People from around the country spent the hours after Harry Parker's passing last night to submit their thoughts in the form of articles, stories and social media posts. Below, Harvard Athletics has compiled some of the best remembrances of the coach who spent the last 51 years dedicated to Harvard and the sport of rowing.
Harvard Athletics | Bob Scalise, The Nichols Family Director of Athletics
Harvard Mourns Loss of Legendary Crew Coach Harry Parker
"Harry Parker has been one of the nation's iconic coaches and educators. He has touched the lives and has influenced countless Harvard oarsmen over the years. His love of the sport, dedication to the success of his students and devotion to Harvard are evident in all Harry has done. His legacy and impact on our program over the last five decades will remain. We will miss him as a coach, role model, leader and a friend."
Harvard University | President Drew Gilpin Faust
On the Passing of Harry Parker
"Harry Parker epitomized the coach as teacher. He saw each of his rowers not just an athlete but as a whole person, a person learning not just how to excel at a sport but how to live a life. Generations of Harvard students will forever remember his formative influence. He was a living legend at Harvard and in the world of rowing, and his legend will long endure."
Boston Globe | John Powers
Harvard Crew Legend Harry Parker Dies of Cancer
"Universally acknowledged as the dean of America's rowing coaches, Parker was renowned not only for his unparalleled longevity but also for his extraordinary success."
Boston Herald | John Connolly
Harry Parker leaves rowing legacy
"The success is pretty easy to see," said right-hand man Bill Manning, who praised Parker's efforts behind the scene in supporting community rowing for the masses and as a staunch advocate of women's rowing. "Nobody has done a better job of making college boats go fast. Very simply, he's was the best practitioner of college rowing in the U.S. that existed, not to take anything away from all the other good coaches."
Harvard Gazette | Jack Reardon, AB'60, Executive Director, Harvard Aumni Association and Harvard University Athletic Director 1977-1990
Statement on passing of Harry Parker
"Harry was one of Harvard's most illustrious coaches and he may have been the greatest college crew coach of all time. In any chosen profession, there are people who are very good and there are people who are the best. Harry Parker was the best. Harry's rowers revered him. He was a man of few words but those words counted, and he inspired his athletes to do better than they thought possible. There will never be another Harry Parker. I will miss him and Harvard will miss him."
Row2k | Ed Hewitt
Harry Parker has passed; a remembrance, 1935-2013
"There is a reason the whole rowing world refers to Harry as "Harry," by his first name, and not as Coach Parker, or Mr. Parker, or anything else, really. For a man who was known to be hard to know, somehow we all call him by his first name - no more needed to be said. There is only one "Harry." In the rowing world, for the past 50+ years, if someone referenced "Harry," it meant Harry Parker. This was true in the US, overseas, at Henley, and beyond; there aren't many folks who earn that distinction. Royalty, maybe."
Wall Street Journal | Keith Trahan
Harvard's Imperial Coach
Harder to measure is Parker's broader legacy. Following his death Tuesday from cancer at age 77, Parker was hailed as a force behind triumphs from Wall Street to Silicon Valley and Hollywood. "My mother said, 'Your father gave you your brains, I gave you your drive and Harry Parker put it all together,'" said Richard Cashin, a managing partner at One Equity Partners who rowed at Harvard and at the 1976 Olympics.
New York Times | Bruce Weber
Harry Parker Dies at 77; Guiding Hand in Rowing
"Beyond the innovations in equipment and training, Parker was known as a personality. Like Rockne and Wooden, he became legendary in his sport and something of a cult figure on campus. A taciturn but highly competitive figure, he imbued in his athletes a sense of purpose and dedication that helped his crews cohere and endure both the anticipated and experienced agony at the finish of a close race."
Penn Athletics | Mike Lane, Penn Head Coach of Women's Rowing
Penn Mourns Passing of Rowing Legend Harry Parker C'56
"Harry is the ultimate icon in the sport of rowing. When you think of our sport, you think of Harry. It is a tremendous loss for our community; however, his legacy in terms of how he impacted the sport will live on forever."
Boston Business Journal | Joe Halpern
Recalling legendary Harvard crew coach Harry Parker: By the numbers
In honor of one of college athletics' most successful coaches, the Boston Business Journal has put together the following by-the-numbers tribute...
US Olympic Committee | Scott Blackmun, USOC CEO
USOC statement on the passing of Harry Parker
"Harry Parker's impact on the sport of rowing stretches from the shores of the Charles River to all corners of the globe. Both as an Olympic athlete and coach, he served as an inspiration over multiple decades, and his indelible legacy will be felt for many years to come both at Harvard and throughout the Olympic Movement."
A Tribute to a Legend - Harry Parker 1935-2013
"What Parker accomplished in a lifetime of rowing and coaching, both in building an ongoing dynasty as the head coach of Harvard University men's crew team, and as a elite oarsman and Olympic and national team coach, could only be compared to what some of the greatest American coaches have done throughout their careers in their respective sports."
Harry Parker, a class act, 1935-2013
Often described as a man of few words, Parker earned the utmost respect of his athletes who would take his few words as sacred. He believed that a lot of rowing was about working hard, rather than technique, and this helped shape his coaching ways, "In rowing I found a sport that demanded some skill, granted, but placed a much higher premium on plain hard work and persistence," Parker was quoted as saying.
The Crimson | Cordelia F. Mendez
Harry Parker Remembered for Dedicaton to His Sport and to His Rowers
"Harry was our whole Harvard experience. He is a big part of the reason why many of us came here in the first place." - James O'Connor '13, current Harvard capatain
Fitchburg Sentinel and Enterprise | Matt Stewart
Fitchburg's Parker leaves a legacy of excellence
"He was very steady, but was an inspiring person because he didn't say a lot, but when he said something people listened. He was charismatic, very knowledgeable and committed to the sport of rowing and his rowers. He seemed to take a personal interest even for those of us who weren't going to make it in the first boat." - Dr. Peter McConarty, M.D.
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