 years, Spencer finished his Bachelor’s degree in Wildlife Biology while watching and learning about the team from the perspective of a rowing alum. This, combined with experiences guest coaching Grand Rapids Rowing Club Juniors during the past year, have helped him to learn what makes a strong athlete and an even better team. While coaching, Spencer is pursuing a Master of Science in Wildlife Biology at GVSU. He is very excited to be back with Grand Valley Rowing to continue the tradition of success known as 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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