There is little doubt that Laura Buckalew, now in her first year as the Crimson Tide's graduate assistant coach, knows something about rowing. After all, in addition to rowing for the University of Charleston in West Virginia, Buckalew also grew up around the sport thanks to her father, Jim, who worked for the United States Rowing Association and is the coach at Charleston.
"Growing up, my dad was always putting on regattas, coaching them and working as a referee," Buckalew said.
The Charleston, W.Va., native graduated from UC in 2010 with a double major in business administration and sports administration.
Buckalew is putting both her rowing background and her degrees in administration to work in her role with the Tide. She is charged with the day-to-day details of keeping the program running smoothly, taking care of travel arrangements, paper work and the like while also lending a hand with coaching as well.
In addition to rowing for Charleston, she also was a four-year letter winner on the Golden Eagles volleyball team. As a sophomore she helped lead UC to the West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Volleyball tournament title. As a junior she was fourth in the conference in blocks. As a senior she served as the volleyball team's co-captain.
She also served as co-captain of the rowing team at UC as a senior. She rowed as part of the Novice 4+ as a rookie and then was part of the Varsity 8+ in 2008 and 2010. She sat out the 2009 season after surgery to correct a volleyball injury.
Buckalew graduated from Capital High School where she played volleyball and basketball.
At Alabama, in addition to her duties with the rowing team, she is also pursuing a master's degree in sports management.