Hall of Fame

Kip McDaniel

Graduation Year


Induction Year


Hall of Fame

Harvard Athletic Achievements

IRA National Champions … Eastern Sprints Champions … Defeated Yale by 49.8 seconds … Completed the season with an unbeaten 7-0 record … ECAC Boathouse Sports Trophy recipients as “the member program of the ECAC that best demonstrates the conference’s core values.”

Hall of Fame

Remembering Harvard Athletics

When I passed through the gates of Harvard Yard in September of 2000, it was by taxi. I didn’t know a soul east of the Colorado river, let alone in Massachusetts.

But once beyond those gates, passed, in large part, due to the privileges of my upbringing, there was another set of gates that no amount of privilege would help clear: Those of Harry Parker and the Harvard University Boat Club.

With Harry, hard work was paramount. Your parents’ wealth, your high school alma mater, your charm or lack thereof: None of it mattered in Newell boathouse.

It was in Newell that, for the first time in my life, I felt completely at home — a master of my fate to a degree I’d never felt before.

Day after day, week after week, month after month, morning hours spent on the erg next to Wayne Pommen and Will Riffelmacher improved stamina; stadiums climbed next to Justin Bosley and Artour Samsanov seared the lungs; basin shots across from Alex Chastain-Chapman and Malcolm Howard seasoned the hands and body.

The competition for seats was brutal — much more brutal than any race against Yale or Princeton. To this day I still awake some nights fearful, not of losing to UW or Wisconsin, but of failing to make the varsity. Friendships were strained when boats were announced. Yet without exception, we knew that the winners of those seat races won fairly, because the man running those races cared only about making the fastest boat possible.

It is easy to remember our unbeaten run as a long, straight road littered with green lights, but that obscures reality.

For each win there were, collectively, thousands of hours of monotonous mornings, early bedtimes (for some of us), and mountains of self-doubt. For each boat made, there were friends of ours facing extreme disappointment. And for every exceptional practice session, there was another where we knew that we hadn’t lived up to Harry’s standards – a fate worse than losing.

But, of course, there were many green lights. I remember the first one well: A win against Northeastern, on a calm Saturday evening in April 2003, by what was then an unbelievable 11-second margin.

After we crossed the line, I looked down at my hands, then up at Jesse Oberst, thinking, “What just happened?”

The answer: Hard work, and nothing more.