Derek Parsons ’87
Derek Parsons took the reigns as head men’s coach of Washington-Lee crew in 1997. As head coach, he has rejuvenated the team both in energy, equipment, financially, all while leading the Washington-Lee boy’s varsity crews to multiple medals at the regional level and the finals of the Stotesbury Cup regatta. From 2004 to 2007, the varsity eight finished in the medals at the Virginia Scholastic Rowing Championships. In addition to his success on the water, he’s mentored elite high school rowers who have gone on win Junior World Championships and to row for schools such as Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Navy, Dartmouth, and Oxford University.
As a rower, Derek rowed at Washington-Lee under the great Charlie Butt. After college, Derek turned his attention back to the river as the head coach for Wakefield HS in 1994. His accolades include medals from the NOVA/VASRA championship, and Stotesbury Cup Regatta. As a member of Potomac Boat Club, he continues to row on the upper Potomac and has organized a Washington-Lee alumni crew for the annual Head of the Potomac. Formerly a teacher at Edison HS. in Fairfax, Derek now teaches photography, computer graphics, and art at W-L. Derek is the father of two great kids. He is a graduate of Radford College.
Robert Shaw ’01
Robert got his coaching start at Washington-Lee in 2009. A Washington-Lee alum, Robert rowed for the Generals from 1998-2001 under coach Derek Parsons.
After graduating from Washington-Lee, Robert attended the University of Iowa, where he rowed all four years for the Hawkeyes. His previous coaching experience includes two seasons as Head Coach of the Hawkeyes and two seasons at Yorktown High School, where he guided the Boy’s Novice 4 to a gold medal at the 2008 Ted Phoenix Regatta. When not at the river Rob and his wife Sarah chase after hiow two sons. Rob is a graduate of the University of Iowa.
Wilson DeSousa ’96
Head Freshman/Novice Coach
Coach Wilson has been coaching at W-L since 1998 on both the men’s and women’s side, including a year as the Women’s Head Coach in 2001. His rowing career began at Washington-Lee where he was a member of the varsity eight under Coaches Tom Chisnell, and Derek Parsons. As a coach, Wilson has led his crews to national success at both the varsity and freshman levels at W-L, Bethesda Chevy-Chase HS, and Yorktown HS. In 2007 and 2008, while coaching the freshman women at Yorktown, he led the Patriots to consecutive medals at the Ted Phoenix Regatta. Wilson works in the medical information field, as well as massage therapy and physical training fields. He’s an avid car buff, especially VW’s, and follows professional soccer with a passion. Wilson is a graduate of Marymount University.
Bob Sheppard ’73
Bob graduated from W-L in 1973 where he lettered in wrestling and rowing for Charlie Butt as a member of the heavyweight crew. He is a Naval Academy grad and was a member of the Naval Academy crew for four years where he competed as both a heavyweight and lightweight oarsman capable of rowing both sides with equal skill. Bob retired as a Captain in the Navy (6 years active, 20 years reserves) in 2003 and from his civilian IT career in 2016. Today, when he’s not doing whatever is needed for W-L Crew, you’ll find him performing (guitar and vocals) at local venues.
Strength & Conditioning Coach
Tim joined W-L crew as a parent in 2015 and as a coach in 2018. His two children, James, W-L Class of 2019, and Audrey, W-L Class of 2023, are both on the crew team. As a graduate student he rowed sculls and sweeps at Tulane University. In his hometown of Pensacola, Florida he serves as a board member for the Pensacola Rowing Club. Over the past 30 plus years he has been a coach at the junior, high school, and college level in track, baseball, basketball, swimming, and football. Tim is a graduate of the University of Mississippi where he was a varsity track and field athlete. He served over 20 years in the US Army as both enlisted and in the officer corp. Splitting time between Pensacola and Arlington he spends free time sailing, playing golf, and being at the beach.
