Davis brings experience, enthusiasm to men’s rowing program

Correction appended

New men’s rowing head coach Mark Davis brings with him an array of job titles built over 16 years in the business: assistant coach at Hobart, head men’s and women’s coach at Colby, assistant women’s coach at Texas, head men’s coach at California-San Diego and freshman heavyweight coach and head recruiter at Yale.

A hefty resumé is not all he brings, however, as he carries an excitement to excel.

“I want to build on the strengths of the program and bring the successful experience I have at the collegiate level as well,” he said. “I want to bring a little bit of everything to the program.”

In high school, Davis was a dedicated rower and moved on to become the captain of the rowing team while at Hobart. After college, he switched his focus to coaching and has worked all over the country for almost two decades. There was, however, a specific reason for his coming to GW.

“I sensed [the team’s] strong passion and commitment,” he said. “I knew it would be an exciting program to be a part of. Also, the chance to be a head coach again was very appealing.”

Six weeks into the school year, the team’s diligence and ambition has Davis excited and eager to tap into its potential.

“It is really outstanding,” he said. “We practice from 7 to 9 a.m. Everybody is down at the boathouse at 6:45 ready to go. This shows that the guys are excited about practice. To be on time shows commitment.”

Assistant coach James Sands said he is excited to help Davis get familiarized with GW and also learn all he can from Davis’ experiences.

“It is nice to be under someone who sees me more as a working equal than as an assistant,” Sands said. “He has been a successful coach at a lot of different places and his freshman crews at Yale were all pretty darn good. I know I have a lot to learn from him.”

With a dedicated coach and eager players lined up, Davis has many goals for the team’s season.

“My goals are to get every aspect of the program up to the level of the top programs in the country that are in our conference,” he said. “To compete at that level, recruit at that level, fundraise at that level, all those things.”

The Colonials finished ninth at least year’s Eastern Springs, their highest-ever finish, before placing 15th in the national championships. Davis said he sees a lot of potential for both the program and the team members to continue to excel.

“I hope to be at this level, if not better,” he said.

If his former Yale colleague’s endorsement is correct, Davis’s focus should help him do just that.

“Rowing and coaching is his life’s priority,” Yale head coach John Pescatore said. “He is completely dedicated.”

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction: (October 12, 2009)

The Hatchet erroneously reported that Mark Davis coached at California-Santa Cruz. He coached at California-San Diego.

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