Chuck Crawford started Delaware men’s rowing team in the spring of 1991. While simultaneously coaching the women’s program, which had its inaugural season the year before, Chuck spent the first year teaching the all-novice athletes the basic techniques of rowing. The following year the men’s team started racing other schools and competed for the first time at the Dad Vail regatta in Philadelphia.
Starting with about 20 athletes the first year and 30 the second, the team steadily grew during the nineties and continued to add to its list of accomplishments. Chuck and his coaching staff continued to follow the “Sprints Style” of building a program by concentrating on fielding both competitive Varsity and Novice boats, rather than combining the two.
In the early nineties, the Dad Vail was the only collegiate championship regatta for clubs who were not invited to Eastern Sprints. In 1992, Chuck guided his crew in their first competitive season to a second place finish to the University of Massachusetts at Dad Vails in what was then called the O’Brien Cup.
In 1993, the program won its first Dad Vail championship in the men’s freshmen lightweight eight, and followed up in 1994 with a repeat championship in the freshmen lightweight eight and a bronze in the Varsity eight. Chuck continued to coach both programs until 1995, and at the ’95 Dad Vail had the men’s and women’s Varsity eights in the grand finals.
By 1996 the team consistently had at least four competitive eights at both the Varsity and freshman levels, and continued to improve its finishes at regattas. That year Delaware’s Varsity eight finished second at Dad Vails to Temple.
Chuck left the program from 1997-2000 to return to coach at St. Joseph’s Prep in Philadelphia. During this short period, the team had five head coaches between Al Vople, Ed Chan, Frank Skomorucha, Mike Keating and Nate Clark. In the spring of 1999 the team moved from Wilmington Rowing Center to its current location 1/2 mile downstream at the WYRA boathouse. The roster numbers dropped and the team focused on competing in fours. The [program] experienced success in the fours, with multiple medals at local and regional regattas, including a bronze at the Dad Vail in 1999 in the Novice four.
With coaching support from John Williams, Chuck returned to Delaware Crew in 2001. Without the ability to give the scholarships needed to attract heavyweight high school recruits, Chuck decided to concentrate building a lightweight program because the team would be able to compete on a level playing field and better develop as a whole around that category.
By 2003, Delaware lights had become a highly competitive crew. With the Varsity boat containing two future national team members, Evan Price ‘04 and Ivan Baldytchev ‘06, Delaware won the Dad Vail lightweight event and finished sixth at IRAs, knocking off the past year’s winner, Yale.
With financial assistance from the Dad Vail committee and The University of Delaware Alumni Association, in 2003 Delaware was able to travel to England to compete in the Henley Royal Regatta. After advancing to the second day by beating Trinity College – Dublin, Delaware lost by a length to eventual Temple Cup champions Oxford Brooks.
With the credibility established by the ’03 lightweights, Delaware began to recruit even more lightweight rowers from high school and began to enlist heavyweight rowers who wanted to row for the program. To satisfy the growing size of the program, Chuck brought in coaches Vince Puma to coach the freshman lightweights, Joe Kleiman to coach the freshman heavyweights, and Andy Belden to coach the Varsity lightweights.
From 2004 to 2007, Delaware lightweights were able to compete in the Eastern Sprints championships and also supplemented their duel racing schedule against the Sprints programs. Additionally, both the lightweight and heavyweight squads were able to compete at the IRA National Championship until 2008--before the anti-club ruling in 2009, with the lightweights in the eight and the heavyweights in small boats.
The heavyweights began developing their own success, with the Varsity eight winning the CAA championship in 2002, 2003 and between 2005-2007. Additionally, in 2006 Chuck was able to place both the varsity and junior varsity eights in the Dad Vail grand final, starting a stretch of steady growth with the heavyweight program.
It was also during this period that Joe Kleiman began having success with the freshmen programs. The freshmen heavyweights garnered a silver medal in 2007 and both the freshmen heavyweight and lightweight eights won the Dad Vail championships in 2008. Complementing those wins with a lightweight eight silver medal, the program was able to claim the Kerr Cup at the Dad Vail for the best men’s team performance at the regatta, a title the program retained in 2009 (co-winners) and 2010.
During the spring of 2009 under coach Joe Federici, the Varsity lightweights won the Dad Vail championship in his first season. With Federici at the helm of the lightweight program, the varsity lights saw a [period] of increased competitiveness in duel racing. Additionally, the varsity lightweight athletes were key rowers in the combination Varsity eight UD raced at the 2010 and 2011 Dad Vail regattas, which yielded silver and bronze medals, respectively.
As Delaware Crew continues to grow in size and increase its level of competition, the team is grateful to receive increasing support from its coaching staff, alumni, parents, and other donors of time and money who wish to help.
National Team Members
U.D. Head Coach 1991-1996; 2001-Present
1991 Pan American Games - Men's Four with Coxswain Coach - 2nd; Men's Four without Coxswain Coach - 2nd
1983 Pan American Games - Men's Pair with Coxswain Coach - 2nd; Men's Pair without Coxswain Coach - 3rd
1982 Junior World Rowing Championship - Men's Junior Eight Coach - 2nd
1980 Junior World Rowing Championship - Men's Junior Eight Coach - 9th
1972 World Rowing Championship - Men's Lightweight Eight - 1st
1968 Junior World Rowing Championship - Men's Junior Eight - 3rd
1967 Junior World Rowing Championship - Men's Junior Eight - 7th
U.D. Assistant Coach 1992-1996
1980 Junior World Rowing Championships – Team Staff
1984 World Rowing Championship - Men's Lightweight Eight - 5th
U.D. Freshmen/Novice Lightweight Coach 2004-2007
2004 World Rowing Championship - Men's Pair with Coxswain - 8th
2006 World Rowing Championship - Men's Pair with Coxswain - 4th
2008 World Rowing Championship – Men’s Pair with Coxswain – 9th
U.D. Lightweight Rower 2000-2004
2006 World Rowing Championship - Men's Lightweight Quad - 5th
U.D. Lightweight Rower 2002-2006
2007 World Rowing Championship - Men's Lightweight Single - 6th
U.D. Heavyweight Rower 2007-2011
2010 World Rowing Championship - Men's U23 Four with Coxswain - 9th
|Head Coach||Assistant Coach|
|1991 – 1996|
|Tom Ellis (1991 – 1996)|
|Mami Galloway (1992 – 1993)|
|Karen Klinger (1992 – 1993)|
|Amanda Wemple Kulka (1995 – 1996)|
|1996 – 1999|
|Mike Keenan (1996 – 2000)|
|Nate Clark (1996 – 1999)|
|1999 – 2000|
|Mike Keenan (1996 – 2000)|
|2001 – Present|
|John Williams (2001 – Present)|
|Chris Gorzinski (2002 – 2004)|
|John Heinzel (2002 – 2004)|
|Jon Heimal (2003 – 2005)|
|Sara McCloskey (2003 – 2004)|
|Vincent Puma (2003 – 2007)|
|Rob Colburn (2003 – 2007)|
|Alex Urbanik (2004 – 2005)|
|Rebecca Ivory (2005 – 2006)|
|Joseph Kleiman (2005 – 2010)|
|Andrew Belden (2006 – 2008)|
|Joseph Federici (2008 – Present)|
|Peter Seymour (2008 – Present)|
|Phillip Kleiman (2008 – Present)|
|John Flynn (2009 – Present)|