Master Coach, Chief Engineer, Jack-of-All-Trades
James Owen ’62
A Washington-Lee Crew alumni class of 1962, Jim rowed as a lightweight for Charlie during his years on the team. Now retired from his job as a master elevator engineer, Jim starts yet another season as a coach with W-L, generously helping wherever he is needed. Jim has coached both the girls and boys since he started coaching with the team in 2004, as well as acting as the chief repair technician and number one inventor. Jim attended the University of Louisiana in Mechanical Engineering. Powered by Dunkin.
Dane Underwood has been rowing and coaching in the northern Virginia area since 1998. He started his coaching career at Oakton High School in 2004, joining in the second year of the program. There, he worked to build the program from a small start-up team of just 35 members to a competitive and respected team of 110+ athletes. Serving as the head and varsity women’s coach for the last 8 years, he led the women’s team to great success, including 8 medal finishes at the VA State championships in varsity events. His athletes have also found individual success, with two All-Met awards, and many girls going on to collegiate rowing at Stanford, UVA, Clemson, Princeton among many others. His top athlete even went on to row for the US Women’s U23 national team, and in the Oxford-Cambridge boat race (go light blues!).
As a rower, Dane first rowed for West Potomac HS but didn’t really fall in love with the sport until rowing at George Mason University under the tutelage of local rowing legend Bob Spousta. Dane continues to row competitively with friends as GMU Alumni, and for various local programs, including the Occoquan and Potomac boat clubs.
Off the water, Dane is a Systems Engineer for the MITRE Corporation in McLean and enjoys tinkering with technology, writing code, and cycling.
Women’s Varsity Assistant Coach
Ken Quail began coaching at Fordham University in 2001. His Freshman Lightweights were undefeated in open season winning City, State and A-10 Conference Championships. Ken next coached at Bethesda-Chevy Chase HS where his Varsity Lightweights were undefeated in open season winning the City Championships in the Light 4+ and the Light 8+, as well as the regional championship in the Light 8+. Ken came to W-L to coach for Derek Parsons, taking the Lightweight 8+ to a State Championship and a Stotebury Gold, breaking the 19-year reign of St Joe’s Prep. Ken left W-L for 8-years in the US Army, where he became an Army Ranger, led a Tank Platoon in Korea, and commanded a Cavalry Troop in Iraq. In 2014 Ken coached the Mclean Lightweight boys to a State Championship before moving on to work with the Masters Women at Alexandria Community Rowing, winning Gold medals in 3 boats at the 2015 US Rowing Masters Nationals and a Silver at the Head of the Charles.
Women’s Freshmen/Novice Coach
Breana K Downey
Breana is a Ph.D. student in the Interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience at Georgetown University, where she researches bilingualism’s effects on the brains of children and adults.
Women’s Novice Assistant
A northern Virginia native, Linda did not start rowing until after college. Her sister talked her into joining the novice program at PBC so they would be able to row together. Linda has taught for Arlington Public Schools for 26 years and is currently a Reading teacher at Swanson Middle School. She has coached at the middle School and high school level. She has coached field hockey, basketball, softball, track and is in her first year as a crew coach. She played field hockey for Virginia Tech, and as an avid basketball fan, she has also coached many nieces and nephews league and select basketball teams.
In high school, Casey rowed for Oakton and NVRC and was a team captain for Oakton’s 2013-14 season, where she helped lead the team to nationals. In 2013, her boat placed 3rd place at VASRA states, and she was the 2014 team scholar-athlete. Casey graduated from William & Mary in 2018, and since then has been working at Oceana, an ocean conservation nonprofit. When she’s not at the boathouse, she loves making artwork, spending time outdoors and exploring DC with friends.
The Wind Beneath our Wings
Trailer Driver extraordinaire
Adrian, an Arlington County Public Schools employee, expertly pulls our boats from Oakridge to Saratoga, and everywhere in between. Who needs Allstate when you have Adrian behind the wheel?! Adrian is always ready to jump in and help whenever the need arises, and the W-L team and staff could not be more grateful.