Lehigh appoints Peter Costas Steven J. ’69 and Karen A. Lee as head rowing coaches
BETHLEHEM, Pa. – After a thorough national search, Lehigh has named Peter Costas as head coach to Steven J. ’69 and Karen A. Lee. Costas comes to Lehigh after three seasons as an assistant coach for the women’s lightweight program at Princeton University.
“I’m thrilled to be a part of the Lehigh Athletics family,” said Costas. “The energy and sense of community was evident in everyone I met. I look forward to learning from the talented trainers in the department and working every day in beautiful Bethlehem. I’ve had the privilege of working with some very special people throughout my career. Having the opportunity to share what I experienced with others is truly a dream come true for me.”
Last spring, Costas helped Princeton win the first women’s sprint and IRA team championships in program history. He worked directly with the Varsity 2x and 4+ boats and mentored all the inexperienced walk-ons whilst also being heavily involved in student and athlete recruitment.
In 2021, Costas helped lead the Tigers to the Intercollegiate Rowing Association 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 in the 2022 women’s sprints and IRA championships. The Varsity 4+ also won a bronze medal in the 2022 women’s sprints.
“We had a strong pool of applicants for the head coaching position,” said Associate Athletic Director Stacy Schiffert, who led the search process. “Peter distinguished himself through his understanding of the holistic development of student athletes. Many of the values he shared align with our department mission of Learn, Grow, Lead. His past experiences have prepared him to work with our team and appreciate the sport and academic balance of our student-athletes.”
Prior to moving to Princeton, Costas spent a year at Row New York as Director of Rowing Operations and Business Development. His duties included maintaining equipment at three locations, including 45 rowboats, six road vehicles, three rowing trailers, 25 launches and 150 ergs. He was also responsible for generating and executing a $250,000 annual capital expenditure budget.
From 2013 to 2018 Costas worked at the Brunswick School. He spent two seasons as an assistant teacher and freshman rowing coach before rising to become the university’s assistant coach and boatswain. Costas worked daily with trainers on exercise and equipment plans and also created a communication process with video upload to provide rigging recommendations.
As an assistant, Costas also designed data-driven winter training programs for the entire team, kept morale high with fun and creative themed competitions, increased winter training attendance, and met monthly with each athlete to discuss personal goals and feedback. He also coached the Second Varsity 8+ to a fourth-best finish program at NEIRAs. Costas also oversaw the freshman team through two undefeated seasons.
During the 2015-16 season, Costas was a volunteer assistant coach at MIT, where he led drills for walk-on athletes and the varsity 4+. In his only season in Cambridge, Massachusetts, MIT’s varsity 8+ won its first Patriot League medal in four years, while the varsity 4+ advanced to the Grand Final at the Patriot League Championships.
Costas graduated from the University of Virginia with a degree in anthropology in 2013. He was a member of the rowing team for his final three years and a member of the swim and diving team as a student-athlete in his first year.