BY CHIP DAVIS
PHOTO BY PETER SPURRIER
“Be a weapon in the war on mediocrity,” Murray Washburn loved to say. He was a great friend and mentor to many here in Hanover, N.H., including more than a few of us rowers. The year brought yet another terrible loss when Murray died this summer. But his love and kindness live on in a multitude of people and things, such as this very magazine. I began washing dishes in one of Murray’s restaurants when I was a teenage student-athlete, and over the next decade, my jobs there paid for a lot of college and Rowing News press bills. Murray’s guidance set the course for our company, and in the decades that followed, his encouragement and counsel aided and inspired us.
As she takes the helm as USRowing’s next CEO, Amanda Kraus (Big News, page 23, with extended Q&A on RowingNews.com) will be a key figure in pulling our sport’s national governing body out of mediocrity. She’s the first CEO hired from a rowing success–Row New York, which she founded–and she’s already saying and doing things that demonstrate her talent for growing an organization and making it financially healthy and inclusive.
Other entities in rowing are also using the lost year of 2020 to serve and strengthen our sport. The Rowing Industry Trade Association, IRA National Championship Regatta, Collegiate Rowing Coaches of America (women), and Intercollegiate Rowing Coaches Association (men) have all used canceled seasons to organize and prepare for future success. We’re all erging and sculling on our own now, but also working together remotely towards a future of excellence.
While the best part of 2020 may be its ending, 2021 can be our best year yet.