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 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.
Tammy Burroughs discovered rowing in her late 40’s after taking an indoor rowing class at the Riviera Club. She rows both sweep and sculling boats at IRC and has competed nationally with the masters rowers. Both of her children were active at IRC in high school in sweep, sculling, and coxing. Tammy is a graduate of Purdue University and recently retired from the Federal Aviation Administration, where she was the Air Traffic Manager at the Indianapolis Air Route Traffic Control Center. Tammy is married to Mike Burroughs, who also coaches at IRC.
I grew up playing tennis and through 2009 was an active masters tennis player, playing with the Riviera Club here in Indianapolis. In March of that year a “home improvement accident” resulted in an injury to my foot that meant my tennis career was over. I needed to find a sport that was zero-impact and in the fall of 2009 found myself in a Rowbics class tought by Shawn Dresser, one of the IRC masters rowers. She convinced me to give rowing on the water a shot. In April of 2010 I showed up at a practice and was tossed into a boat… the rest is history.
Over the last 10 years I have had the wonderful opportunity to hold numerous roles with IRC. I have been on the board where I was co-chair of the events committee, was interim director between the tenures of Jen Floyd and Andrew Purdie but most gratifying was the time I spent as head coach and boathouse manager from 2014 to 2017. During this time I had the wonderful opportunity to coach both of my children. My current “real” job fortunately allows me to continue coaching as a volunteer assistant. I enjoy working on skills development with all of the teams.
As a rower I am proficient on both sides of a sweep boat, but my passion truly lies in the balance and elegance of sculling. The double scull is my favorite boat to both row and coach. As a coach, I am known for my focus on technically proficient rowing. I have a big book of drills, enjoy doing video review of sessions with the rowers and have been know to go so far as to equip a boat with WiFi and analyze every stroke in a practice with power meters and accelerometers. I have completed the level 2 coaches certification class and continually look to what other coaches are doing to make me a better coach. If you find yourself at a regatta where I am coaching, at the end of the day you will find me directing the trailer loading process with coach Joe.
My first introduction to rowing came in the form of two simple questions from IRC novice women’s coach, Eric Stoll: “Are you loud? Do you like telling people what to do?” (questions my younger brother promptly answered ‘yes’ to for me). And the rest is history, folks! I spent 4 years at IRC, coxing for all four Junior teams as well as coxing the Masters on occasion. From there, I went on to cox for both the Purdue men and women for 3 years. At the same time, I completed the training required to be a licensed USRowing referee and have been refereeing collegiate and junior regattas for the past 3 years.
I have spent roughly the last 7 years as a coach in some form or another for varying lengths of time and with different age groups. Coaching my younger brother in 2016 made me realize how much I enjoy coaching middle school and high school athletes. The amount of energy that this age group can bring to the tasks in front of them is truly mind-blowing and it’s so much fun to see the moment when what you’ve been explaining to them finally clicks (I like to call it the “lightbulb moment”). Knowing how much of an impact you have on kids’ lives is also one of the things that I immensely enjoy about coaching.
I have several mantras that many of the kids I have coached in the past would be able to recite to you, but I think the most important thing for novices to remember is this: “No question is a dumb question when you are learning something new.”