The Bruins have hired a new head coach, but the position won’t be entirely new to him.
Previn Chandraratna served as UCLA women’s rowing’s interim head coach for the past year, ever since Amy Fuller Kearney stepped down in July. On Friday, UCLA announced it had officially hired Chandraratna as the program’s full-time head coach.
Chandraratna is heading into his eighth season in Westwood, spending the first three as an assistant coach and next three as an associate head coach before ascending to the interim head coach role.
“This is a tremendous opportunity, and I am extremely grateful to continue leading our rowing program,” Chandraratna said in a statement. “I would like to thank (Athletic Director) Martin Jarmond, as well as associate athletic director Derek Doolittle, for their trust in me and our coaching staff. This university is such a special place, and our rowing program has limitless potential. I look forward to working with our student-athletes to continue driving this program forward.”
Chandraratna graduated from Columbia University with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in international relations, and he was an assistant on the Lions’ heavyweight rowing coaching staff from 1999 to 2003. Chandraratna then took a decade away from the collegiate ranks to help run Row New York and Pelham Community Rowing in a scholastic coaching role.
Staying on the East Coast, Chandraratna made his way to MIT and spent three years as an assistant coach for the school’s women’s team. Even once he had taken a job with the Bruins, he returned to Boston to earn a second master’s degree in sports leadership from Northeastern University in 2017.
Chandraratna was on the staff at UCLA for six seasons before he took over for Fuller Kearney when she stepped down to focus on her breast cancer treatment. Fuller Kearney had been the head coach since 2001 and oversaw the team’s transition from club to varsity.
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In his first season replacing Fuller Kearney, Chandraratna helped UCLA open the year with a win over USC and eventually earn a national ranking as high as No. 17.
“Previn stepped up for our program as the interim head coach,” Jarmond said in a statement. “I am excited for the future of UCLA rowing and grateful for Previn’s leadership and commitment to the student-athlete experience.”
Retaining Chandraratna marks the third head coach Jarmond has hired in his two years since coming to Westwood. Jarmond also brought in Stanford assistant Margueritte Aozasa to coach the women’s soccer team in December and Cal assistant Janelle McDonald to coach the gymnastics team in May.
Jarmond still has to fill the men’s golf vacancy with longtime coach Derek Freeman retiring when the Bruins’ season ended in May.
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PHOTO COURTESY OF DON LIEBIG/UCLA ATHLETICS