George Jenkins enters his sixth season as an assistant coach at Sacramento State in 2016-17 after spending two years as the assistant and recruiting coordinator at Kansas.
Jenkins, who has 30 years of coaching experience, will lead the Hornet novice squad again this year while assisting with the varsity squad and all aspects of recruiting. That includes overseeing the team’s on-campus recruiting. In addition, Jenkins is the team videographer and oversees the squad’s social media efforts.
Jenkins and head coach Mike Connors were instrumental in Sacramento State rowing being admitted into the American Athletic Conference for the 2014-15 season, and prior to that, Conference USA in 2013-14. Prior to the Conference USA entry, the Hornets had never been eligible for an automatic qualifier into the NCAA Championship.
Previously, Sacramento State has been a member of the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association (WIRA) since gaining intercollegiate status in 1995, and the WIRA Championships has doubled as the program’s conference championship event. However, WIRA is not recognized by the NCAA as a conference, and did not garner any kind of automatic qualifier into NCAA postseason competition.
In the program’s inaugural year in the American Athletic Conference in 2015, the Hornets responded by finishing third out of the eight teams at the conference championship. The Hornets beat out crews from Temple, SMU, San Diego State, Connecticut and Virginia. In fact, Sacramento State brought home medals in all four grand finals it competed, which included winning gold in the varsity four, and bronze in the varsity eight, second varsity eight and second varsity four. In 2016, the Hornets finished fourth, placing ahead of San Diego State, UConn and SMU.
During its lone season in Conference USA, the Hornets placed sixth out of 11 teams at the Conference USA Championship, finishing ahead Kansas, Old Dominion, San Diego State, West Virginia and Alabama.
Academically, over the last three years, the Hornets have seen a combined 17 student-athletes receive the National Scholar-Athlete Award, an honor handed out by the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association for academic excellence. That includes a school-record seven Hornet rowers receiving the honor in 2016.
In 2013-14, Jenkins coached the novice eight to a 9-4 dual-meet record, a 56-second victory over rival UC Davis and 18 of his novice rowers were named to Conference USA’s Commissioner’s Honor Roll for academic excellence. In 2012-13, he helped bring in 28 freshmen, the largest recruiting class in school history, and that year’s novice eight took home gold at the WIRA Championships.
That recruiting class also paid dividends in 2013-14 when all three varsity boats (V8, JV8, V4) placed in the top two of their respective grand finals at the WIRA Championships. In addition, this past year, the Hornets placed sixth out of 11 teams at the Conference USA Championships, finishing ahead Kansas, Old Dominion, San Diego State, West Virginia and Alabama.
In 2011-12, Jenkins worked with both the varsity and novice squads. He helped coach the team’s varsity eight, second varsity eight, novice eight and varsity four to medals at the WIRA Championships for the second time in school history. In addition, five Sacramento State rowers received all-conference accolades, three of which were first team selections.
On his résumé includes five consecutive NCAA Championship appearances while he was head coach at USC, and a national championship-winning varsity four at the 1998 NCAA Championship.
A native of Palo Alto, Calif., Jenkins was an assistant at Kansas (2009-11) and UC Davis (2008-09), while also serving as head coach of the Austin Rowing Club (2002-08) and USC (1993-02). Prior to USC, he had other collegiate stops as the varsity men’s coach at UC Davis (1991-93) and varsity women’s coach at UC Davis (1990-91).
He was also a U.S. Nations Cup Team coach in Milan, Italy, in the summer of 1997, and a U.S. Junior National Team coach in Oslo, Norway, during the summer of 1993.
Other coaching stops included serving as the executive director of the Newport Aquatic Center from 1987-90, and a coach at the U.S. Olympic Festival in the summers of 1989 and 1990.
At Kansas, he produced the largest recruiting class in the 16-year history of the program and coached the varsity four to a second-place finish at the Big 12 Conference Championships. In his assistant coaching stint at UC Davis, he coached the Aggies’ second novice eight to a gold medal at the 2009 WIRA Championships.
Jenkins assumed the head coaching duties at USC in September of 1993 and brought it to national championship caliber by 1998. The Trojans would go on to qualify for five consecutive NCAA Championships under Jenkins’ guidance while also winning the 1999 Head of the Charles in Massachusetts.
Jenkins graduated from UC Davis in 1986 with a bachelor’s degree in molecular genetics.