Hall of Fame

John M. Brock

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

The 1974 heavyweight boat went undefeated and won the national championships at the University of Washington and the University of Wisconsin. In the process, its members began to develop a character picked up by the national media and unofficially titled “The Rude and Smooth.” The 1975 boat, driven by its illustrious senior class, two juniors, and a sophomore, continued to blow away its competition. It finished undefeated and again won the national title, while its “Rude and Smooth” reputation continued to flourish and helped the unorthodox crew land a story in the pages of Sports Illustrated.

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

As a sophomore in 1975 and rowing with the best, I was humbled by their aura of invincibility. But, also because I was a sophomore, I presumed to be an equal of the giants with whom I associated. They took care of my arrogance. The rowing was glorious. I remember specific days and even specific places with the sun shining, the water gurgling past the boat, and the bow puddles stretching way back behind Bruce. Five miles full power at 26 spm, 2000 meters in 6 minutes at 30 spm, effortlessly hitting 42 spm on starts…. This was fun! But – and this may be hard to believe – this extroverted, exhibitionist group had a deeper purpose than enjoyment or the acquisition of fame. Ironically, it was not until a loss in my senior year that I shared this insight.

On the Monday after the loss, in which we had been badly treated by conditions, preparation, and wakes on the course, we discussed our misfortune and plotted revenge against the drivers of those launches. Harry met us in the weight room rather than on the dock, which would have been normal, and gave us one of those now famous, simple talks that you recall forever.

“The challenge,” he said, “is not just to win when you have the advantage. The challenge is to accept the circumstances you are given and still win.”

This crew, and especially the rowing class of 1975, is famous and notorious for many things. But it is for the sheer joy they took in what they did and their willingness to take on The Challenge that they richly deserve the fame that is bestowed upon them today. I applaud them, and I thank them for giving me the opportunity to join them today.