A Brief History of UCI’s Crew Program December 5, 2013Posted by ucisca in Athletics, Early UCI Campus.
Tags: Crew, Duvall Hecht, Rowing, Shellmaker Island
Crew became one of UCI’s six founding sports in 1965. Duvall Hecht founded the program and was the Head Coach for many years. He had been an Olympic gold medal winner while at Stanford in 1959. In 1963 he proposed to Chancellor Aldrich that UCI introduce crew. He had the idea that Newport Harbor, especially the channel between Lido Island and the Newport Beach mainland, would be a perfect course for racing. Hecht raised funds for equipment and for construction of a boat house at Shellmaker Island. The rowing program has a long line of highly successful athletes. UCI has sent six athletes to compete for the United States in the Olympics. Unfortunately, the rowing program was cut as a Varsity NCAA team in 2009, as part of significant campus financial cutbacks that year. Duvall Hecht returned as coach to help bring back the program in the 1990s, as he has done more recently to keep crew moving forward. The UCI men’s rowing team, which has been part of Campus Recreation’s club sports program since 2009, practices daily at the UCI crew base in the Back Bay. In April of 2013, the UC Irvine men’s rowing team took first place in the varsity eight-man event at the Western Intercollegiate Rowing Association championship. UCI overcame such league rivals as UCSB and UCLA to win its first WIRA championship title in 11 years.