I began rowing in the Spring of 2010 during my freshman year at Wellesley College. I was a collegiate basketball player, and the novice rowing coach always came to my games and played the drums. He finally convinced me to try rowing, and I have never looked back!
I am motivated to coach by the amazing young men and women on the team. I have been an athlete my whole life, and athletics have profoundly shaped my identity -- they have taught me how to work together on a team, how to assume and exercise leadership, how to persevere despite disappointment and failure, and how to endure pain and fatigue. They have given me confidence and also humbled me. Being be able to pass on the lessons I have learned over the years, seeing the excitement in an athlete's eyes when they beat their best time, or feeling the energy of a boat working towards a goal together is what keeps me going.
My coaching philosophy is that hard work pays off. There is nothing like sweating every day with your teammates, leaving the water knowing that you worked as hard as you could, and then seeing the results in races.
My rowing started in the Learn-to-Row class at IRC in the late 1980's. I took the class the summer before returning to Purdue as a graduate student. The instructor for the class was a member of Women's Varsity Purdue Crew and she encouraged me to go to the call out once I was on campus. I was able to participate as a grad student because Purdue Crew was a club sport. Two significant events related to Purdue rowing is that I broke an oar - the old wooden handled kind - while practicing starts, and I met my future wife, my coxswain's sister. After Purdue, I switched to sculling and rowed out of the Atlanta Rowing Club for several years with quite a bit of success in the 2X. While I also competed in the 1X, I did not have much success in that event. 😉 I returned to rowing when my oldest child was a novice for IRC as a senior in high school.
What motivates me to coach, especially the high school boys, are the dedication of the rowers and the reward this dedication provides in the form of their continuous improvement. The fun part of coaching boys of this age is they are changing in the form of maturing both physically - with some growing close to a foot - and mentally. The rower that looked more like a coxswain his novice year is stroking the eight four years later and planning on rowing in college! So, my objective in coaching is to challenge each individual rower enough that their dedication is rewarded, but also, and more importantly, my job is to make sure they are having fun and love the sport of rowing, such that, they reach their full potential by coming back to rowing year after year (or season after season for our year-round sport).
My coaching philosophy is "more meters is better", or stated another way, cardio is the foundation that must be present for the power, technical, and mental aspects of rowing to matter. This sounds torturous when put in writing, but there are ways to make it interesting and have the time and meters flow.
I began rowing at South Kent School as a freshman in 1967. After my final at the New England Scholastic Rowing Championships in 1970 I thought I had finished rowing because I was heading to Cornell College in Iowa where the sport was unknown. I soon realized how important rowing was to me and transferred the next year to Washington College in Maryland where several of my high school teammates were on the crew.
After 3 great years at Washington College I returned to Chestertown Maryland and two years after graduating became the men’s head coach. Because coaching was part time, after 5 years I relocated to Philadelphia where I became head coach at Villanova University, which was also part time. Looking for full time employment, I landed at USRowing which was headquartered in Philadelphia. In 1982 I married Deborah, who rowed for Washington College when I was men’s coach. In 1985 USRowing relocated to Indianapolis and we moved west.
I left USRowing in 1987. In 1996 Sue Gath and I became volunteer novice coaches at IRC and in June of that year I was hired as executive director and head coach at IRC. I retired in 2007 and resumed my previous role as volunteer novice coach.
My coaching philosophy is pretty simple: get novices to love the sport as much as I do and take lots of strokes.