June 10, 2010
MADISON, Wis. -- There is a new website dedicated to Wisconsin rowing that was recently created by the University of Wisconsin-Madison archives.
Originating in 1874, men's crew is the oldest sport at the University of Wisconsin. It also occupies a unique place in sports, because there are no athletic scholarships for crew. Despite this handicap, crew has been very successful, bringing 19 national championships to UW in various events.
This exhibit tells the story of men's crew at UW through text, images and audio. The site was put together by Tyler Kennedy, a former SLIS student, with contributions by Brad Taylor, author of "Wisconsin Where They Row." This exhibit was made possible by Bradley F. Taylor of the Friends of the UW Men's Crew, through donations to the UW Archives.
The website contains numerous photos and narrative about the origin of crew on the UW campus. Some of the photos date back to 1882 and includes photos and biography information about the earliest coach, Andrew O'Dea from Austraila.
There are also audio clips from those familiar with the program include Coach Mike Murphy, who was recorded as part of the university's oral history project. Murphy was hired away from Yale in 1928-34 and coached the team during the difficult Depression.
The site highlights the different era's and coaches, and chronicles the many successes of the program. Former UW coach Randy Jablonic (1968-95) talks in audio clips about his former coach and mentor, Norm Sonju. Sonju, who coached from 1946-68, was the second-longest serving coach behind Jablonic. The Jablonic era gave way to current coach Chris Clark, whose team won a national title at the 2008 Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship.
Former longtime sports information director Jim Mott summarizes the history of the rowing program in this three-minute audio clip. A timeline on rowing can be found here. Or in Bradley F. Taylor's book, Wisconsin Where They Row, University of Wisconsin Press, 2005.
Check out more online pictorial histories at the Archives and Oral History section of the UW-Madison Libraries.