The Washington women's crew program has set the standard for excellence in rowing over the last two decades.
Foremost in that stretch has been Jan Harville, a rower at Washington and now head coach of the highly successful women's team. Her dedication to Washington spans over 25 years.
Entering her 23rd season overall and her 16th as head women's coach, Harville has built upon the legacy of women's rowing that has existed for nearly half a century. The Huskies are no strangers to national championship racing, having won a string of five consecutive varsity eight titles, from 1981-85, and when Harville took over as head coach in 1988, the transition was seamless.
In her first season as head coach, she led the varsity eight to a national championship after it had already won Pac-10 and Pacific Coast titles. A new era began when the sport became sanctioned by the NCAA in 1997. Washington, under Harville's guidance, was first to put its name in the record books as the Huskies, led by a gold medal performance by the varsity eight, claimed the initial team championship. They successfully defended the title in 1998, capping a two-year stint in which the varsity eight was undefeated in collegiate competition. The 2001 team brought Washington its third NCAA team championship in five years.
In 2002, Harville was voted the National Rowing Coach of the Year by her peers at the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA). She also collected Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors for the ninth time as Washington won its 11th consecutive conference championship. The Huskies' varsity eight went undefeated en route to its second straight national championship. The junior varsity also had a perfect record and won the NCAA title, marking the first time since 1987 that UW was victorious in both featured races.
Since the NCAA began sponsoring the women's championships six years ago, Harville has directed the team to three national titles, two NCAA runner-up finishes and a third-place showing.
The program accomplished another memorable `first' when Harville took her varsity eight to compete at the Henley Royal Regatta in England in July, 2000, the first year a women's open eight was contested. In the historic appearance, Washington again wrote its name in the record books as it defeated the University of Victoria in the grand final to capture the Henley Prize, the first women's trophy awarded since the regatta began in 1839.
During her tenure, Harville, who has been assisted by novice women's coach Eleanor McElvaine for the last 13 years, has coached 11 consecutive Pac-10 championship squads. Add to that gold or silver medals by the junior varsity in five of the last six NCAA regattas and three gold medals in the varsity four by McElvaine's novice rowers, and Washington's consistency at the national level is unparalleled.
Harville's success does not stop at Washington either. Numerous athletes have gone on to compete on national teams around the world and most recently, two Huskies - Anna Mickelson and Mary Whipple - were a part of the U.S. women's eight that won the 2002 World Championships in Seville, Spain.
Her resume includes success at every level, as a rower and a coach. Harville first came to Washington as an undergraduate, when she rowed for the Huskies from 1970 to 1973. The women's team competed in its first national championship regatta in 1972, on Green Lake in Seattle, and she won a silver medal in the pairs. She received the team's Most Inspirational Award in 1973.
She continued her rowing career following college, competing on the U.S. National Team from 1978 to 1984. During that span, Harville was a part of the women's eight that won three medals at the World Championships.
Harville is an Olympian as well, earning a spot on both the 1980 and 1984 rowing teams. Unable to compete in 1980 because of the United States' boycott of the Games, she continued training and, at the '84 games in Los Angeles, finished fourth as a part of the coxed-four.
As a coach, she has reached lofty heights. Harville began her Washington coaching career in 1980 when she was named assistant women's rowing coach. She led her novice team to four Pacific Coast crowns and one Pacific-10 Conference title in seven seasons. She succeeded current men's coach Bob Ernst as head of the women's team in 1988.
Harville is a nine-time Pac-10 Coach of the Year honoree, most recently in 2002. Her crews have dominated the Pacific Coast and Pac-10 Conference regattas, capping 11 straight varsity eight titles with sweeps of all four events in 1992, '99 and '00.
Harville is respected as an elite coach in collegiate, national and international circles. She began coaching on the national level in 1981 when she worked with the U.S. Olympic Festival team. Harville was a member of the U.S. National Team coaching staff from 1985-1988, when she was head of the U.S. Olympic Rowing Development Camp. She was head coach of the 1985 U.S. Olympic Festival West Team and took the U.S. Goodwill Games team to the Soviet Union in 1986. Harville was coach of the U.S. Senior B Team in 1986, and coached with the national team at the World Championships in 1986 and 1987.
From 1993-96, Harville served as an assistant to national team coach Hartmut Buschbacher. In 1995, she coached three crews to gold medals in Tampere, Finland, and in 1996, assisted with the U.S. Olympic Team in Atlanta. More recently, Harville assisted Buschbacher by coaching the women's pair to a bronze medal at the `98 World Championships in Cologne, Germany. In 1999, she coached the women's four to a bronze medal at the World Championships at St. Catherines, Ontario.
She was a member of the first NCAA Rowing Committee, the organizational group that was formed two years prior to the first championship in 1997.
During the 1991 United States Rowing Association Convention in Seattle, Harville was inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame as a member of the 1980 Women's Olympic Eight. The crew, with whom she remains close, held a 20-year reunion in 2000 at the Head of the Charles Regatta.
Both Harville and assistant coach Eleanor McElvaine were honored by U.S. Rowing with 1994 Woman of the Year awards in appreciation for their "outstanding service to rowing in the United States."
She won the prestigious Seattle Post Intelligencer Sports Star of the Year in 2002 following the Huskies' third NCAA title..
Harville received her Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology in 1974 and was a microbiologist at Seattle's Northwest Hospital from 1974 to 1980. She is a 1970 graduate of Roosevelt High School in Seattle. Harville and her husband, Dan, live in Edmonds.