John Terwilliger - 1984 Olympic Silver medalist. 1981 SPU crew alumus
History and Vision Statement
Program History: In 1973 an ambitious Seattle Pacific College graduate student, and national champion rower from the UW, David Covey began recruiting men to start a men's rowing club. Realizing early on that there was considerable interest in a women's crew as well, he was joined by Bernie Dalke and the Seattle Pacific Crew club was begun.
The burgeoning new program proved an early success despite its rather austere beginnings. The two teams shared a single borrowed hull, which they commuted to Sand Point Naval Station to utilize. Wading it out in the icy waters the fledgling group managed to prosper in short order, gaining some key victories early on to seal the future of the program. This early era saw such esteemed coaches through the program as Bill Mickelson, Dan Nelson, and rower/coach David Godfrey.
Struggling along financially for the next four years by plucking ducks for a local butcher and peddling various items on the street, a campaign was begun by team members, despite athletic department resistance, to raise the rowing club to varsity status. Then University President McKenna, advised by key crew advocate Vice President Norm Edwards, decided that the sport was ideal for both the location of Seattle Pacific as well as for the "Ivy League of the west" image he desired to cultivate. An on-campus shellhouse was added on to the back side of Brougham and in 1978 Seattle Pacific varsity crew was born. While representing little in the way of actual funding, the program nevertheless continued to grow given its elevated status, and provided for the first national championship performances by Seattle Pacific crews. Under coaches Rich Laurance and Roy Dunbar, the Falcon crews won bronze medals in the men's and women's varsity fours at the 1981 Dad Vail Rowing Association Championships, and the Women's Collegiate Rowing Championships respectively.
As enrollment and interest in rowing then grew in the early eighties, a key figure entered the scene whose vision for the program and determination would establish SPU Crew as a definitive athletic program once and for all. Pushing the administration hard, then coach Jim Schultz, a world class sculler himself, gained the program a reasonable operational budget, consolidated the two teams under the current one head coach/assistant coach system, and secured a full-time status as head coach. This allowed a more serious commitment to the increasingly competitive nature of the sport as well as addressing the upgrade of equipment, which really saw its first substantial modernization during Jim Schultz's tenure. These things all combined to foster the crew's first major regatta results in the mid eighties with SPU's first gold medal by the women's light eight at Pacific Coast Rowing Championships in 1986. Before Jim's prosperous ten-year career came to a close, he ushered in the next generation for SPU Crew in acquiring a new dock and in providing instrumental impetus and input for the new shellhouse, which are still among the finest anywhere. In 1987 Jim hired SPU alumni rower Keith Jefferson as his assistant, it was Keith who was to take the reigns and wield them effectively in the budget-starved 90's assuming the head coach role in the autumn of 1991. This decade, which had seen the loss of nearly 85 percent of the program budget, has required leadership and innovative methods to not only maintain but to expand the program despite constant pressures to eliminate it. Into the new century it has been leadership at all levels that has established the most competitive program in its brief history, gaining its first of seven women's national championship in 2000 and its highest national finish for men in 2001. Moreover, it is leadership that now maintains the program mantle and will for the foreseeable future.
Vision Statement: At no time has Seattle Pacific University Crew been more competitive than it is right now. The fleet and facility are increasingly modernized each year, we've streamlined the training with the latest in quality, elite level methods, and increased standards for conditioning and testing. Accordingly, men's and women's crews have represented Seattle Pacific at national level championships twenty-one times in the last ten years alone, medalling 13 times, and winning our first of seven national women's titles beginning in 2000. Falcon crews have earned an impressive twenty-seven medals at the western/pacific coast regional level championships since 1996, including fourteen gold medals. Even in light of these successes, however, I envision this program growing to even greater national prominence as the finest Christian Universtiy rowing program in the country, achieving increasing excellence to be modeled through the character of its athletes and through their consistent national championship results.