Whitman Crew is proud of our talented Men’s and Women’s Coaching Staff who all have a reputation for excellence. Their collective commitment to growing strong rowers, who evolve into focused and principled student athletes is a hallmark of our team’s mission.
Head & Women's Varsity Coach
Head Coach Kirk Shipley enters his second decade both as history teacher and coach at Walt Whitman High School. Originally from Boston, he rowed in high school before competing on the varsity heavyweight team at the University of Pennsylvania.
Spring 2013 marks his 38th season of coaching. In that time, he has worked with Junior Men, Women's Novice and Varsity programs at Woodrow Wilson as well as Whitman High Schools. In addition, he has coached Junior Men and Women's programs in the fall and summer at Thompson Boat Center and Water Street Rowing. He started the Open Men's program at TBC Racing in the summer of 2005 and currently, he is the Junior Women's Coach.
In 2002-03, Coach Shipley became the Girls Varsity Coach. In his eleven years at the helm, the Freshman Women's and 2nd Varsity Eights have each made the final at Stotesbury three times. 2011 and 2012 have been the team's finest years yet, with the Women sweeping the Maryland State Championship, winning the Varsity and JV events in the 4+ and 8+. The team went on to win the Varsity and JV Eights at the WMIRA Championship, taking home the Women's Team Championship. This was the first time since 1999 that the V8 had won. The 2V went on to make the final at the Stotesbury Cup, and the Varsity 8+ qualified for and competed in the USRowing Youth National Championship. Not to be outdone, the 1V were silver medalists in the Women's Junior 8+ at the SRAAs in 2012.
Varsity Men - Head Coach
Dusan Nikolic is the Varsity Men’s Coach for Whitman Crew. Prior to joining our program he was the Program Manager and Head Coach for Hingham Rowing Association outside Boston, Massachusetts. During his tenure there, not only did the size of their program double, but their success on the water increased dramatically. Dusan has over nine years of experience both coaching, and in program management at the collegiate and high school levels. In addition to Hingham, he has coached for respected programs such Pocock Rowing Center in Seattle, Union Boat Club and Lincoln Maritime Center.
Dusan has achieved success in the sport of rowing as both a Coach and a competitor. He coached Men's Quadruple Sculls to a Gold Medal at the US Rowing's Youth National Championships. Dusan was a recruited collegiate athlete and rowed at the University of Washington during all four years of college. During his college career at Washington his team won numerous medals, including gold in the junior varsity eight at the 2004 IRA Championships. At Washington, it is worth noting that he only lost to Cal three times in twenty-one races.
Dusan was born and raised in Serbia, and before moving to America for college, he had the honor of competing on the Serbian National team where he finished ninth in a pair at the 2002 Under 23 World Championships in Genoa, Italy.
Novice Head Coach
A native of Philadelphia, Patrick McCloskey rowed competitively for seven years: four as an oarsmen at Saint Joseph's Preparatory in Philadelphia, PA, and three years at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. During his final year as an undergraduate, McCloskey coached the Novice Men at Gonzaga College High School for Boys where his crews went undefeated locally, experiencing their first and only loss to his alma mater during the semi-finals at the Stotesbury Cup Regatta. To this day, McCloskey suffers a strange mixture of pride and regret.
Officially retiring from competitive rowing with little or no fanfare, McCloskey went on to pursue a Master's Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing at the City College of New York. Having learned to read quickly while standing on crowded subway cars, a thinner, poorer McCloskey eventually left Manhattan and has since coached rowing far and wide. Among others, he has coached at the Lincoln Park Juniors Rowing Club, Bethesda Chevy-Chase High School, Philadelphia University, Woodrow Wilson High School, and the University of Pennsylvania. In his rare moments of free time, McCloskey enjoys long walks, long books, and commiserating about a myriad of social ills with his dog and spiritual mentor, Tito.
Varsity Women - Assistant Coach
Varsity Men - Assistant Coach
Mark Roberts will be assisting with Men's Varsity squad this fall. Mark graduated from Gonzaga College High School in 2014, where he rowed for 4 years. As a rower in the Varsity 8 at Gonzaga, Mark won two Stotesbury Cup championships and one SRAA championship. He went on to row for 4 years at the University of Pennsylvania for the lightweight team, where he was elected captain his senior year. During his tenure at Penn, he achieved 2 bronze medals at the Eastern Sprints in 2017 and 2018, and one silver medal at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships in 2017. He’s excited to bring his knowledge and experience to Whitman Crew!
Novice Men - Coach