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Davenport to Head New USRowing Education Initiative

by Ed Moran, ed@usrowing.org | Jun 27, 2016
USRowing is pleased to announce that Mike Davenport will join the staff as the organization's Chief of Educational Assets. Davenport has been a familiar name in rowing and sports education for more than three decades. He’s coached for 35 years – the last 26 as the head coach at Washington College in Chestertown, Md. – earned a Doctorate of Education in educational innovation and leadership, taught business management as a member of Washington College's faculty, ran the popular Rowing Talks symposium and has written seven books.
Mike at water's edge2PRINCETON, N.J. – Mike Davenport has been a familiar name in rowing and sports education for more than three decades.

He’s coached for 35 years – the last 26 as the head coach at Washington College in Chestertown, Md. – earned a Doctorate of Education in educational innovation and leadership, taught business management as a member of Washington College's faculty, ran the popular Rowing Talks symposium and has written seven books.

And those are only some of the many achievements listed on his resume.

Today he adds a new title to the list, as USRowing is pleased to announce that Davenport will join the staff as the organization's Chief of Educational Assets.

In this new position, Davenport will work to create a multimedia, educational platform that will draw together various available educational assets to share with the general rowing populace and to help continue to grow the sport in the United States.

"Mike has always been someone who looked at the big picture of what the sport could do for you as an athlete, how you could better the sport as a coach and how you can interact with the sport as a member and be engaged,” said Glenn Merry, USRowing Chief Executive Officer.

Merry said Davenport will head the new USRowing initiative, which will have a different approach to education.

“In the past, we’ve had coaching education and most of our emphasis has been on coaching, technique and safety. It’s been oriented toward one group of people. But the sport has evolved greatly over the last 10 years, and there are a lot of different educational assets that I think we can bring to the table and help effectuate this knowledge transfer,” he said.

For Davenport, the opportunity was a perfect fit.

“I was really excited when Glenn called,” said Davenport, who will retire from his position at Washington College in July. “It was really interesting. When he called, I didn’t even look at the caller ID. I got the phone halfway to my ear, and I thought, ‘this phone call is going to change my life,’ in a good way.

“I love Washington College and I love coaching and I’ll still keep my hands in it because I love that. But this is just a natural transition,” he said. “There are very limited opportunities to stay in sports and move on from coaching, and this is such a great transition from having a really enjoyable career in coaching. As soon as it popped up, I was like, ‘Bingo. I’m there.’”

Davenport said he has always enjoyed working with USRowing behind the scenes as an educational consultant and is looking forward to helping the association become a leader in sports education.

His efforts will be geared toward not just bringing together and developing educational materials about coaches, referees and safety issues, but also on club development and management and the business of rowing.

“I’m going to help USRowing develop a world-class educational system,” Davenport said. “What I’m really going to try to do is not necessarily create the content, but help other people access the content.

“We’ve got all these different, great educational components and content and smart people, but it’s really widespread. It’s diverse and it’s hard to get a hold of and really elusive for people to get and use. I’m going to help make that information easily accessible to members and anybody else that wants to use them, and also bring it all into the digital world."

For USRowing, the position is critical, as one of the keys to continued growth will be education, Merry said.

“I feel that one of the underpinnings to our success over the next five years, the successful growth of the sport, is having information that people can use to quickly learn what they need to do to start a new club, to quickly come in and be a competent and viable coach, information for officials that is consistent and professional and to have integrity in the information so that everyone is officiating the same way.

"We want to provide materials and information on fundraising and the business of the sport,” he said. “And we want this to be not just USRowing pushing this out, but gathering everyone together and all of us lifting the sport to multiple levels of growth. USRowing is now a community of almost 100,000 people, and Mike is the person to help lift the group together."

About USRowing
USRowing is a nonprofit organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing has 85,000 individual members and 1,300 member organizations, offering rowing programs for all. USRowing receives generous support from the National Rowing Foundation and its corporate sponsors and partners. For more information, contact: USRowing Communications, (609) 751-0710, media@usrowing.org.
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