About Huskycrew.org

A screenshot of the Huskycrew home page from 2002

The Huskycrew website was first launched in 2001, a direct result of an appeal by the Rowing Stewards.  Top on the list for communication priorities was a way for alums, friends, and parents to access information about the program - specifically schedules and news - instantly (this was fully ten years before the advent of social media and the mainstreaming of smartphones).  In the fall of 2002, and in concert with our Centennial Celebration, the history project was initiated, with the 100-year history published here in the spring of 2003.  In the years that followed the site grew to include race results, photos and videos, exclusive interviews, the women's history section, and breaking news.

The growth in visitors to the website was steady and strong.  In 2007, Huskycrew worked together with the Washington Athletic Department to bring the first global webcast of the Windermere Cup (and one of the first collegiate rowing events) to computer screens around the world.  Also in 2007, thousands of visitors were online in June as Huskycrew provided the only live splits on the web of the major IRA events.  In February 2008, the site changed the top-level domain from Huskycrew.com to Huskycrew.org, to better represent the non-profit status of the Stewards and the HRF.

With the advent of social media and the ease of real-time information, in 2015 the majority of the content on huskycrew.org was moved to the new Washington Rowing website (washingtonrowing.com), with huskycrew.org remaining as the main source for consistently updated history material, photos and collections.

The site is 100% supported by volunteers.  Our photos and videos come almost entirely from alums and friends of the program throughout the decades, and all writing (except the exceptional women's history written by Ellen Ernst) is done by Eric Cohen.

In addition, The Husky Rowing Foundation is a registered 501(c)3, and all donations to the HRF go to support our historical research or go directly to the UW Men's and Women's Rowing Teams each year.  Thank you for supporting the Husky Rowing Foundation!

For questions about the HRF or the Huskycrew.org website, please contact Eric Cohen '82 at webdev@huskycrew.org.

Eric Cohen

The men's history author is Eric Cohen, a 1982 graduate of the University of Washington and longtime member of the Washington Rowing Stewards.

The Seattle launch of PBS's "Boys of '36", with Eric Cohen, Michael Callahan, Jan Harville, Margaret Grossi, Mary Carillo, and Daniel James Brown at Meany Hall

Eric began as a freshman coxswain in high school (Roosevelt) at Greenlake Crew in Seattle, and joined the Washington Rowing team in the fall of 1978.  At the UW he coxed three years in the Varsity 8, was a three-time Pac-10 champion, 1981 consensus National Champion (competing at Henley), First Team All-Conference (1981), and Co-Captain and Inspirational (1982). He graduated from the UW Foster School of Business in 1983.

Following a career in marketing research, product development, and senior marketing at Holland America Line in Seattle, Eric co-founded the web-based on-demand printing company Directflex.com and also MyTeamBook.com. During that time, he joined the Washington Rowing Stewards (1995), founding the website Huskycrew.org (2001) and writing the 100-Year History of Washington Rowing (2003). He also co-founded the non-profit retailer Husky Crew Gear (2001), and established with classmates Al Forney and Al Erickson the Class of '82 Endowed Scholarship for Men's Rowing (2012).  He is also a co-founder (with the late Blake Nordstrom '82) of the non-profit Husky Rowing Foundation (2013) and continues today as an active member of the Rowing Stewards and as the historian for the UW Rowing Team.

Eric was one of the first contacts for Daniel James Brown as he researched his bestselling novel The Boys in the Boat (2013), with Eric's commentary featured in the widely heralded PBS American Experience documentary "The Boys of '36" (2016). Eric was an invited panel member at both the Chicago and Los Angeles pre-release screening events for the "Boys of '36", and was the panel host at the sold-out Meany Hall event on the UW campus in the summer of 2016.

Since 2016, Eric has continued to share the story of The Boys in the Boat, the power of trust and commitment, and the "swing" found in exceptional teams.  He has presented to private audiences large and small on overcoming adversity, building a culture that values courage and commitment, and the transformative change that can happen within a team when trust and a common goal rise above self.  More about Eric and his message is here - www.eric-cohen.com

In 2016 the University of Washington honored Eric with the Dave and Ruth Cohn award for outstanding service and support of University of Washington athletics with the following statement:


“Rowing taught me hard work for a greater purpose, for a sum that’s bigger than the parts,” says Eric Cohen, ‘82.

Eric is the recipient of the 2016 Cohn Award for outstanding service and support to UW Athletics by a former letter-winner.

The Cohen family bleeds purple and gold. Eric’s parents met on a blind date at a Husky basketball game more than 60 years ago. They raised their family in the neighborhood abutting the UW and Lake Washington, where a young Eric would watch Husky rowers with his dad. His wife Heidi’s grandmother rowed on the UW crew team in 1918. Their daughter, Monica, attends the UW and is a pole vaulter on the UW Track Team.

