Fairfield University Men’s Rowing enhances the college experience of our varsity student-athletes, providing them with opportunities to excel athletically and academically. Friends of Men’s Rowing provides the program with the basic necessities to help them row at the highest levels of collegiate competition.
Greetings Friends of Men’s Rowing,
Since my last write-up, the men have come off their spring season racing schedule which was highlighted by the team’s performance at the Dad Vail Regatta, with the lightweight four placing fourth in the petite final, the varsity four placing third in the petite final, and the JV four placing fourth in the grand final (with the men’s pair third level final cancelled due to inclement weather). Beyond the Dad Vail, the top men’s four went on to compete for the second successive year at the IRA National Championship Regatta — this time in California — with a tremendous step-up in performance, placing fifth in the C final ahead of crews from Penn, Gonzaga, and Drexel. The challenge ahead will be to maintain and enhance the performance of the top boat at the IRA when it returns to the East Coast which will bring more programs into the competition. Over time, the challenge will also be to see if we can get a foothold in the lightweight four competition.
As many of you may know, my Assistant Coach Matt Labine was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma at the turn of the year. He battled hard, but with complications stemming from his treatment, that battle has proven not to be winnable. As I write, Matt is currently stable and comfortable in his local hospital with his healthcare being managed. Between writing these words and the publication of them there is, alas, a chance that the situation has changed. Matt gave three years of his time and dedication to Fairfield Rowing and I know he enjoyed his time with us tremendously. Yale dominates his rowing thoughts with standout memories in particular of the ’79 varsity eight that raced an undefeated regular season (albeit the loss to Harvard in the final ‘boat race’), and the memory of finally besting the mighty Harvard in the one race that matters to both institutions along with his national team exploits in ’81. I have no doubts that Fairfield brought him many happy coaching memories topped by the women’s varsity four at MAACs in 2016, a crew he guided, with experienced stroke seat and coxswain alongside three raw walk-on talents, to glorious gold. I know our thoughts and prayers are with Matt and his family at this time.
With a change in the way entries are handled at the traditional season opener, Head of the Housatonic (lottery), it seems like a good time to try a new event which will guarantee racing for all the boats we want to see competing. Thus, we will return to the Connecticut River in Hadley, MA and compete in the first-ever Hadley Chase, organized by University of Massachusetts, on October 14th. We await the lottery results for the Head of the Charles October 21st. Coach Charles Huthmaker wants to bring the guys up to the Head of the Fish in Saratoga, NY racing October 28th — and with connections that can provide free lodging, who am I to say no? We will also compete at the Fall Metropolitan Regatta November 4th (date to be confirmed).
As ever, we are appealing for substantial help to provide the best experience for our athletes. The trip to the IRA has to be fund-raised, but with the event returning to the East Coast the financial target is not as daunting as the California trip. There is excitement and talk about the possibility of trying to get a crew off to the Henley Royal Regatta in England in July which would bring the fundraising requirement to a whole new level. Looking at the fleet, we are actually in very good shape for eights and fours. I do know Coach Charles would love to upgrade the oars, targeting two sets of eight oars (approx $450 for each oar). The wish list for boats would be to target an upgrade in our small boats, notably pair/double convertibles. While two of our small boats are still in good nick, we have space for six more boats, and they are undoubtedly the ideal vessels for teaching boat feel and technique. The good news is a pair is a lot cheaper ($9,000) than an eight ($40,000). Six pairs are cheaper than one eight and one four and carry the same number of athletes!
Also, please save the date. Our annual crew celebration will once again be held in the Kelley Center on February 24, 2018. I encourage everyone to make the leap and join us. The more people who attend, the more stories are shared, which leads to us knowing more about our history. There is so much unknown history of rowing at Fairfield from 1993 to 2007, and those stories will be forgotten if they are not shared and passed along to the current and future generations of Stag Rowers. Some people who attended this year were blown away by the volume of construction on campus that is changing the landscape. In 2018, most of the big projects will be finished and that much more impressive to come see. What will the next project lined up be and when will it start?
As always, thanks for all your support and Go Stags!
Director of Rowing
Friends of Men’s Rowing has set a fundraising goal of 175 donors and $20,000. Donations made before June 30, 2018 will go towards the program’s current use fund, contributions that immediately benefit our most pressing program necessities and enhancements. By making a gift of any amount, you can provide Men’s Rowing with a competitive edge.
Travel & Recruiting
For more information about Friends of Fairfield Athletics, or giving a gift to Men’s Rowing, please call Rachel Kavanagh at 203-254-4000, ext. 2392 or e-mail email@example.com.
Athletics Development Office
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824