Harvard Announces Women’s Heavyweight Crew Coaching Endowment

Harvard Announces Women’s Heavyweight Crew Coaching Endowment

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – The John D. Nichols '53 Family Director of Athletics, Bob Scalise, and Harvard University are happy to announce the endowment of Harvard Athletics' 24th head coach position, the Friends of Radcliffe Rowing Head Coach for Women's Heavyweight Crew.

Made possible through a group of dedicated and loyal rowing alumnae, friends and parents, the endowment ensures a commitment to the continued success of the Radcliffe rowing program. This is the second Harvard coaching position endowed in the last six months and the 28th overall.

"I am thrilled to announce our newest endowment, the Friends of Radcliffe Rowing Head Coach for Women's Heavyweight Crew," said Scalise. "Radcliffe rowing has a long, proud tradition at Harvard and I am pleased this storied program is positioned to continue pursuing excellence in the years ahead."

The oldest women's rowing program in the Ivy League, Radcliffe rowing began in the early 70's and was recognized as a varsity program in 1972. Since its inception, the program has pursued prominence on the national and international stage, including representing the United States in Moscow at the Eastern European Championships in 1973. Eleven Radcliffe student-athletes have competed for the United States in the Olympic Games since 1988.

Nationally, Radcliffe heavyweight rowing has won nine Eastern Sprints titles and one Ivy league Championship title since its inception in 2012. Radcliffe is among a handful of programs selected to compete in nearly all of the NCAA Championships since they were established in 1997. The Black and White saw its greatest NCAA success in 2003 when the varsity eight won the gold medal, as well as the overall team championship. Subsequently, the varsity eight won a bronze medal in 2005.

For the past 34 years, Liz O'Leary has guided the Radcliffe heavyweight program to unprecedented success, including winning marks in 13 of the last 16 seasons, top-finishes at Sprints and numerous appearances at national championships. O'Leary has led Radcliffe rowing to the NCAA Championships in four of the past seven years and 18 times during the 22-year history of the event. Additionally, 14 of O'Leary's student-athletes have competed on U.S. World Championship and Olympic teams.

"It is an incredible honor to have this endowment bestowed upon our program," said O'Leary. "I am deeply grateful for the generosity of our rowing community and I know this gift will ensure that Radcliffe rowing continues to grow and flourish in the years to come."

Following in the recent footsteps of Harvard women's lacrosse and basketball, this endowment is the third alumnae-driven effort to recognize a head coach in Harvard Athletics history. The Radcliffe Rowing Head Coach for Women's Heavyweight Crew endowment was made possible through the generosity of the following donors: Holly Fling Austin AB'01 and Roger Austin; Kathryn Fauss Patton Beal AB'94; Jill R. Carlson AB'12 and John H. Carlson P'12; Mollie Durkin Fadule AB'05; Leigh R. Fraser AB'93, JD'96 and Piotr S. Sobieszczyk AB'93; Julia H. Gluck AB'05 and Family; Catherine Han AB'91; Katrinka B. Hrdy AB'00 and David V. Joffe AB'00; Alexandra Kay Kuschner AB'10; Victoire Keane Lang AB'88, MBA'94 and Kenneth W. Lang; Nancy Herman Loucks AB'78 and Michael K. Loucks AB'77; Susan T. Mahan AB'91, MPH'07 and Steven Kirincich; Karen Weltchek Mueller AB'88 and Gary G. Mueller AB'88, MBA'94; Mindy Sick Munger AB'94, EdM'01, EdD'12 and Reuben Munger; Leigh Richart AB'04 and Greg Richart; Gretchen Weingarth Salyer AB'05; Susannah Thayer AB'95; Kate Tomford AB'99 and David Grossman AB'99; Tucker Family; Radcliffe 2003 NCAA Championship Team; Anonymous.

An event to celebrate this endowment is planned for Head of the Charles weekend (October 19-20, 2019); further details forthcoming.