Charley Butt was named the Bolles-Parker Head Coach for Harvard Men's Heavyweight Crew on August 13, 2013. Butt begins his 32nd season with the Harvard rowing program in 2016-17, having previously served as the Friends of Harvard Lightweight Rowing Coach for Men’s Lightweight Crew for 28 years.
The ninth coach in Harvard heavyweight crew history, Butt assumed his role after the passing of the legendary Harry Parker, who guided the Crimson for 51 seasons. Butt becomes just the fourth coach to lead the Crimson since 1946.
The Crimson posted a 7-1 finish in 2016, ranking fourth at the Eastern Sprints and fifth at the IRA National Championships. In 2015, Butt led Harvard to a 6-2 dual season, finishing fifth at the Eastern Sprints and IRA National Championships.
The Crimson posted a perfect 8-0 record in 2014 during its dual season, including a sweep of Yale in the 149th Harvard-Yale Regatta. Harvard also won the EARC Sprints for the fifth time in as many years, as the varsity eight took home the inaugural Harry Parker Cup. Butt led the team to a fifth-place finish at the IRA National Championships.
Butt led Harvard’s lightweight program for nearly 30 seasons, steering the Crimson to 15 Eastern crowns and nine national championships, including the 2012 and 2013 IRA National Championships.
Consistently among the nation’s best, Butt’s crews posted winning dual records in 25 of his 28 seasons at the helm.
Harvard also won the Head of the Charles Regatta for the first time since 1975 during the fall of 2012.
In eight of the last 11 years, Butt's lightweight varsity has captured the Goldthwait Cup, emblematic of supremacy among crews from Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Additionally, his varsity and JV crews each captured gold medals at Eastern Sprints and won the Jope Cup (for overall lightweight team supremacy) at the same regatta four times over the last ten years.
The 2011 boat added an Eastern title and runner-up national finish. The 2009 eight went 8-1 in dual racing, finished second at the Sprints and third at the national championships. All five boats medaled in the grand final at Sprints and the Crimson won the Jope Cup.
In 2007, Butt's varsity eight finished as the runner-up at the IRA Championships for the second year in a row. The Crimson missed out on the gold in 2006 by 0.08 seconds.
An outstanding oarsman himself, Butt rowed on the United States lightweight entry in the 1980 world championships, finishing fourth. He was a member of the winning four with coxswain at the 1979 IRA Championship and later that year was selected as an alternate on the national lightweight team.
Butt graduated from Rutgers in 1983. In 1985, he was a silver medalist for the lightweight eight at the world championships in Belgium. In 1986, Butt was part of the Wyfold Cup championship crew at Henley.
As a coach, Butt's experience extends well beyond Harvard, including four stints as a United States Olympic coach, a position he continues to hold. Andrew Campbell, a junior Harvard oarsman and Butt’s pupil, became the first American to win gold as a single sculler at the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.
At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Butt helped Radcliffe alumna, Michelle Guerette '02, earn a silver medal in the women's single sculls. He served as her coach at the 2005 World Championships, where she won bronze medal in the single sculls.
Four years earlier at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Butt and associate heavyweight coach Bill Manning worked with former Crimson rowers Artour Samsonov '02, Henry Nuzum '99 and Greg Ruckman '96 in the pair, double and lightweight double.
At the 2000 Games, he coached the men's lightweight double, a boat that included Greg Ruckman '96. He also coached a pair featuring former Crimson oarsman Adam Holland '94 and a bronze-medalist lightweight single sculler at the 2002 world championships in Seville. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he coached the men's pair, a tandem which included Holland. He coached Holland's pair again in 1997 and '98 when they were third and a very close fourth, respectively, at the world championships.
Butt previously coached the U.S. men's quad that captured the silver at the 1991 Pan Am Games in Havana, was an assistant coach for men's sweep rowing (4+) at the 1993 world championships in the Czech Republic and coached the coxed four to silver at the 1994 world championships. That boat featured three Harvard oarsmen: Holland, Bill Cooper '93 and Chris Swan '92.