Yaz Farooq recently wrapped up her ninth season as head coach of the Stanford Women's Rowing program.
Farooq was inducted into the National Rowing Foundation Hall of Fame on May 31, 2014 for her athletic achievements as a coxswain over an eight-year span on the U.S. National Team and collegiately at Wisconsin. As a coach she was named the CRCA National Coach of the Year in 2009, the CRCA West Region Coach of the Year in 2014 and Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2014.
Under Farooq's direction, the Cardinal earned its first National Championship in program history in 2009, its first Pac-12 Championship in 2014 and has established itself as a force on the national stage. The team has placed in the top two in five of the past seven years at the Pac-12 Championships, where the four boats have six titles and 13 medals over the seven-year span. At the NCAAs, the top three boats have captured two national titles and eight medals since 2008.
Under Farooq, 13 Stanford rowers have gone on to compete at the Jr. & Sr. Worlds and Under 23 World Championships, as well as two Olympians - winning 20 total medals, 10 golds. Also, 14 Stanford rowers have been named CRCA 1st-Team All-Americans. In addition, the Stanford Women's rowing program was honored by winning both the Pac-10 & NCAA Sportsmanship Awards in 2010.
Academics have also been important under Farooq with 103 All-Pac-12 Academic team selections in nine years and 68 Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Scholar Athlete Awards. There have been at least 10 All-Pac-12 academic team selections in eight consecutive seasons. There have been four Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year winners with Erika Roddy receiving it in 2011, Marielle Higgins in 2012, Ali Fauci in 2014 and Naomi Cornman in 2015.
In 2015, Farooq guided a young Stanford squad to a sixth place finish at the NCAA Championships and fourth place finish at the Pac-12 Championships. The varsity eight made the Grand Final at NCAA’s, placing fifth overall, and also earned silver at the conference championships. Three individuals received All-Pac-12 honors in Alix Chrumka, Naomi Cornman and Katie Toothman. Cornman was also tabbed the Pac-12 Scholar Athlete of the Year.
The 2014 season was a historic one for the Stanford women’s rowers. The Cardinal claimed its first ever Pac-12 Championship by winning three gold medals on Lake Natoma. Farooq was named the Pac-12 Coach of the Year and CRCA West Region Coach of the Year. Stanford finished fourth at the NCAA Championships with all three boats making the Grand Final. The varsity four took second place, its highest finish in program history. The Cardinal produced both the Pac-12 Athlete of the Year in Anna Dawson and Scholar Athlete of the Year in Ali Fauci. Dawson, Daphne Martschenko and Kristy Wentzel were all named to the CRCA Pocock All-America teams.
In 2013, Lindsay Meyer and Christina Bax garnered All-America honors as Stanford placed 10th at the NCAA Championships. At the PAC-12 Championships, the Cardinal posted a fifth place finish with Meyer selected to the All-PAC-12 group.
In 2012, the Olympics in London took center stage with former Stanford rower Elle Logan chosen for the United States roster. The Olympic selection capped off a year that saw two rowers, Daphne Martschenko and Kristy Wentzel, named to the CRCA All-America team. Martschenko would go on to make the U.S. Under-23 Women’s Rowing team in the summer as well, and Farooq would coach the U.S. Under-23 women’s eight to a gold medal in Trakai, Lithuania. The Cardinal finished ninth at the NCAA Championships and fourth at the PAC-12 Championships.
The 2011 season saw Stanford finished in a tie for first place in the NCAA team standings with Brown University, but lost the tiebreaker after Brown edged the Cardinal by .05 in the I Eight Final. Stanford's II Eight won its first-ever NCAA Title in 2011 and the Four took sixth. The II Eight also captured gold for the second straight year at the 2011 Pac-10 Championships, while the I Eight won silver and the team placed second overall.
In 2010, the II Eight captured its first PAC-10 Title in program history while the I Eight won silver to pace the team to a second place finish. The II Eight went on to finish second in the nation, and the team made it to the podium with fourth place in the overall standings.
The 2009 season was a historic year of firsts for Stanford women's rowing, as Farooq guided the Cardinal to the first team national title in school history, while the I Eight also claimed national gold at the NCAA Championships and set a record for the event with its winning time of 6:11.95, a record which still stands. In addition, Farooq was named Division I National Coach of the Year by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA).
At the NCAA Championships, all three of Stanford's boats reached their respective finals. Behind the I Eight's gold medal-winning run, in which it held off Virginia by .37, as well as a bronze medal finish by the II Eight, Stanford would win the national title with 88 total points, three points ahead of California and Yale. The Cardinal swept the Big Row against Bay Area rival California for the first time in program history. At the Pac-10 Championships, Stanford set a Lake Natoma course record in the final, crossing the line with a time of 6:18.6.
In 2008, Farooq won Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors after guiding the Stanford women to a second-place overall finish at the Pac-10 Championships, the team's best mark since 1992, when the Cardinal finished second. The I Eight would also capture a silver medal at the Pac-10's, earning an at-large berth to the NCAA Championships. At the NCAA's, the Cardinal recorded the crew's best-ever national finish by taking second, coming within nine-tenths of a second of the national title-winning boat from Yale.
In 2006-07, Farooq's first season on The Farm, the Cardinal I Eight made it to the podium at the Pac-10 Championships with a silver medal finish. The boat also received an invitation to the NCAA's in Oak Ridge, Tenn., where they finished tenth. Farooq left a successful career in sales and marketing to coach at Stanford. She is world renowned for her work as a coxswain coach and was a premier coxswain during her competitive career for Team USA. She has also served as rowing analyst for NBC's telecasts of the 2000 Sydney Olympics, the 2004 Athens Olympics, and the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the 2012 London Olympics.
"As a member of the U.S. Team I rowed with several Stanford oarswomen and appreciated their commitment to being the best on the water and in life," Farooq said. "Stanford scholar-athletes are winners who make a difference in the world. Many life lessons are learned in the boat and on the racecourse. I am honored to play a part in the development of these very special women."
Farooq coxed the United States National Women's Eight from 1989 to 1996 and competed with Stanford rower Diana Olson at the 1992 Games in Barcelona. Four years later Yaz was selected by her peers to be Captain of the women's rowing team at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics. A three-time winner of silver medals at the World Championships in 1990, 1993 and 1994, Yaz's career highlight came in 1995 when her eight captured the gold medal at the Worlds in Tampere, Finland. It marked the first time ever the United States women had won. Yaz started coxing at the University of Wisconsin in 1984. She was voted Captain and MVP her senior year.