|Title:||The Thomas Bolles Head Coach for Harvard Men's Crew|
|Organization:||Men's Heavyweight Crew|
Harry Parker, the Thomas Bolles Head Coach for Harvard Men's Crew, is widely regarded as the premier rowing coach in the United States and, since taking over the heavyweight program in 1963, has brought tremendous success to the Crimson as his crews have dominated both the Eastern Sprints and national championships. He has also guided Harvard to clear advantages over all its collegiate opponents, and has taken Crimson rowing onto the world stage to compete.
Heading into the 51st season of his head-coaching tenure and his 53rd year overall at Harvard, highlights of the Parker era include 21 undefeated regular seasons, 23 EARC Sprints varsity titles, 21 JV Sprints crowns, eight official national championship victories, and eight unofficial national crowns when the Crimson has gone undefeated against all major competition.
Parker owns a 43-7 mark in the Harvard-Yale Regatta. His Crimson has won 12 of the last 13 installments of America's oldest intercollegiate athletic event, including each of the last five.
Notwithstanding the many successes of his varsity crews, Parker takes particular pride in the success of his so called lower crews; second, third and fourth varsity boats. He strives to ensure that every member of the varsity heavyweight squad receives equal coaching attention and has a satisfying experience while on the squad. As a result, Harvard's lower boats have also enjoyed great success over the years and a very high perecentage of them continue rowing on the squad for four full years.
The rate of success has not diminished as time has passed. Parker's Harvard varsities have won three Intercollegiate Rowing Association national championships since 2003, and the 2011 campaign was one of the best in Crimson history. The varsity, second varsity and freshman eights won Sprints titles and IRA medals, including a runner-up varsity finish. Each boat was also undefeated during the regular season, as Harvard did not lose a dual race in which it entered an eight. Five athletes capped the year with a win in the Prince Albert Challenge Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta.
In 2009, his varsity eight went undefeated in dual racing for the 20th time since 1963 and gave him his 40th Harvard-Yale win with a 20-second victory over its arch rival. His 2007 and 2010 varsities completed the Sprints-Henley double, capturing Eastern titles in Worcester, Mass., and winning the Ladies' Challenge Plate in England.
The 2006 campaign saw the Crimson varsity win its seventh straight over rival Yale, while the second varsity rowed an undefeated season claiming gold at the Eastern Sprints and IRAs.
The current run of unparalleled success is the most recent addition to Parker's already-impressive resume, as the varsity entered the spring of 2006 having won 24 consecutive dual matches covering 32 opponents. Parker's 2005 varsity continued the remarkable run by capturing a third straight gold medal at both Eastern Sprints and the IRA National Championship, retaining the Ten Eyck Trophy for overall heavyweight supremacy at IRAs, as well as a sixth-consecutive victory over Yale.
Parker has kept Harvard at the forefront of the rowing landscape, as his 2004 eight drew comparison with some of the top crews in Crimson lore and was mentioned among the top collegiate varsities ever fielded. That boat finished its third consecutive undefeated dual season, won sprints gold for the second-straight year, successfully defended its IRA National Championship and capped the season with impressive displays in international competition. Racing as the second U.S. entry in Lucerne at the World Cup Regatta, Parker's varsity finished sixth overall in a competition loaded with Olympic entries, finishing ahead of the Olympic eights of both France and Great Britain and just under two lengths behind the U.S. Olympic boat which would claim gold in Athens later that summer. At Henley, the Crimson again challenged itself against the stiffest competition, eventually falling in the finals of the Grand Challenge Cup - usually reserved for top international competition—by two-thirds of a length to the Dutch, the eventual silver medalists in Athens.
The 2002 season also ranked among his finest: the varsity and junior varsity went undefeated in dual racing, the JV's captured the Sprints crown—with the varsity earning a silver medal - and the varsity won the Ladies Challenge Plate while a JV four claimed the Britannia Cup at the Henley Royal Regatta. His 1998 crew similarly won all of its dual races and completed its season by capturing the Ladies Challenge Plate.
Prior to the recent string of three national titles (2003-05), Parker's crews have been officially crowned national champions in 1983, '85, '87, '88, '89 and '92 after capturing eight unofficial crowns in the two preceding decades. His 1985 crew scored what would be considered a Harvard grand slam: a Sprints title, triumph over Yale, victory in the national championship race at the Cincinnati Regatta and a win in the Grand Challenge Cup at Henley. Parker has also led Harvard to seven San Diego Crew Classic titles and two titles each at the Potomac Regatta and Redwood Shores Regatta.
Under Parker, Harvard crews have also raced against the world's best and achieved amazing success. The 2004 trip to Lucerne continued an amazing tradition, as Harvard also won the 1965 Lucerne International Regatta, was a close second at the 1967 world championships, won the 1967 Pan American Games and captured the 1968 U.S. Olympic trials before taking sixth in the Games at Mexico City. His crews have also recorded several wins at the Nile Festival Regatta in Egypt. Additionally, Parker-coached Harvard oarsmen have rowed at every Olympic Games over the past four decades.
From 1964 in Tokyo until 1992 in Barcelona, Parker regularly coached U.S. Olympic crews, leading both men's and women's entries to strong finishes in the eights and handling the sculling at the 1984 Games in Los Angeles. He coached the first U.S. women's eight to compete in the world championships, earning a bronze medal in 1975.
In 1980, Parker coached the U.S. men's Olympic eight, which ranked second in the world prior to the boycott of the Moscow Olympics. In 1985, he coached single sculler Andy Sudduth '85 to an astonishing performance in the World Rowing Championships, during which Sudduth finished second and defeated four-time world champion Peter Michael Kolbe of Germany.
Six former Parker's oarsmen have competed in the last two Olympic Games. Artour Samsonov '02 (pair), Wolf Moser '98 (four) and Henry Nuzum '99 (double scull) rowed in Athens at the 2004 Games, while, Malcolm Howard '05 (eight) and Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss '04 (pair) competed in Beijing. All three rowers in 2008 advanced to the grand finals of their respected races, with Howard and the Canadian rowing to gold. Among the other Olympians he has coached are 1984 silver medalist Sudduth, who rowed in the eight at Los Angeles, and Jack Rusher '89, a member of the 1988 U.S. eight that won bronze in Seoul. Richard Kennelly '87 won a silver medal at those same 1988 Games. Rusher also rowed at the '92 Games in Barcelona, where he was joined by Peter Sharis '90 and Chris Swan '90. Adam Holland '94 competed at the 1996 Atlanta Games, and there were three Crimson heavyweight oarsmen at the 2000 Games: Nick Peterson '95, Moser and Nuzum.
Parker's athletes are often among the top in their age group, and have garnered spots in international competition. In the summer of 2005 alone, five Crimson heavyweight oarsmen competed in the World Under-23 Championships in Amsterdam, including two from his national champion varsity.
Parker began rowing as an undergraduate at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was part of victorious crews at Sprints and in Grand Challenge Cup. After graduating, he took up single sculling and won the gold medal in the 1959 Pan American Games. He then placed fifth in the single at the 1960 Olympics.