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Sauer names Rankovic, Thompson assistant coaches

Courtesy UVA Media Relations

rowingFormer Barry University head coach Boban Rankovic and University of Miami graduate assistant coach Annie Thompson have been named assistant coaches at Virginia, head coach Kevin Sauer announced Tuesday.

Rankovic, who has spent the last four years in his native Serbia, served as head coach at Barry from 2013-16. He earned Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Division II Head Coach of the Year honors in 2015 and 2016 after guiding the Buccaneers to back-to-back NCAA Division II championships. Rankovic, who is known for his international recruiting, has coached numerous Olympians, All-Americans, international competitors and academic honorees.

“We are very fortunate to have someone of Boban’s pedigree as a rower and coach join UVA women’s rowing,” Sauer said. “I have watched him work for a long time and respect immensely what he has accomplished in coaching and recruiting.”

Rankovic, a former Serbian National Team and Olympic rower, also served two seasons as the assistant coach at Barry from 2011-13. He was the interim head coach at the University of Miami from 2008-09 and was the Director of Rowing at Ronald W. Shane Watersports Center in Miami Beach.

In addition to his coaching stint at Miami, Rankovic was the head coach and assistant athletic director at Dowling College in Oakdale, N.Y., from 2001-04. Rankovic’s wife, Margaret (Matia), was a four-year letterwinner with the UVA rowing team from 2002-05.

“I am excited about the opportunity to work with the talented coaches and athletes, and to contribute to this well-respected program,” Rankovic said. “I’m also grateful to be join such a passionate and welcoming Virginia rowing family.”

Thompson served the University of Miami rowing program as a graduate assistant from 2019-21. She coached both varsity and novice crews, primarily assisting the First Varsity Four, Second Varsity Four and Third Varsity Eight.

“Annie stood out in the hiring process as someone who truly wants to be a coach after leaving four years in the corporate world to take the GA position at Miami, Sauer said. “Her infectious personality and willingness to do whatever it takes to contribute to our success are compelling.”

Before arriving in Miami, Thompson spent the previous four years in healthcare sales. Prior to working in sales, Thompson was an assistant varsity coach at Lake Lanier Rowing Club and was a four-year rower at the University of Central Florida.

As a student-athlete at UCF, Thompson was co-captain for the 2014-15 season. She helped the Knights to an American Conference Championship and NCAA Championship appearance in 2015. Thompson was named an NCAA Apple Institute Representative, where she promoted health and wellness in addition to the abetting and preventing of student-athlete substance abuse. She was a two-time Most Inspirational Athlete recipient for UCF rowing.

A native of Atlanta, Ga., Thompson earned her bachelor’s degree in communications from UCF in 2015 and master’s degree in sport administration from the University of Miami in 2021.

“I am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to coach and develop a group of young women and be a part of a program unlike any other, joining Coach Sauer’s staff,” Thompson said. “There is a lot to look forward to in this upcoming season and I’m excited to get after it! Go Hoos!”

“We are looking forward to welcoming Boban’s and Annie’s energy and passion to our team,” Sauer added.

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