In the 35 years that he has been at the helm of the University Of Victoria women’s rowing program, Rick Crawley has seen and accomplished it all.
Coming to the Vikes not long after a successful rowing career that included stints with both 1976 and 1980 Canadian Olympic teams, Crawley has brought a passion for rowing that is evident in the legacy that he will leave behind.
“Rick’s contributions to the University of Victoria and our Vikes rowing program have been immense, throughout his 35 year coaching career, Coach Crawley consistently recruited top student-athletes to campus and then supported and held them to the highest standards,” said Clint Hamilton, Director, Vikes Athletics and Recreation. “We are indebted to Coach Crawley for his remarkable level of service to UVic and for the role he played in furthering our institutional reputation of excellence.”
Through his hard work and dedication to Canadian rowing, Crawley changed not only the direction of the Vikes program, but also university rowing in Canada.
The Canadian University Rowing Championships, Brown Cup, Elk Lake Spring Regatta, Head of the Gorge and Monster Erg are all regattas that Crawley helped to found or evolve into the enormous successes that they are today.
“I didn’t do it alone, in many cases we had a lot of collaborators,” said Crawley. “Elk Lake and Head of the Gorge existed before I got here, but I helped develop them into their current form, built them from small regattas to big regattas. The two I was most directly involved in starting were the Canadian University Championships and Monster Erg, though I did run most of the others for many years.”
Beginning in 1997, Crawley has helped oversee the growth of the Canadian University National Rowing Championships from a regatta of six teams all the way to the eighteen clubs that participated in the most recent championships last November.
Throughout his incredible career with UVic, the accolades that the Vikes have racked up under Crawley’s leadership are almost immeasurable.
In the 21 seasons of the CURC’s, Rick has coached the Vikes to 12 titles, including a run of seven straight from 1997-2003. The Vikes have also claimed five of ten WCURC team titles under Crawley’s tutelage.
In the annual Brown Cup, which pits crews from the Vikes against their rivals from UBC in a head-to-head race modelled after the historic Oxford-Cambridge contest, Crawley has compiled a record of 23 wins and just three losses.
“There were many highlights in my career,” said Crawley. “When we started CURC’s, winning the first one and then seven-straight, as we got up in that streak I started getting nervous. The first Brown Cup was a highlight, it was cool to win that.”
Further to those accomplishments, Crawley has fostered a level of excellence within the Vikes program that has allowed athletes to shine on both the national and international stages.
He has coached the Vikes to more than 92 Canadian Henley titles, and an astonishing 29 members of the Vikes program have gone on to represent Canada at the Olympic Games.
Internationally, he was an assistant coach for Canada at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, where he helped the Canadians capture three gold medals and has also coached Canada at the FISU World Universiade Games.
As his professional career comes to an end, Crawley will look forward to spending time with his family, which includes his two daughters, four grandchildren and partner Lori Nolt.
The search for a women’s rowing program leader successor is currently underway, for more information visit UVic Careers.