Robert Espeseth rowed for the University of Wisconsin, graduating in 1975 with a degree in public administration. He obtained an MBA from the University of Illinois in 1983. Espeseth competed at the 1984 and 1988 Olympics in coxed pairs, willing a bronze medal in 1984. He also competed four times at the World Championships, in 1979, 1983, and 1986-87, winning a gold medal in coxless fours in 1986 and a bronze medal in the same event in 1987. Espeseth later became the rowing coach at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is a member of the University of Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame, the University of Wisconsin Rowing Hall of Fame, and the US Rowing Hall of Fame.