Resignation of Coach Rob

january 20, 2015

Farewell to Coach Rob

    On Monday, January 5th Rob Canavan resigned from his position as head coach and varsity men’s coach of the Georgia Tech Crew Team.
    Coach Rob brought heart to the team. His dedication, his sacrifices, and his unwavering faith in his rowers have allowed us to not only survive for 21 years but also thrive. He provided the stability a once-small club team needed to become one of the most successful college rowing programs in the south. It has now reached the age were we can confidently allow Coach Rob to tackle new challenges in the rowing world, while we diligently continue to show others the strength in his teachings.
    For the remainder of this season, Coach Jay Skuban will carry out the administrative duties of Head Coach, with Coach Chase Powell and Coach Ben Loeffler instructing the varsity men.

    From the eternally grateful GT Crew family, farewell Coach Rob.

january 20, 2015

Coach Rob’s Farewell to Georgia Tech

    Poll anyone you have ever met who is a coach. Ask them why they chose coaching over any other profession. I’d be willing to wager that a high percentage of coaches would say that their decision was influenced by a coach that inspired them so greatly at one point in their life that they knew they had to enter the field. I owe my career as a coach to the dedicated coaches at Temple University Crew and Vesper Boat Club. These men challenged me to push my limits and to become someone who values integrity, morals, discipline, hard work and sportsmanship.
    As my coaches inspired me, I strove to inspire my rowers at Georgia Tech. Our motto for the last twenty years was “Plan to Win, Prepare to Win, Expect to Win.” Georgia Tech Crew set goals for coaches, individuals and for the team. Grueling daily workouts prepared us for season’s expectations. Hopefully, the athletes acquired positive experiences that will stay with them for life.
    I started coaching GT Crew in 1994. The team was small. The fleet was comprised of three eights and two fours. The Zung was the novice boat which everyone “cut their teeth” on. The Zung is now hanging in the GT bookstore. If you look closely, there is still blood on the wooden gunnels from novice rowers banging their knuckles. Today GT Crew boasts of a fleet of 9 eights, 6 fours, 6 pairs and 16 singles. There are four boat house buildings in Roswell and new small boats boat house in Smyrna. I thank all those involved in the process of GT Crews growth and development. So many people contributed money, time and other resources to help our team thrive.
    There are too many memories to share in this note but I’d like to tell of a few highlights. I remember Janet Kinard crossing the line from bow seat to win Georgia Tech’s first ever Varsity Women’s medal in the 4+ at the Dad Vail National Championships. This is memorable because Janet is only 5 feet tall and was frequently mistaken as a coxswain. After the Men won the Light 4+ gold medal in Philly, my Assistant Coach Steve Georgalis and I ran at each other for a “man hug”, we hit so hard we each were seeing stars. GT has won 35 Dad Vail National Championship medals since 1994 and I cherish each one.
    I will miss the annual spring break trip to Panama City Beach! Baywatch Olympics, athlete-made meals, dodging ski boats and tons of miles make the trips memorable. The “coaches night out” with Lucy, Slim, Georgalis, Ethan, Ross, McNairs, Dana, Cassi, Nick, Liz, Pete, Curt, Chase, Ben, HH, Alyssa, Maddie, and Jack among a few others were a blast. What happens in PC… Slim always made the tattoo wager interesting during the annual Novice vs. Varsity scrimmage.
    I have had the privilege of coaching many fine athletes at Tech. Marcus Millard, Eric Koep, Jordan Smith and Sean Gibel all competed on the U.S. National team after their career at Tech. Many others have competed on a high level rowing at Club Nationals and other various regattas; Chad Markle, Sarah Schwegman, Austin Nichols, David Judah, John Kaptain all come to mind.
    I’d have to say there was never a day when I didn’t look forward to coming to the Boat House to coach at Tech. The obstacles that a GT rower must overcome sets them apart from many other programs such as, the long commute on 400 just to get to practice and a rigorous curriculum that rivals all Universities across the country. Their passion for rowing allowed these student athletes to overcome these challenges. That passion always shone through in their rowing. The same passion pours into other parts of their lives like school, work, family relationships, and social lives. This passion and commitment allowed them to become champions.
    I want to thank the GTCAA for their support over the years. They came up big during moments of need. After the big trailer accident years ago, the Alumni were able to purchase a new trailer for the team. Alumni also produced enough funds for eight new training singles. These singles are now in the new Smyrna Boat House. What a valuable resource you have provided for the team!
    Two big supporters of the team gave their invaluable service. Thanks to Roz Meyers and Rich Steele who have worked as Faculty Advisors. Their insight has been much appreciated. The parents have been generous with their time and money over the years. Who can deny that Gini Loeffler has been the MVP parent supporter of the decade!?
    I want to thank Kelly “Crew Widow” Canavan for being understanding of a coach’s long hours. She has put up with countless 9pm dinners.
    Finally, the officers of the club have been phenomenal. Serving as an officer is a huge responsibility along with their busy lives. In turn, they gain valuable experience that they will take with them for the remainder of their lives. There are too many to mention individually but I can say each of them have been great. I will note that a couple Officers helped change the focus and outcome of the team; Sarah Tourtelot, Jonathan Snow, Mike Smith, Maya Oren, Adam McKenzie, Jake Kazlow- all were game changers in some capacity.
    It is one of the most difficult decisions of my career but I must say goodbye to GT Crew. It is time for a new chapter in my career. You will still see me around the BH. I will continue to row my single as often as I can and I will coach a High School Crew. I will be watching out for the Yellow Jackets; a piece of Georgia Tech will always be in my heart.

    “I can’t wait for tomorrow…”
    Rob Canavan
    Head Coach Georgia Tech Crew 1994-2015
    Plan to win, Prepare to win, Expect to win

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