Aug. 13, 2003
SEATTLE - Husky Hall of Famer Eleanor McElvaine, a UW assistant coach since 1990, will be named Washington's head women's rowing coach, Director of Athletics Barbara Hedges announced Wednesday. McElvaine will officially assume the title of women's head coach on Sept. 1.
"I am thrilled that Eleanor is succeeding Jan Harville as head coach of women's crew at the University of Washington," Hedges said. "Her history with the program, as a rower and a coach, in addition to a well-conceptualized vision of the future Washington rowing, will ensure a smooth transition and continue the legacy of excellence for the program."
A native of Everett, Wash., the 40-year-old McElvaine becomes just the third women's head coach at Washington since 1980, during which time Husky women's crews have earned 22 national collegiate titles. McElvaine replaces longtime head coach Jan Harville, who retired in June after 16 years at the helm of the UW women's program.
"I don't just have shoes to fill, I have hip waders," McElvaine said. "The good news is, I've been fishing next to Jan for the last 13 years. When I rowed here in the 1980s, I felt it was an honor to race with the Washington uniform on. I feel the same sense of honor and responsibility now as I take on the mantle of head coach, and look forward to continuing the tradition of excellence that is Washington rowing."
Washington is the first collegiate head coaching position for McElvaine, who has worked for the last 13 years as a women's novice coach, both at Washington and for U.S. Rowing. McElvaine's pupils formed the UW varsity four that won three-straight gold medals at the NCAA Championships from 1999-2001, giving the Huskies three of the possible six titles awarded since the championships began in 1997.
In 2001, McElvaine was inducted into the Husky Hall of Fame as a member of the 1983 national champion women's crew. In four years as a Husky rower from 1982-85, McElvaine helped Washington to three-consecutive varsity eight national titles, rowing in the six seat.
"Eleanor's dedication and hard work during her time at Washington, both as a rower and a coach, are what have made her so successful," UW men's head coach Bob Ernst said. "She's trained for this for a long time, and is eminently qualified to do the job."
McElvaine has also excelled as a coach on the national level. In 1994, both McElvaine and Harville were honored by U.S. Rowing with its Woman of the Year award for "outstanding service to rowing in the United States." McElvaine was named head coach of the U.S. Junior National Team in 2000, and led the United States' four-oared crew to a gold medal at the 2000 Junior World Championships - the first gold medal ever won by the U.S. junior women - and a silver medal at the event in 2001.
A 1985 graduate of Washington with a degree in history, McElvaine attended Cascade High School in Everett. She was honored as the Everett Herald's Woman of the Year in 1984, following her junior season at Washington.