Harvard University Renames Heavyweight Crew Head Coaching Position

Harry Parker shown during the 2012-13 season (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).
Harry Parker shown during the 2012-13 season (photo courtesy Gil Talbot).

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. – Harvard University and Bob Scalise, the Nichols Family Director of Athletics, announced today that the head coach position for men's heavyweight crew will be renamed "The Bolles-Parker Head Coach for Harvard Men's Heavyweight Crew" to honor the late Harry Parker, who led the Crimson for 51 seasons.

Thomas D. Bolles, the heavyweight coach from 1937-1951 and director of athletics from 1951-63, met Parker at the Henley Royal Regatta in 1959 and told him that he would have a spot with the Crimson after the completion of his rowing career and Navy tour. The two not only share the distinction of being Harvard's most successful rowing coaches, but will now also share the head coach title.  

"Before he worked on Harvard Campaigns or joined the Senior Fellows, my father (Robert G. Stone, Jr.'45) was a captain of the heavyweight crew and a strong supporter of Harvard rowing," recalled R. Gregg Stone III '75, JD '79. "He was pleased to be able to endow what will now be called, according to his wishes, the Bolles-Parker Head Coach for Harvard Men's Heavyweight Crew. Tom Bolles coached my father's crew in 1947 to a world record time in Seattle. He had the foresight to hire Harry in 1960 as the freshman coach and to promote him in 1963 to the head coaching position." 

Widely regarded as the premier rowing coach in the United States, Parker guided the Crimson to 22 undefeated regular seasons, 24 EARC Sprints varsity titles, 21 second varsity Sprints crowns, and a combined 16 official and unofficial national championships. He also owned a 44-7 record in the Harvard-Yale Regatta, including six-straight victories to close out his career, and had 18 student-athletes named Academic All-Ivy League over the last 20 years.

A memorial service will be held for Parker on Saturday, Aug. 17 beginning at 2 p.m. at the Harvard Memorial Church.