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Why Past is Prologue

For those looking for it, the subtext in last month’s announcement that USRowing had (again) tapped legendary men’s coach Mike Teti to lead the U.S. men’s sweep squad was clear: the national team is serious about winning, and there was no other choice.

This is not a knock against Mike. Few are more committed and capable of delivering a podium performance than the person responsible for so many of them over the last two decades. It’s trite, but true: past success is truly the best predictor of future success.

In fact, if anything it shows just how important good coaches are to the entire enterprise—athletes, take note—and how hard they are to come by. This isn’t exclusively an elite problem either. It’s an issue at all levels of our sport.

Plan all you want. Identify your talent. Build a beautiful boathouse and fill it with the best equipment money can buy. None of it matters if you don’t have the right person sitting in the launch.

In this issue we profile two coaches who clearly are where they should be—longtime British men’s coach Jürgen Grobler and Community Rowing, Inc.’s Ellen Minzner. Both have had an outsized impact in their respective realms: Grobler for his sustained success on the international stage and Minzner for her role in the development of para-rowing, in the U.S. and beyond.

Theirs are stories worth telling, as much as for what they have still to do as what they have done. It’s that way with all good coaches.

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