New-York Historical Society's Bill Shannon Dictionary of New York Sports

Category Archives: Rowing

Jack Sulger

Jack Sulger (Rowing.  Born, New York, NY, Mar. 20, 1913; died, New York, NY, Jan. 2, 1979.)  One of the most popular and successful coaches in his sport, John J. Sulger was a major force in rowing for over 35 years.  Sulger was a six-time national champion as an oarsman, but earned his greatest distinctions as a coach and official.  He was the coach of the New York Athletic Club’s rowing team for nearly 30 years, from 1950 until his death.  He was manager of the U.S. team for the 1959 and 1963 Pan American Games.  In between, he handled the U.S. rowing team for the 1960 Olympics in Rome.  Sulger was a member of the board of directors of the U.S. Olympic Committee from 1953-72 and also served as president of the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen.  He was a member of the New York Police Department from 1941-69, a graduate of Fordham, held a B.L. from St. John’s and a Master of Laws from New York University.  He was admitted to the bar in 1954 and was a professor at John Jay College for nearly 15 years (1965-79).

Larry Klecatsky

Larry Klecatsky (Rowing.  Born, St. Paul, MN, Aug. 11, 1941.)  Dr. Lawrence J. Klectsky ranks as one of the finest rowers in New York history but it took an accident of military assignment to bring him to New York.  Klecatsky began rowing in 1957 on the Mississippi River as a member of his South St. Paul High School crew.  Both he and his family became influential parts of the Northwest International Rowing Association and he won his first national championship in 1967.  However, the next year Lt. Klecatsky was stationed at the Brooklyn Naval Station and decided to stay on in New York to pursue both his medical and athletic careers.  He joined the New York Athletic Club and has since won more U.S. and Canadian rowing championships than anyone else in the history of the sport.  During most of the late 1960s and early 1970s, he rowed the Elite 150-pound single scull competition in national championship events and continued in that area when the event became Elite Lightweight Single Sculls in 1976, dominating his specialty.  Klecatsky won more than 50 national championships and over 60 Canadian Henley world titles.  He also qualified for the U.S. Olympic team rowing squad in 1976.  While completing his medical studies, Klecatsky developed an interest in emergency medicine and was Director of the Department of Emergency Medicine at the New Rochelle Hospital Medical Center.  He was also an Associate Professor of Medicine at the New York Medical College.

Richard Glendon

Richard Glendon (Rowing.  Born, Boston, MA, Nov. 1, 1895; died, South Chatham, MA, Dec. 13, 1933.)  During the greatest days in the history of American rowing, when 100,000 or more spectators lined the banks of the Hudson River for the annual Intercollegiate championship regatta in the 1920’s, Richard J. Glendon’s crews were at the very top of the class.  Indeed, Columbia’s stirring victory in the famous 1929 “roughwater” race down the Hudson from Poughkeepsie, N.Y., is one of the four classics in the history of the Intercollegiate Rowing Association.  Four of the nine shells entered in this fabled varsity confrontation sank before completing the grueling four-mile distance.  Glendon was named head crew coach at Columbia on Aug. 21, 1925, and immediately set about building the Light Blue crews into championship caliber.  His freshman eight won at Poughkeepsie the following spring and his varsity eight brought Columbia its first I.R.A. title since 1914 in 1927.  In 1928, the Lions chased California down the river in record time but finished second despite eclipsing the record for the distance.  But in 1929, Columbia was not to be denied despite howling winds and brutal water that cut the crowd to 90,000.  Starting in lane 7, well into the river, the Lions fought to the lead three miles down as the boats in lanes 5, 6, 8 and 9 sank.  Then, in the final stretch, Washington came roaring up from its inside lane position, challenging and drawing even. But the Lions answered the challenge with a final burst that sent them home in front and pulling away at the finish.  That crew finished its season undefeated and was hailed as one of the greatest in rowing history.

Horace Davenport

Horace Davenport (Rowing.  Born, Buffalo, NY, Jan. 26, 1907; died, Manchester-by-the-Sea, MA, Sept. 15, 1991.)  As the most celebrated member of Columbia’s most famous rowing eight, Horace E. Davenport represented the finest traditions of intercollegiate and amateur athletics.  Davenport was an all-around athlete at Columbia, playing three seasons of varsity football and competing on the swimming team for four years.  It was in rowing that Davenport gained his greatest distinction.  He captained the freshman boat that won the Intercollegiate Rowing Association championship at Poughkeepsie in 1926, winning the two-mile race by 10 seconds over California.  He then served as the No. 7 oar in a boat that won the varsity I.R.A. championship twice in three years over the four-mile course in the Hudson River in what was one of the major sports attractions in the nation in the 1920s.  In 1927, the Columbia shell covered the distance in 20:57 to beat Washington and California.  California beat Columbia in 1928 but the Lions gained their revenge in 1929 with a victory over Washington.  That Columbia crew achieved many distinctions, including winning the Childs Cup regatta against Princeton and Pennsylvania in both 1928 and 1929, giving Columbia two straight victories in the race for the first time since the competition began in 1879.  Davenport was voted the best athlete in the 1929 class and subsequently served as chairman of the National Rowing Foundation.

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The Bill Shannon Biographical Dictionary of New York Sports is an open database of sports biographies maintained by Jordan Sprechman and Marty Appel. We welcome public and scholarly contributions and suggestions.

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About Bill Shannon

A prolific author, wire service sports reporter, long time Major League Baseball official scorer, football statistician, sports museum founder, theatrical agency owner and public ... read more

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