Hall of Fame
Hall of Fame
Harvard Athletic Achievements
Hall of Fame
Remembering Harvard Athletics
I first offer many thanks to the Harvard Varsity Club. I am deeply honored to have been asked to join the ranks of such an august group of Harvard athletes, many of whom have been, and continue to be, persons I admire greatly.
Rowing for Harvard is a privilege and I am here tonight because of many people. Nevertheless, there are a few persons, in particular, that I shall mention. I thank David Swift, head boys crew coach while I was at Brooks School, for teaching me how to row and race hard. Bill Poirot, my football coach at Brooks, taught me the importance of intense preparation and flawless execution. The tenacious Harvard 2F, JV and 3V heavyweight armada is, in my view, a critical factor in the continued success of Harvard rowing and I thank them for relentlessly challenging the 1F and Varsity boats in every practice, on every stretch of water and on every ergometer test. The Friends of Harvard Rowing underwrote all of our campaigns (which were many), allowing us to race worthy opponents both near and far. I remain grateful for their support of our crews and, especially, for their sponsorship of the best two weeks of the season – Red Top. I am extremely fortunate to have been a member of three outstanding crews (1986 1F, 1987 and 1988 heavyweight Varsities), consisting of a collection of not only great men but also great friends, who maintained high standards and even higher expectations. Your fierce determination allowed us to achieve great success and, therefore, I say to you individually, and collectively, thank you.
Special recognition goes to my two Harvard rowing coaches: Harry Parker and Ted Washburn. My Harvard rowing campaign began under the authoritative rule of Ted, who so definitively crystallized the spirit of CREW ’89 during our freshman year through brutal conditioning and disciplined coaching. Hardly a day goes by, even now, without some of his observations coming to mind – “… you are what you settle for …,” or “… anybody can row the first thousand.” I am grateful for Ted’s effectiveness, as we went undefeated freshman year. For the next three years, I had the opportunity, and privilege, to row for Harry. Harry made things simple: thoughtfully prepare and intensely condition yourself over the course of the year, race very hard and success will follow. The ups and downs experienced along the way preparing for the racing season seemed small prices to pay because we knew that if we performed as well as we had been coached, we would go fast and win races. Harry’s ability to enable us to achieve performance levels beyond our potential was (and I am sure remains) remarkable. I said, when interviewed for the Harvard-Yale Regatta program in 1989, that “…we love rowing for Harvard and have enjoyed the challenges of rowing for Harvard. We take great pride in representing Harvard, and that always helps us when we go to the line.” After 17 years of reflection, I easily substitute Harry for Harvard.
A few highlights from many cherished memories of my Harvard rowing experience include:
• Winning the Sprints in 1986 by over a length of open water only days after Ted told us that we were the slowest freshman boat he had ever coached. I told you Ted was effective!
• Sweeping Yale in the 1986 Harvard-Yale Regatta (first time in many years). Our freshman boat win of 30+ seconds set the tone for the racing that day and the celebration during the season-end banquet that evening.
• Winning the San Diego Crew Classic in 1987 (my first Varsity race and the first of the year) with our wooden training oars, a borrowed boat more suitable for a lightweight crew, and a rating that never exceeded 34 strokes per minute after the first fifteen strokes of the race.
• Winning the National Championships in 1987 after rebuilding the Varsity boat (a.k.a. seat racing) through final exam period and during Red Top. With no more than one-half of a boat length between Brown and us the whole way down the course, we beat them by three feet and set a course record. I will never forget the feeling of strength and confidence we established in the first 500 meters of that race.
• Winning the Sprints in 1988 while sitting in the 5 seat as part of a stern four combination (Rusher at 6, Schuller at 7 and Amory at stroke) that was undefeated freshman year and whenever Harry decided to reassemble us in the Varsity boat.
• Winning the National Championships in 1988 after sweeping Yale at the Harvard-Yale Regatta a week earlier and having the sense to realize that I was fortunate to be a part of something very special – a championship Harvard Varsity heavyweight crew.
Finally, I thank Harvard College for giving me the opportunity to earn a membership in such a storied athletic tradition. I am, and will always be, extremely proud to have been a Harvard Varsity heavyweight oarsman.