Now in his 19th season as the head coach of Boston University men's crew, Rodney Pratt is excited to build off the improvements made by the varsity throughout the 2008 spring season.
BU's varsity eight struggled in 2008, going 3-6 in dual races. The Terriers did claim the Bill Cup with wins against Dartmouth and Rutgers before sweeping George Washington. BU's steps forward came during the Eastern Sprints and the IRA after a line-up change enabled the crew to row faster and more together than before.
Four of Pratt's former and current rowers will be competing in the 2008 Beijing Games. Alumni Will Daly (US lightweight 4-), Florian Mennigen (German 8+), and Jozef Klaassen and current Terrier Meindert Klem (Dutch 8+) will all be competing in the XXIX Olympiad.
While at Boston University, Pratt has been instrumental in maintaining the traditions and standards associated with Boston University men's crew, as well as consistently growing and improving the program.
Pratt earned the Eastern Association of Rowing College (EARC)'s 2005 Coach of the Year honor after leading his heavyweight team to its best-ever finish at the Eastern Sprints in May, 2004. The men's varsity eight, seeded ninth, finished fourth overall in the Grand Final. With their fourth-place finish, a fifth in the freshmen eights, and an eighth in the second varsity event, the Terriers had their best overall finish ever in the history of the Sprints and a fourth-place finish in the Rowe Cup.
The Terriers' 2005 spring campaign also included wins over Syracuse, Rutgers, Columbia, Wisconsin and MIT, while their only losses came to Northeastern in the Arlett Cup, Dartmouth in a tri-race at Rutgers and Brown in a dual. In the process, BU earned its first Jablonic Cup (versus Wisconsin and MIT) since 1995.
In 1999, Pratt saw a dream realized when the B.L. and Alice DeWolfe Boathouse was dedicated. Pratt was a catalyst in the great fundraising effort to build this magnificent Charles River landmark as it now stands.
He began rowing in his native England, competing for Sidney Sussex College at Cambridge University, several club crews, and for Scotland in the Senior "B" Internationals. Pratt is no stranger to other aspects of university life. He earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Cambridge University, matriculating there in 1971. Pratt came to the United States as a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Wisconsin.
Rowing lured him out of the laboratory and into the coaching launch at Mendota Rowing Club. He was instrumental in turning this club from an informal group to one of the finest junior rowing programs in the nation. Pratt left Wisconsin in 1986 to coach full-time at the U.S. Naval Academy. While at Navy, Rodney was able to lead his freshmen crews to several medals at the Eastern Sprints and the IRAs.