Former United States Olympic Coxswain Stewart MacDonald will join Andover Crew this spring as the new Coach of Boys Crew, replacing Peter Washburn, Instructor in Mathematics and Director of Andover Crew, who has taken a leave of absence for the Winter and Spring Terms.
Dale Hurley, Instructor in Mathematics, is now the Interim Director of the entire crew program and will continue to coach Girls Crew as he did last year.
MacDonald was hired by Mike Kuta, Director of Athletics, as a “community coach.” A community coach is someone who does not teach at Andover, but has expertise in a certain field. “We hire them from outside our faculty to coach our athletes at a level that we always strive for at our athletic program,” said Kuta.
It is uncertain as to whether MacDonald’s coaching position will be permanent, as community coaches are hired on a one-year basis, according to Kuta.
“MacDonald’s résumé is very impressive. He is a leader and also well-organized. He’s a team player and a team builder. Those are the qualities that I look for in coaches. One thing that I’m really happy to report is that all of our coaches connect with our kids, and Mr. MacDonald shares that quality as well,” said Kuta.
MacDonald and Hurley have known each other since 1989. They met at the United States Lightweight Men’s program, where Hurley was one of the rowers in a boat MacDonald coached for the World Championships from 1989 through 1992.
“Mr. MacDonald is an extremely accomplished and qualified coach. He has over ten years of experience coaching and teaching in a boarding school. He understands the importance of being both academically and athletically strong,” said Hurley.
Prior to his new role as the Boys Coach, MacDonald has had previous connections with Andover Crew.
“In 2007, the [Andover] Girls Coach, Kathryn Green, who had been a member of the Women’s Crew at Boston University during my tenure there, asked for some advice for the terrific silver medal crew that she took to Henley Women’s Regatta, and for the following three years I continued as an occasional consultant for her and the Andover Girls program,” said MacDonald.
His daughter, Dylan MacDonald ’13, was a coxswain for the Andover Boys team. “With Dylan’s graduation last June, I thought I was done, but change and chance have a way of altering our plans!” said MacDonald.
MacDonald said he is looking forward to this crew season. “I want to be able to help [students] reach their potential. I don’t know the students yet, but I want to help them reach whatever goal they set for themselves,” said MacDonald.
MacDonald’s passion for crew started in his seventh grade year at Belmont Hill, where he was the coxswain for six years before going to the University of Wisconsin.
“Rowing can be an addicting sport. Once you are exposed, it never lets go of you,” said MacDonald.
At the University of Wisconsin, he coxed Varsity for three years. During those years and immediately thereafter, MacDonald left school to cox for both the 1968 and 1972 Olympic Teams. The team placed fifth both times.
MacDonald was one of the United States Rowing National Team coaches. First working as an assistant coach for the women’s team at the 1981 World Championships and leading the first U.S. Lightweight Women’s team into the international environment in 1982, he soon was named the Assistant Men’s Coach for the 1984 Olympic Team at the Los Angeles Regatta.
Prior to helping coach the U.S. National Team, MacDonald coached at the Kent School and started the Kent Girls program in 1973. At Kent, MacDonald worked with Hart Perry, Founder of the National Rowing Foundation.
After his departure from Kent, MacDonald returned to Belmont Hill, where he spent the following 12 years teaching history and working with the Crew program. During that time, he also coached the Varsity Women’s team at Boston University.