Brought up in Eyrecourt, Co Galway, he studied engineering and rowed at University College Dublin in the early 1980s, before moving to Britain, where he took up coaching.
Since Sydney, McElroy, who has a masters in Business Administration from Imperial College, has been involved in executive coaching and coach education.
He worked with UK Sport’s elite coach education policy, which brought athletes such as cyclist Chris Boardman and rower Tim Foster into the coaching side of sport.
McElroy hopes to apply many of the lessons he has learned in Britain to helping make Irish rowing successful.
He said: “A big part of the role is to get out of the boom and bust to create something sustainable.
“My aim is Irish athletes on podiums, coached by Irish coaches.
“My main role in Ireland is not to coach.
“If I get dragged into the coaching side of things, in a way I’ve failed.
“You want something that doesn’t depend on the people in it.
“I want Irish coaches to see that there is a career path in coaching in Ireland.
“The British system, so comprehensive that it covers everything from talent identification among non-rowers to conditions for elite athletes.
“There are no holds barred
“[There is] a very high level of investment of time, money and energy.
“You can’t buy gold medals, but you have to pay for them.”
Ireland has never won an Olympic medal in rowing.
It qualified two crews for the Games in Beijing earlier this year, in the fours and lightweight fours.
Both boats finished 10th.