Tessa Spillane
Tessa Spillane
  • Title:
    Head Crew Coach; PERA Professor of the Practice
  • Phone:
  • Email:
  • Education:
    B.A., Mount Holyoke College; M.S., Smith College


The 2015-16 and 2010-11 Division III National Coach of the Year, Head Crew Coach and PERA Professor of the Practice Tessa Spillane has been at the helm of the Blue Crew program since the 2005-06 season.

In 2016, she guided the Blue to the first NCAA Division III National Championship in school and program history. She also saw the Blue win the overall points trophy at the New England Rowing Championships for the first time and was awarded with the National Invitational Rowing Championship Coach of the Year and 24th Annual Joy of Sculling Coaching Conference College Coach of the Year honors in 2016.

Spillane was presented with USRowing's Ernestine Bayer 'Woman of the Year' Award on December 3, 2016. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to women's rowing and/or to an outstanding woman in rowing. Spillane is the first NCAA Division III Women's Rowing Coach to earn the award since its inception in 1982.

She has guided Wellesley to ten consecutive appearances at the NCAA Division III Championships, eight NEWMAC Conference titles and has coached 17 All-America honorees. Under Spillane, Wellesley has been ranked in the top-ten nationally for each of the last eleven seasons. The 2008, 2010, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 NEWMAC Coach of the Year, Spillane also guided the Blue to third place finishes at the NCAA Division III National Championships in 2011, 2012, 2015, 2017, and 2019.

Spillane came to Wellesley from Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon where she served as the Head Coach of Men’s and Women’s Rowing from 2001 to 2005. Spillane was named Northwest Collegiate Rowing Conference Women’s Coach of the Year in 2004.

Prior to Lewis and Clark College, Spillane served as the novice coach and varsity assistant coach at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, Massachusetts. While at Mount Holyoke, Spillane founded a community based rowing program and served as the director and founding coach of Rowing Strong, Rowing Together, serving at-risk, urban youth. Spillane also coached master’s women for eleven years as a member of the Row as One coaching staff.

Spillane currently serves as the DII/DIII At-Large Representative to the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association Board of Directors.  She chairs the Membership Committee and the DII/DIII Awards Selection Committee. Spillane has served on the NCAA DIII Rowing Committee, representing the New England Region from 2009-2011. She previously served on the Board of Directors for USRowing, the national governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States.

Spillane is an Assistant Professor of Physical Education at Wellesley and teaches in the required physical education program. Certified as a USRowing Level III coach in 1998, Spillane is also a graduate of the NCAA Women Coaches Academy (Indianapolis, 2007).

Spillane holds a Bachelor's degree from Mount Holyoke College where she was a NEWMAC All-Conference athlete and captain. She also holds a Masters in Exercise and Sport Studies from Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Season NCAA Championships
NEWMAC Championships
NERC Head Of The Charles
Seven Sisters
2005-06 -- 4th -- -- --  3rd
2006-07 -- 2nd -- -- 37th (8+) --
2007-08 -- 3rd (Points Champion)  8th 5th 28th (8+) --
2008-09 -- 2nd 8th 5th 13th (8+) 3rd
2009-10 5th 2nd 5th 5th 21st (8+) 1st
2010-11 3rd 1st 3rd 3rd 4th (8+) 1st
2011-12 3rd 1st 3rd 3rd 4th (8+) 1st
2012-13 4th 1st 5th 5th 5th (8+) 1st
2013-14 4th 1st 5th 4th 8th (8+) 1st
2014-15 3rd 1st 4th 3rd 3rd (8+) 1st
2015-16 1st 1st 11th 1st 4th, 15th (8+/2V8+) 1st
2016-17  3rd  1st  1st  4th 6th, 18th (8+/2V8+) 1st
2017-18 2nd 1st 10th 2nd 14th, 20th (8+/2V8) 1st
2018-19 3rd 2nd 1st 2nd 10th, 17th (8+/2V8+) 1st
2019-20 -- -- -- -- 2nd, 20th (8+/2V8+) N/A
2020-21 -- -- -- -- -- --
2021-22 1st 1st 2nd 1st 2nd, 18th (8+/2V8+) --
Totals 16 Seasons