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It’s All About the Chemistry. Man of the Year Gregg Hartsuff Accredits Teamwork to Success

by Sarah Marshall, smarshall@usrowing.org | Nov 24, 2015
It has been an impressive year for Michigan’s Gregg Hartsuff. A third-consecutive national title for his varsity eight at the 2015 ACRA Championships, the crew’s highest overall win percentage (.9643) and the highest victory percentage versus varsity opponents since 1994 and a gold medal at the World University Games to name a few. Somehow, receiving the title “USRowing Man of the Year” is still the highlight of 2015 for Hartsuff.

It has been an impressive year for University of Michigan’s Gregg Hartsuff, with a third-consecutive national title for his varsity eight at the 2015 ACRA Championships, the crew’s highest overall win percentage (.9643) and the highest victory percentage versus varsity opponents since 1994 and a gold medal at the World University Games, to name a few. Somehow, receiving the title, “USRowing Man of the Year” is still the highlight of 2015 for him.

“It is probably the biggest honor I have ever had,” said Hartsuff. “My USRowing number isHartsuff2015 copy 2 pretty low, and I have been involved in the sport a really long time. I love USRowing and I love the spirit that rowers have all over the world. They are good people and to be honored by my peers alongside other winners of this award, it is very flattering.”

The only all-time winning club coach in history and the man behind of the most successful college club program since 1994, Hartsuff has been the head coach of the Michigan men’s club team for close to a quarter of a century now and has the accolades that every coach dreams of.

During his time with the Wolverines, the varsity eight has had the highest finish at the IRAs of any club team except two and has been in the petite final five of the last 10 years that they were allowed to compete. Out of the 80 medals claimed at Dad Vails and ECACs, 28 of them are gold. Hartsuff is also one of only two head coaches to ever win the Dad Vail and ECAC varsity eight titles in the same year (2005), and has won the second most varsity eight titles in the history of the Dad Vail Regatta (five).

Through it all, Hartsuff claims that team chemistry, not incredible coaching, has been the key to Michigan’s success.

“A coach is only as good as the athletes he has. This group of guys has a very good chemistry with a good team culture that I saw being put into place now more than 20 years ago, and it just improves gradually every year. I don’t have to work too hard because they are all working together. These guys just like each other, so all I have to do is teach them how to row. How easy is that?”

A key player in the formation of ACRA in 2007, Hartsuff served as the first ACRA President until 2013 and was an integral part of the forming of the new organization’s rules, bylaws and philosophy that has seen the event grow into a national championships with over 1,500 participants and 60 clubs by the end of his presidency.

Hartsuff’s outlook for men’s rowing over the next 25 years is nothing but bright.

“It seems like an ever-changing landscape. I think one of the things that has been more and more discussed is that the old guard has moved on. Lately, I have been shocked at all of the new faces and realizing that now I am one of the coaches that has been around the longest. The younger group coming in is embracing new ideas. Change is coming. Coaches will continue to get organized and club programs will grow. The depth will continue to get better and we will see some amazing things.”

Hartsuff and his fellow 2015 award winners will be honored on December 5 at the 2015 USRowing Convention Annual Awards Reception. For more information, click here

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