Charley Butt
Charley Butt
Title: The Bolles-Parker Head Coach for Harvard Men's Heavyweight Crew
Organization: Men's Heavyweight Crew
Phone: (617) 495-7775
Email: [email protected]
Previous College: Rutgers 1983
Experience: 29th Season

Charley Butt was named the Bolles-Parker Head Coach for Harvard Men's Heavyweight Crew on August 13, 2013. Butt begins his 29th season with the Harvard rowing program in 2013-14, having previously served as the Friends of Harvard Lightweight Rowing Coach for Men’s Lightweight Crew for 28 years.  

“This is a pivotal time for the Harvard rowing community and we know that Charley Butt is the right person to guide us through this transition,” said Bob Scalise, the Nichols Family Director of Athletics, at the time of the hire. “Charley will provide excellent leadership to our student-athletes and will continue to uphold the standard of excellence we have come to expect. We could not be more excited about the future of Harvard heavyweight crew.”

“I am delighted to carry on the tradition that I was able to join 28 years ago,” said Butt. “That tradition is one of excellence, emanating from Harvard’s Newell Boathouse. It is always a team effort and we need all the coaches in the boathouse to do the job that they have done before and give our outstanding students an opportunity to do what they do best – compete, study and make the most of their opportunities.”

The ninth coach in Harvard heavyweight crew history, Butt assumes his new role after the passing of the legendary Harry Parker, who guided the Crimson for 51 seasons. Butt becomes just the fourth coach to lead the Crimson since 1946.  

Butt led Harvard’s lightweight program for nearly 30 seasons, steering the Crimson to 15 Eastern crowns and nine national championships, including the 2012 and 2013 IRA National Championships.

Consistently among the nation’s best, Butt’s crews have posted winning dual records in 25 of his 28 seasons at the helm.

In consecutive seasons, the Crimson lights have captured the Eastern Sprints championships and then capped the season by winning the national championship. Prior to 2012, Harvard had not won both races in the same season since 1999. A perfect dual season each of the last two years has pushed Harvard’s streak to four-straight undefeated seasons.

Harvard also won the Head of the Charles Regatta for the first time since 1975 during the fall of 2012.

In eight of the last 11 years, Butt's lightweight varsity has captured the Goldthwait Cup, emblematic of supremacy among crews from Harvard, Yale and Princeton. Additionally, his varsity and JV crews each captured gold medals at Eastern Sprints and won the Jope Cup (for overall lightweight team supremacy) at the same regatta four times over  the last ten years.

The 2011 boat added an Eastern title and runner-up national finish. The 2009 eight went 8-1 in dual racing, finished second at the Sprints and third at the national championships. All five boats medaled in the grand final at Sprints and the Crimson won the Jope Cup.

In 2007, Butt's varsity eight finished as the runner-up at the IRA Championships for the second year in a row. The Crimson missed out on the gold in 2006 by 0.08 seconds.

An outstanding oarsman himself, Butt rowed on the United States lightweight entry in the 1980 world championships, finishing fourth. He was a member of the winning four with coxswain at the 1979 IRA Championship and later that year was selected as an alternate on the national lightweight team.

Butt graduated from Rutgers in 1983. In 1985, he was a silver medalist for the lightweight eight at the world championships in Belgium. In 1986, Butt was part of the Wyfold Cup championship crew at Henley.

As a coach, Butt's experience extends well beyond Harvard, including four stints as a United States Olympic coach, a position he continues to hold. Andrew Campbell, a junior Harvard oarsman and Butt’s pupil, became the first American to win gold as a single sculler at the 2013 World Rowing Under 23 Championships.

At the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, Butt helped Radcliffe alumna, Michelle Guerette '02, earn a silver medal in the women's single sculls. He served as her coach at the 2005 World Championships, where she won bronze medal in the single sculls.

Four years earlier at the 2004 Olympics in Athens, Butt and associate heavyweight coach Bill Manning worked with former Crimson rowers Artour Samsonov '02, Henry Nuzum '99 and Greg Ruckman '96 in the pair, double and lightweight double.

At the 2000 Games, he coached the men's lightweight double, a boat that included Greg Ruckman '96. He also coached a pair featuring former Crimson oarsman Adam Holland '94 and a bronze-medalist lightweight single sculler at the 2002 world championships in Seville. At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, he coached the men's pair, a tandem which included Holland. He coached Holland's pair again in 1997 and '98 when they were third and a very close fourth, respectively, at the world championships.

Butt previously coached the U.S. men's quad that captured the silver at the 1991 Pan Am Games in Havana, was an assistant coach for men's sweep rowing (4+) at the 1993 world championships in the Czech Republic and coached the coxed four to silver at the 1994 world championships. That boat featured three Harvard oarsmen: Holland, Bill Cooper '93 and Chris Swan '92.