PHOTO AND STORY COURTESY HARVARD ATHLETICS
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CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Claire Ochal, The Friends of Radcliffe Rowing Head Coach for Women’s Heavyweight Crew, has announced the hiring of Hannah Woodruff and Dan Harrison as assistant coaches. The duo will arrive in Cambridge in time for the start of the 2023-24 campaign, which is set to begin in October with the Head of the Charles Regatta.
“Hannah brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our squad here at Harvard-Radcliffe,” Ochal said. “Hannah’s recruiting skills and time spent on the Charles will have an immediate impact on our program. I am looking forward to working alongside such a talented coach and even better person.
“We are equally excited to welcome Dan to our program,” Ochal added. “Dan brings a lot of experience in developing athletes into championship-caliber rowers. I know that Dan will impact the team both on and off the water.”
Woodruff will make the short trip to Harvard from Boston University where she spent six seasons as an assistant coach.
“I’m excited to work with the team at Radcliffe,” Woodruff said. “This program has such a rich legacy, and I’m looking forward to helping Claire guide the team into a new era.”
During her time on Commonwealth Ave., Woodruff helped the Terriers become a force in the Patriot League. In her first three full seasons (2019-20 was interrupted due to the pandemic), Woodruff helped every BU boat make the grand final at the Patriot League Championships, while recording top-5 finishes in each of those campaigns (2018: runner-up, 2019: fourth place, 2021: third place). BU’s breakthrough came in 2022, as Woodruff tutored the 2V8 to its first-ever gold medal and helped the Terriers capture their second Patriot League team title and first since 2014. That same season, Boston University advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time since ’14 and finished in 19th place. This past season, Woodruff once again led the Terrier 2V8 to a gold medal at the conference meet, with BU coming in second place despite tying for first in team points.
Prior to joining the Boston University coaching staff, Woodruff served as an assistant coach at Wellesley College for four seasons, leading the second varsity eight boat. In 2015-16, the 2V8 earned gold medals at the New England Rowing Championships (NERC) and the National Invitational Rowing Championship (NIRC), before capturing silver at the NCAA Division III Championships. As a team, Wellesley won the 2016 NCAA Division III team title, with the coaching staff being named the Division III Staff of the Year. A season later, Woodruff, helped the 2V8 win bronze at the NERC and NIRC, and another silver at NCAAs.
Woodruff, who has also served as an assistant coach at Community Rowing Inc., Boston College High School and Cambridge Boat Club, was a four-year coxswain at Wellesley and named a team co-captain as a senior. In 2011, Woodruff helped the 1V8 finish in third place at the ECAC, NERC and NCAA Championships, while earning second-team CRCA All-America accolades. A two-time CRCA National Scholar-Athlete (2010, 2011), Woodruff graduated cum laude from Wellesley College in 2011, with degrees in economics and history.
Harrison returns to the Boston area for the first time since 2014-15, and brings a wealth of experience from stops within the Big Ten and Pac-12 Conferences.
“I am incredibly grateful and excited to join the Harvard-Radcliffe Women’s Rowing program,” Harrison said. “Radcliffe has an incredible history and tradition of rowing excellence, and I believe the team is poised to continue finding success in the Ivy League and NCAA. There are few places as special as the Charles to row, and I am looking forward to working with Coach Ochal and Coach Woodruff to help create a positive and formative experience for the women who row for Radcliffe.”
Harrison will join the Black and White after serving as an assistant coach at Oregon State in 2022-23, which marked his third stint in Corvallis. Originally a volunteer in 2013, Harrison rejoined the Beavers staff as an assistant in the fall of 2015, working with the Oregon State novice program.
In between his first and second appointments with the Beavers, Harrison was a volunteer assistant coach at BU in 2014-15, working with the Terriers’ developmental boats. During his time in New England, he also served as an assistant coach to the varsity boys’ program at Wayland-Weston Rowing Association, helping with fitness and technique training plans.
In the spring of 2017, Harrison left Oregon State for Ohio State, joining the Buckeyes as a volunteer coach. During his time in Columbus, Harrison coached the 1V4 to a third-place finish at the 2017 NCAA Championships before leaving for a graduate assistant coach role at Michigan in Aug. 2017.
Harrison’s first season in Ann Arbor resulted in the Wolverines recording a seventh-place finish at the 2018 NCAA Championships behind the performance of their four All-Americans. In the fall of 2018, Harrison was elevated to a full-time assistant coach, working with Michigan’s novice rowers.
The Wolverines’ novice boats thrived under Harrison’s watch as the 1N8 captured two Big Ten gold medals (2019, 2021), with the 2N8 earning a bronze in 2019 and a silver in 2021. As a team, Michigan won conference championships in 2019 and 2021, while coming in third (2019) and fourth place (2021) at the NCAA Championships. The accomplishments of the 2019 squad helped the Wolverines coaching staff earn CRCA Region 4 Staff-of-the-Year accolades.
Before jumping into the coaching profession, Harrison rowed for four seasons at Seattle University as part of its club team. Harrison served as club president for three years and was chosen as the “Top Hawk” his senior year by his coaches, recognizing him as the club’s top performer. On the water, Harrison raced his way to consecutive Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships (2012, 2013) and captured the 2013 American Collegiate Rowing Association national title in the pair.
A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, Harrison graduated from Seattle in 2013, with a bachelor’s degree in sport and exercise science. He also completed a one-year coaching education program in 2015, at the Institute for Rowing Leadership, which is designed to give fellows the necessary theoretical framework and experiential learning opportunities to achieve the knowledge, skills and abilities required of a master rowing coach.