“I had a strong passion for athletics and wanted to play football, but I was five-foot-four in high school and weighed 85 pounds,” says Eric. “I wanted to compete, and rowing was it.”

Living in the crew house, coxing the Varsity 8 to conference championships and making lifelong friends had such an impact on Eric that he joined The Washington Rowing Board of Stewards in 1995 where he serves as the team historian, wrote a history of the program in 2003, and created the program’s original website in 2001. He consulted on the PBS documentary, The Boys of ’36, and the famed book, The Boys in the Boat. Eric and teammate Al Forney founded Husky Crew Gear to raise money for the program, and along with teammate Al Erickson, they ultimately established the Class of ’82 Scholarship Endowment for Rowing. Eric and Heidi are longtime personal donors as well. Eric credits his teammates — and his wife — for enabling him to devote so much of his time and energy to supporting the program he loves.

 “Giving back is almost a requirement after all this program gave me,” Eric says.

Congratulations, Eric, and thank you for all you do for Washington Rowing.

A Message from the Women's History Author

There is much myth and misinformation surrounding the women’s crew at the University of Washington – especially in the early years of the twentieth century.  I have reviewed as many primary sources as I could find to discover the most accurate story possible.  These sources include the “Tyee” year books, the daily and weekly University newspapers (“The Pacific Wave” and “The Daily Pacific Wave” and “The Daily”), “The Seattle Times”, “The Seattle Post Intelligencer”, “The Oarsman” magazine, “US Rowing” magazine, “Washingtonian” magazine, and various other rowing and University of Washington letters, books, photographs and magazines housed in the University Archives.   

It was also my intention to include as many names and photographs as possible.  The daily and weekly University newspapers included the names of the women who made their class boats and the Tyee yearbook had some great photographs.  Unfortunately, names were not always adjacent to the photographs in the yearbooks so it is difficult in most cases to place a name to a face.  Hopefully as this history reaches family members we will be able to identify the women more completely.

If you discover something that doesn’t mesh with what you know or what you have experienced, please let me know and I will research and make a change if necessary.  Also, as with any group experience, each participant sometimes has a different remembered reality.  I have tried to be as factual as possible and only added personal anecdotal references when they are confirmed by at least two or three people.  Please email your remembrances and we will post them in a separate section.  Thanks for your support of this project.

In a final word of introduction, and as with any successful organization, the development of women’s rowing at the University of Washington would be directly tied to the administrators, coaches and athletes who participated at any one time.  Women’s rowing would not have survived or thrived in the early years of the twentieth century without the leadership, energy, support and dedication of Jim Knight, Dick Gloster, Hiram Conibear, Lavina Rudberg, Gretchen O’Donnell, Lucy Pocock, and Ethel Johnson.  And women’s rowing could not have been reborn in 1968 and continue to thrive without the vision and energy of women like Joan Bird, Colleen Lynch, Paula Mitchell, Jan Harville, Eleanor McElvaine and men like Bernie Delke, John Lind, Dick Erickson and Bob Ernst.  But, most important, the success of women’s rowing, past and present, at the University of Washington is most directly related to the women who love to row.

Ellen Ernst '83

A Message from the Men's History Author

My goal is to write a factual history that also provides an insight into the people that have shaped the sport at Washington. Thus I encourage any personal experiences or vignettes that might enhance the understanding of the events that have transpired over the years.

The history that is written here has been researched via a number of sources:  the individual sources used in any specific year or decade are documented at the end of each section.  Every effort has been made to corroborate factual data via newspapers, the University yearbook the Tyee, publications on rowing, the internet, and the various writings found in the archives of the VBC. 

However - that does not make everything perfectly correct!  If you see something that is stated incorrectly - particularly in the years you were there - let us know at webdev(at)huskycrew.org.

We also want any pictures or memorabilia, especially of races or of life at the shellhouse or VBC.  If you would like to make an in-kind donation please contact me at the email address below.  As a licensed 501(c)3, your in-kind donations of value to the Husky Rowing Foundation may be tax deductible.  Contact us for more information.

Which brings us to the question of why I decided to do this and publish it here.  People have asked and it's worth explaining.  It is because it was the right place and the right time, both for the program and for me personally.  The Centennial in 2003 provided the perfect backdrop.  My wife, Heidi, who supported me throughout this project, needed very little convincing knowing how much the sport has given me.  We had a window of opportunity and we took it.

Also, a note of thanks to those who helped out with this project.  Bob Ernst, Ellen Ernst (who is writing the detailed women's history), all our friends at MSCUA, Stan Pocock, Bob Moch, Irma and Al Erickson (who let me dig through Dick's attic), Paul Yount, Lisa Center and the media department at the A/D, and everyone who took the time to answer questions -  thank you!

Eric Cohen '82

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