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Davenport Is Rowing’s Top Coach
CHESTERTOWN, Md.—Washington College head women’s rowing coach Mike Davenport has been named the National Coach of the Year for Division III by the College Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA).
Davenport, who is entering his 24th year as head coach, had been honored in April as the Mid-Atlantic Rowing Conference (MARC) Coach of the Year after guiding the Shorewomen to the 2013 MARC Championship. The WC team subsequently received the conference’s first-ever automatic berth to the NCAA Division III Championships, having received at-large eight bids in 2008 and 2009.
The Shorewomen proved they belonged at the national Championships by turning in a strong sixth-place finish overall and a fifth-place finish in the first varsity eight. The first varsity eight’s performance illustrated the progress the team had made over the course of the season. In the grand final race, for example, the Shorewomen finished 11 seconds ahead of Wellesley, a team that had bested it by five seconds in a March regatta.
The Shorewomen, who opened the season ranked 14th in CRCA/US Rowing Coaches Poll, steadily rose through the rankings throughout the season. In the final poll, released on June 8, the team was ranked fifth in the nation, its highest-ever season-ending ranking.
This year was not Davenport’s first to be honored for his coaching. He was Mid-Atlantic Region Coach of the Year in 2008, too. His coaching experience has extended beyond the collegiate realm and onto the National Rowing Team. For two years, he was an assistant coach to the US Pre-Elite Heavyweight team. He spent the summer of 1991 in Cuba as a member of the Pan American team and was a member of the 1992-95 US World Championship teams and the 1996 Olympic Team.
At Washington College, Davenport also serves as the compliance coordinator and is an adjunct professor. He maintains several blogs on rowing and is the founder of CoachingSportsToday, a business he describes as helping clients “survive and thrive in today’s wild world of coaching sports.” He has written several books, including Nuts and Bolts Guide to Rigging and Excel with the NCAA Bylaws, speaks regularly at coaching conferences and workshops, and is a primary educational consultant for USRowing.
Prior to arriving at Washington College, Davenport was head coach at the University at Albany. He graduated from Florida Institute of Technology in 1978, where he won several Dad Vail medals and later, as an assistant coach, helped FIT win several national titles. He earned his doctorate in educational innovation and leadership from what is now Wilmington University.
In an article in the June/July 2013 issue of Athletic Management, Davenport writes about the “High Performance Program for Division III Coaches” he directs to help Washington College coaches excel.
Davenport speaks at the most recent College-hosted Rowing Talks conference, a professional development day for crew coaches.