Head Coach Calvin CuppHead Rowing Coach

Coach Calvin Cupp is in his twenty-first year heading up Shocker Rowing. His tenure at the helm of Shocker Rowing is the longest of any coach in the history of the program.


Since the inception of the American Collegiate Rowing Association (ACRA) national championship in 2008, he has coached twenty-three All American, fifty-seven All Regional and fifty-seven All Academic selected athletes. 

Like all programs, our 2020 season was cut short, but the fall and our lone spring regatta were successful. Our Men's Varsity 8+ medaled in every regatta. Additionally, we collected numerous medals in a variety of events from sculling, sweep, open and novice. Another important first was the establishment of a recreational rowing program which is available to the entire university community. Now anyone can come out and experience rowing as a fun lifetime fitness activity. 

During the 2019 season, the Men's 4x brought home the silver from the ACRA national championship. That fall saw the opening of the long-awaited new Shocker Rowing River Vista Boathouse on the Big River. This was the culmination of years of work with the support and partnership of many individuals and agencies. Summertime saw the opening of Boats and Bikes, our retail/rental venture. Managed by Shocker Rowing and employing ten students to handle operations. Activating our downtown river, enriching our community and being a revenue generator all are attributes of this unique venture. 

The 2018 season saw the Women's Varsity 8+ again finish in the top 10 nationally, along with the Men's 2x and Womens 2x at ACRA's. 

2017 was another strong year for the women throughout the season, capped with a top 10 national finish at ACRA's. Our men's 1x highlighted the men with a silver at ACRA's. 

At SIRA's in 2016 he decided to enter the Women's Varsity 8+ in to the open event where they raced head on with DI and DII NCAA programs, taking 2nd in the B final and saw his women's 2x take bronze in their event. At ACRA's he saw four of his seven crews make the grand finals- Women 2x silver, Men 1x, Women Novice 8+ and Women Varsity 8+. Two other crews advanced to the B finals and one to the D final.

Then in 2015 not only did the Women's Varsity 8+ win their event at SIRA'S to retain their crown but the women's novice 4+ took 4th in the grand finals. At ACRA's the men's varsity 4+ took 8th and the women's varsity 8+ took 7th in their grand finals.

During the 2013-2014 year the Shockers competed at the San Diego Crew Classic after over a 13-year hiatus. Calvin led his team to take 4th in the women's varsity grand final and 7th in the men's varsity 8+ grand final. At SIRA's the women's varsity 8+ held onto their crown with another open water victory while the men moved into the B final. At ACRA's the men's novice 4+ took 6th while the women's varsity 8+ took 5th in their grand finals.

2012-13 saw a repeat at SIRA for Gold in the Women's 8+, as well as another top 10 finish at ACRA. The women 1x also rowed into the grands at ACRA.

2012 marked the first year in almost twenty that the Shockers traveled to Oak Ridge, Tennessee to compete at SIRA's with the men's varsity 8+. Then at the 2012 ACRA National Championships a silver medal was achieved by the women's 1x.

During the 2010-11 season, Shocker Varsity won seven of eight events entered and this included a sweep of both the men and women’s varsity 8’s & 4’s at the Wichita Frostbite. 2011 saw a repeat gold medal at the ACRA National Championships in the Men’s 2x.

In 2010, he directed crews from both varsity squads to the medal platform at the ACRA National Championships.

The 2008-09 season saw Shocker crews make four grand finals at the ACRA National Championships and the 2007-08 ACRA National Championships saw the Varsity Women’s 8+ win the petite finals and the Women’s Novice 4+ finish 4th.

Under Coach Cupp’s leadership, statewide competitions have seen the Shockers take home the last nine Sunflower State Team Championships. Regionally, they won both Team Points' Trophies at the Upper Mid-West Championships in 2011, while the men also won in 2010, 2009 and 2007. Other regional medals of note include a 2008 Men’s Varsity 4+ gold and Men’s Varsity 8+ bronze at the John Hunter Regatta. Also, the team was the back to back team points winner in 2005 & 2006 at the Great Plains Rowing Championships.

Coach Cupp has traveled near and far with the team. The team traveled to the Knecht Cup in New Jersey 2003-2005. The crews did well at this East Coast regatta with top finishes each year, including second in the Women’s Novice 4+ in 2003, third in the Men’s Novice 4+ in 2004 & 2005 and second in the Men’s D1C 8+ in 2005.

The success of the program at these high levels under Coach Cupp goes back to the team’s first trip with him to the Dad Vail Championship in 2001 which saw the Shockers finish 4th in the grand finals of the Women’s Varsity Lightweight 4+.

Despite all of the medals, Coach Cupp teaches that the true success of each season is the growth of the individual student-athlete. “Being a student-athlete at the intercollegiate level is tough,” Coach Cupp says, “I work hard each year to be sure that each student athlete has a great environment in which to develop.”

“Rowing is a great platform for our student-athletes to learn much about themselves. In the shell on race day they have to rely on not just themselves but on their teammates. I cannot be there on the race course to motivate and direct them. It really does provide a great opportunity for them to develop life skills which they will use after college,” says Coach Cupp.

Before coming to WSU, Coach Cupp was at Northwestern State University (NSU) in Natchitoches, LA where he served as the head coach from 1993 to 1999. While there, he was director of the Marathon Rowing Championships and oversaw all spring training teams for the city of Natchitoches. In 1993 he received the Mayor’s award for his work in developing rowing for the city.

In Louisiana, he coached numerous Louisiana State Rowing Championship crews. In 1994 he coached NSU to a gold medal at the SIRA regatta in the WN4+.

He and his wife of twenty-nine years, Christi, live in Wichita, Kansas. They have two adult children, Ellen and Nolan who also live in Wichita. The family is also a member of Emanuel Baptist Church of Wichita.