Peter J. Steenstra

Lecturer in Physical Education


Physical Education/Athletics

Alumni Gymnasium,


Peter Steenstra was named head rowing coach at Bates in March 2009, after stints as assistant and interim head coach. In his first full year as head rowing coach at Bates, Steenstra led the women’s rowing team to second place at the 2009 NCAA Division III Women’s Rowing Championships, the highest team finish by any Bates team in an NCAA championship. The team matched that feat at the 2010 NCAA Championships, repeating as the national runner-up, then did it for the third year in a row in 2011, coming closer than ever to the team’s goal of an NCAA Championship. In the summer of 2009, Steenstra led the men’s rowing team on a trip to compete in the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta in Henley, England, after the men earned a No. 3 final Northeast regional ranking in the spring season.

Steenstra served as Bates’ assistant rowing coach during the 2007-08 academic year, then was named interim coach in July 2008. Steenstra helped coach both the Bobcat men and women to successful years while also acting as the programs’ recruiting coordinator. The women’s team finished fifth at the 2008 NCAA Division III Women’s Rowing Championships in their second straight appearance at nationals, while the men’s varsity eight ranked No. 5 in New England.

Under Steenstra’s leadership, both the men’s and women’s rowing programs have continued to flourish. The women’s first varsity eight finished second out of 32 boats at the Head of the Charles in the fall of 2008, and were ranked No. 3 in the Spring 2009 preseason College Rowing Coaches Association/USRowing preseason rankings.

Steenstra has vast experience in rowing, beginning with his career on the men’s varsity eight at Hobart College, where he graduated in 1996. Steenstra coached the men’s and women’s novice crews at Colby College for three years, then was the head coach of the men’s and women’s crew club at The Ohio State University from 1999 to 2006. Steenstra also coached at Cornell University, first as varsity assistant coach of the heavyweight men and then as the assistant women’s coach, while earning a master of science degree in sports management from Ithaca College.