Michael O'Connor has been Harvard's head coach of coed and women's sailing and the university's director of sailing since 1997.
Since taking over the Crimson program, Harvard has won national team race championships in 2002 and 2003 as well as the 2003 national coed championship and the women's national title in 2005. His teams won five straight Leonard M. Fowle Trophies for the top-team performance in the six ICSA North American Championships from 2001-2005. It is the second-longest Fowle Trophy run in history, trailing only Navy's streak of seven Fowle Trophies from 1977 to 1983.
Individually, O'Connor has guided Harvard sailors and crew members to four national sailor of the years distinctions, a quartet of singlehanded championships and 57 All-America honors.
Since the inception of the ICSA All-Academic Team in 2006, O'Connor's student-athletes have been honored 17 times with the award that recognized those who have distinguished themselves in national and intersectional competition, while maintaining the highest levels of academic standards. Additionally, eight members of his teams have earned Academic All-Ivy League honors.
Regionally, Harvard has also won nine New England titles under O'Connor's tutelage, including five singlehanded championships, earned three sailor of year honors and collected 47 accolades.
In 2018, O'Connor coached Kevin Coakley into the ICSA Hall of Fame.
O'Connor has been affiliated with the Crimson sailing program since 1989, when he joined the staff as a part-time assistant to former head coach Mike Horn. He was promoted to full-time assistant coach and manager of the Harvard Sailing Center in 1990 before assuming his current position in 1997.
O'Connor has a long and distinguished record of commitment with the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association, and he currently represents that organization on the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association All-America Committee. In 2013, he was presented with the ICSA's Graham Hall Award for Outstanding Service as a Sailing Professional and inducted into the ICSA Hall of Fame.
His experience in compeitive sailing dates to his high school days, when he played a key role in the introduction of the sport at Boston College High School. O'Connor went on to spend four years as a member of Boston University's sailing team before he graduated from that institution in 1989.
O'Connor has taught sailing at a number of clubs throughout Massachusetts, including the Wild Harbor Yacht Club, Chappaquoit Yacht Club, Falmouth Yacht Club, and Nantucket Yacht Club. He is currently the director of the Falmouth Sailing School.
O'Connor's family includes his wife, Jane, and their daughters, Julia and Caitlin. The O'Connors live in Foxboro, Mass.