Lou O’Brien Berl ’84, returned to St. Andrew’s in the summer of 2015, after many years as an educator and coach at both the secondary and collegiate levels. At St. Andrew’s, Lou was a 3-sport captain in field hockey, squash and crew, winner of the Brownlee Crew Award, a senior prefect, and recipient of the Malcolm Ford Award.
Lou began her career in education at Robert Louis Stevenson in Pebble Beach, Calif., where she was the associate director of admission, dorm head and an advisor. After several years and missing her involvement in rowing, she moved to the Boston area to work at Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Mass., where she taught history and personal development, worked in admission, ran a girls dorm and coached three sports: field hockey, squash and crew. After her Noble’s crews swept the New England Championships and won back-to-back national championships, Lou was invited to work with top collegiate rowers at an Olympic development camp at the University of Virginia, and this was her segue into collegiate coaching. She coached several undefeated and championship teams at Ohio State, University of Virginia and brought her alma mater Trinity College to its first-ever NCAA Championship.
After taking several years to raise her three daughters, Lou went back to work at Woodlawn School in Davidson, N.C. At Woodlawn, Lou was the Director of Development and taught courses in fitness, nutrition and personal development. She also began an indoor rowing training program in her garage for high school students hoping to row in college.
Following this, Lou was hired as the head coach of women’s lightweight rowing at Harvard University. In her first year the team was undefeated and won the Eastern Sprints and the IRA National Championship where she was selected as Women’s Lightweight Coach of the Year. She returns to St. Andrew’s, her alma mater and former home, only two years later as an associate director of admission, head girls crew coach, girls dorm head and advisor.
Lou and her husband Chris have three daughters: Charlotte ’17, Wilder ’19 and Allaire. They live in the Moss House overlooking beautiful Noxontown Pond with their dog, Kobi.