Eighteen years ago, Princeton Rowing set out to hire a boatman to handle a tradition-rich quartet of programs inside the Shea Rowing Center.
They turned to a man who had a varied set of skills, though none specifically included boat work. They believed in him, though, and moved him from one part of the Princeton campus to another.
Brad Woodrick paid that decision off every day of his 18 years with Princeton crew.
Woodrick, a boatman in title but far more to those who spent countless hours around Lake Carnegie, retired this fall. A small, informal (would there be any other way for Brad?) celebration will be held at the boathouse on October 27, and the Princeton coaches will begin a national search for a new
And while they will undoubtedly find somebody with the highest of qualifications, it may be impossible to replace the man himself.
Here are some thoughts from present and past co-workers:
Joe Murtaugh: There is no training program for riggers. They invent themselves. Brad is a living example of the proposition that excellence is found at the intersection of passion and knowledge. He came to the job with enthusiasm, strong mechanical ability, and pride in his work. And he turned himself into a legend. Very few among us are able to say that we are the best in the world at what we do. Brad can make that claim.
But Brad's Jedi-like mastery of boat repair is a small part of the contribution he made to the Princeton boathouse. A friend and counselor to both coach and athlete, he was often the voice of reason and perspective when we needed both desperately. I know he pulled me back from the edge more than once as an important race approached
And let's face it: Brad is a lot of fun to be around.
Princeton will be able to replace their rigger, but they won't be able to replace Brad.
Lori Dauphiny: Brad is the soul glue of the boathouse we will be lost without him. He could fix anything, boats or attitude. We love him and will miss him.
Greg Hughes: In his time at the boathouse, Brad revolutionized boat work and he has been widely regarded as the best in the business. More importantly, Brad was an inspiration to countless Princeton rowers. Nobody worked harder than Brad. Nobody cared more about Princeton Rowing than Brad. We always had the best equipment and we always looked good. Brad made sure of that. Brad also had a flare for naming boats: Hog 1, Hog 2, Hog Wild, NJ Transit, Jersey Fresh, U-Haul. How many of you remember big wins in boats carrying one of those names?
And, perhaps most importantly, Brad was a part of the culture of success at the boathouse. In his time, the boathouse won no fewer than 25 Sprints titles. I think that there is little question that Brad played an important role in each of those wins. I was just a sophomore when Brad started at the boathouse and I
have rarely known the boathouse without him. It goes without saying that Brad will be missed but there's also no question that his legacy will continue on strong. Thank you Brad!!!