Megan O’Donnell is the events coordinator for Nathan Benderson Park.
A national champion rower, she transferred her passion for rowing into her career. She has two master's degrees from Clemson University, in athletic leadership and in youth development leadership. Her bachelor's degree from Nova Southeastern University is in exercise and sport science.
“Rowing is a sport unlike anything I’ve ever done. The teamwork, adversity and hard work the sport entails is nothing that I ever would’ve imagined it would be,” said O’Donnell.
The decision to pursue the sport of rowing led to an successful career as a student-athlete. After a Sunshine State Conference All-Freshman Team selection in her debut season, O’Donnell and her teammates not only took home the SSC title, but made school history in capturing the 2013 NCAA Division II national championship during her sophomore campaign. The national championship was the first for any rowing program in the SSC and the south region, while the Sharks V4 boat never lost to a Division II institution that entire season with O’Donnell in the boat.
She was named captain of the NSU rowing team in her junior season, an honor she would hold for the remainder of her career. O’Donnell’s leadership paved the way to the Sharks’ sixth SSC Championship in 2014, garnering an All-SSC award and recognition as a Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association All-American in the process, as her squad finished as runner-up at the 2014 NCAA Division II Rowing National Championships.
“The constant battle against yourself and your teammates, the feeling you get in the boat when everyone is driving the boat together and the bond I have created with my teammates will stick with me forever,” added O’Donnell. “I have been grateful for everything the sport and NSU has done for me on an emotional and physical level. It has pushed me to limits I didn’t think were possible for myself and my team. The sport has also taught me to be a morning person, which I still am to this day.”
After graduation, O’Donnell wasn’t ready to give up the sport, prompting her into a graduate assistant position as a rowing coach at Clemson. She earned a double-masters from Clemson in athletic leadership and youth development leadership before coming to NBP.
At the park, she coordinates the rowing teams that train at the park, and manages and operates the logistics of rowing events.
O’Donnell holds the third-fastest 2K in NSU history and three top-five national championship finishes, including a 2013 national title, 2014 runner-up and a fifth-place result in 2015.
“In terms of someone who competed at a national level throughout her time at NSU,
you would be hard pressed to find a more decorated athlete in the sport,” NSU Coach Devin Fay said. l“I only had the opportunity to coach her one season as an assistant in her senior year, but she was someone who really put the team first and she was a pleasure to work with because of her competitive mindset. I just wish I had more time to work with her on the squad, but we are really proud to call her an alumna of our team because of the way she helped shape our team and all of her athletic accomplishments.”
Contact Megan: firstname.lastname@example.org or 941-358-7275, ext. 5808.