Justin Knust – Coaching Director
Justin has been involved in rowing since finding the sport as a freshmen in high school in 1998 . He rowed for an Orlando club the Orlando Area Rowing Society (OARS) throughout high school and went on to row at the University of Florida. While in Gainesville, the novice coaching position with the UF’s team opened up. Thus began Justin’s career as a rowing coach.
After coaching the novice rowers at UF for a year, Justin accepted the position as the Head Varsity men’s coach for the Gators. During his time in Gainesville, Justin reestablished Florida Crew as one of the more competitive and consistent teams in the southeast. After leaving UF, Justin served as the Head Men’s Coach at OARS in Windermere for six years. During his tenure at OARS, his rowers competed in the USRowing National Championship every year. His training plans have led his crews to place in the top 20 in the country on multiple occasions. In addition, Justin’s rowers have gone on to compete and medal at the World Indoor Rowing Championship (Crash-Bs).
Justin is currently the Head Coach of the Lake County Rowing Association in Clermont, FL.
Justin is a USRowing Level III certified coach.
Justin is CPR and First Aid certified.
Brandon Rich – Adult Team Coach
Brandon Rich has been rowing since 1999 and lives in Mount Dora with his wife Amanda. He started rowing during his freshman year at Winter Park High School. He raced at the national level over the course of the next four years. His race experience includes finishing 3rd at US Rowing Scholastic Nationals in the single scull, 2nd in the single at the Head of the Chattahoochee twice, and winning the FSRA State Championships in several categories. After two years of racing only in sweep boats, Brandon started racing in the single scull. He rowed with the high school team on weekdays and rowed with a group of world class scullers on weekend mornings at Rollins College. After graduating from Clemson University, Brandon and Amanda moved to Mount Dora and both joined the Orlando Rowing Club. Brandon has continued to row and race for various boats and teams over the past years. He is now the Art Department Manager at Hallmark Nameplate in Mount Dora, a printing company that makes plastic and metal labels, as well as printed electronics. Amanda works at First Green Bank in Mount Dora in Deposit Operations.
Alyssa Connell – Middle School Coach
Alyssa began her involvement with crew during her freshman year at Olympia High School and rowed for four years with OARS (Orlando Area Rowing Society). She participated and medaled in racing events such as Orlando City Championships, FSRA Sculling Championships, Southeast Youth Championships, and the US Rowing Youth National Championships. During her senior year, Alyssa rowed in a lightweight double earning second place in the State and third place in the Southeastern Region. She was one of four OARS women that year who attended Nationals and was able to place 17th overall. Since then Alyssa has obtained her Associate in Arts Degree from Valencia and graduated with a Bachelor’s in Health Sciences-Pre Clinical from the University of Central Florida. Alyssa worked at OARS as a middle school assistant coach for three years and was honored that she could help start the middle school program here at Lake County in the summer of 2016.
Matt Outlaw – Adult & Youth Coach
Matt first found rowing as a sophomore at Melbourne High School. After rowing for three years, Matt continued his rowing at Jacksonville University. While at JU, Matt traveled around the country racing at regional, conference, and national championships. Matt completed his studies on Kinesiology and Exercise Science at the University of Central Florida. Days after moving to Clermont with his wife, he began coaching at Lake County Rowing.
Debbie is a twenty year employee of United Technologies, a fortune fifty corporation headquartered in Hartford, Ct. Debbie lives on Lake Crescent with her husband Mike and two teenage children. She holds a BS degree in Journalism from the University of Florida and a Masters in Business from Purdue University. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Creative Writing from the University of Tampa.
Debbie is a founding member of Lake County Rowing Association. She holds a US rowing Level 2 Coaching Certification and served as a Master’s novice coach for the first two years of the clubs existence. She has participated as a competitor in races nationwide including three times at the Head of the Charles. Most notably Debbie won a silver medal in the Womens’ Quadruple Sculls Event at Masters Nationals in 2007 and won her age category rowing a single scull at the Head of the Hooch, the second largest regatta in the country.
Wendy grew up in North Carolina and has studied photography at the Art Institute of Atlanta. She lived in New York City and Colorado before moving to Clermont, Florida in 2010. Wendy has worked in various Customer Service, Marketing and Sales positions. While in Colorado Wendy owned and operated a successful portable storage business for 3 years. Wendy takes great pride in the communities in which she has lived. She has spent many hours volunteering for the Leukemia Lymphoma Society, ALS Foundation, American Heart Association, Colorado Humane Society and has been Mrs. Santa for our Military Troops and families through her involvement with the American Military Family organization. Living in Florida has prompted Wendy to learn the sport of rowing. She has progressed to the Orlando Rowing Club Woman’s Regional Team and has received a Bronze Medal at the 2nd largest rowing event in the U.S. “Head of the Hooch” in Chattanooga, TN.
Wendy wants to see the sport of rowing and all the benefits it offers come to Lake County Florida. There are few areas in the United States that can offer the facilities we have right here in Lake County and she is looking forward to being an ambassador as we welcome athletes to our programs at Lake County Rowing Association.
Karen is one of the founding members and coaches for Lake County Rowing Association. She sits on the LCRA Board of Directors and is also the Rowing Association’s Youth Director. She is also an active member of the South Lake Chamber of Commerce, Kiwanis and Real Life Church. Karen spent ten years in early childhood education then started her own business, “Dorr’s Plumbing”, with her husband over 10 years ago. Karen and her husband Brad have two grown children and have lived in Clermont for the past 12 years.
Our youth have always been Karen’s passion and for two years now she has been coaching and coordinating the Youth Program. She is very excited to see our youth team grow and planting the passion of rowing in a new generation.
Karen holds a US Rowing Level 1 Coaching Certification and has participated as a competitor in races nationwide. Most notably Karen won a silver medal in the Women’s’ Quadruple Sculls Event at Masters Nationals in 2007. She has earned over 300 medals from races around the country in her 20 years of Masters Competition.
Alison Strange is a native Central Floridian. She was born in Winter Park; raised in Kissimmee, Orlando, and Oviedo; educated at the University of Florida and Stetson University; and has resided in Clermont since graduating from law school. Since her youth, she has been fascinated by sports and the teamwork associated with them. A member of the Oviedo High School Hall of Fame, she earned fourteen (14) varsity letters while in high school but her emphasis was on softball, weightlifting, and track & field. By the time she graduated high school, she had earned All-State honors six (6) times (including a weightlifting state championship). After high school, she attended the University of Florida where she studied Advertising and threw the shot put and javelin for the varsity Track & Field team; but softball ultimately called her to Stetson University where she matriculated with a degree in Sports Administration after serving as a catcher and right-fielder for the Hatter varsity softball team.
It is very important when communicating with Attorney Strange that a client clearly articulate his or her goals. For her, the question she wants answered is “What?” Attorney Strange works long and hard and accepts nothing less than superior performance. For her, satisfaction in any endeavor is achieved by successful completion of the job or project: she believes that life is more about the result (i.e., the goal) than the journey. As the manager of the Firm, she insists that every file be touched, reviewed, examined, and moved forward on a regular basis. Her goals: efficiency and effectiveness . . . if the project is not moving forward both efficiently and effectively toward the goal, she will re-evaluate and try a new approach.
Attorney Strange’s art is being able to passionately and zealously look out for another person’s interests. Whether it comes from years behind the plate or it is simply the way she was built, she finds the most reward in successfully closing a client’s file (and, as she will tell you, hopefully opening three new ones while she is at it). For her, representing clients is a highly personal relationship and one she performs with great enthusiasm.
MJ Coleman – President
Richard Walter – Vice President
Erin Gerlach – Secretary