Former Olympic Gold Medalist Wyatt Allen Joins Heavyweight Coaching Staff
Wyatt Allen, a two-time Olympian and the 2007 USRowing Male Athlete of the Year, will join the Princeton heavyweight rowing program as assistant coach for the 2014-15 season, it was announced by head coach Greg Hughes.
Allen, who helped the U.S. men’s 8+ to a world record and an Olympic gold medal in 2004, will replace Spencer Washburn, who will become the head coach at Deerfield Academy.
“Wyatt’s impact on the sport of rowing speaks for itself,” Hughes said. “In the boat, Wyatt achieved greatness rarely seen over the last 40 years in the history of American rowing. He’s been a national champion, world champion, Henley champion and an Olympic champion. As a coach, he has proven that he can lead others to impressive successes, with his crews winning Pac 12 championships, an IRA national championship, and the Temple Cup at Henley in just four years.
“All of this success is the product of Wyatt’s tireless work ethic and his ability to connect his experience with the goals and expectations of others,” Hughes added. “I am thrilled to have Wyatt joining the Princeton boathouse staff and I am very excited to work with him and learn from him in the years to come.”
A 2001 graduate of Virginia, Allen rowed in the U.S. men’s 8+ at both the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games. He was a seven-time member of the U.S. national team, and he was inducted into the National Rowing Foundation's Hall of Fame in 2010.
His coaching career has taken him to both Washington and California, two of the sport’s preeminent powers. After one year with the Huskies (2009), he moved to California to serve as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. In 2011, he led the freshman eight to both a national and Henley championship.
“I'm excited to join the Princeton heavyweight men's program and I am extremely appreciative to Coach Hughes and the administration for the opportunity,” Allen said. “The student-athletes and coaching staffs of the four rowing programs at Princeton are second to none and I look forward to working with all of them to create fast boats on Carnegie.”
Allen joins a program coming off its best IRA Championships performance since 2006. The heavyweights lose only two seniors off a varsity eight that placed fourth in the grand final, while the second varsity earned a silver medal. Ironically, the Tigers finished second to California.
Hughes called the 2V performance Princeton’s best at the IRAs in six-seven years, and it was a most fitting conclusion to his highly successful partnership with Washburn, which went back to their days together leading the Princeton men’s lightweights to the 2009 Sprints and IRA national championship.
“Spencer’s impact on rowing at Princeton is immeasurable,” Hughes said. “First as an athlete, then as a coach, he has consistently proven himself as a winner. This success was not just seen in results, but also in the way that Princeton trained and raced. Spencer is the hardest worker I’ve ever known and he leads by example with the kind of attitude and character that inspires those around him to strive for excellence in what they do and the way that they do it.
“After seven years with Spencer as a part of our program, we are all going to miss him, but his legacy is strong and it will continue on,” he added. “I am so grateful for everything that Spencer made possible for generations of Princeton Rowers and for me as co-coach and friend. I wish Spencer all the best up at Deerfield. He is pursuing a passion that has long pulled him and the fact that he earned this opportunity is evidence that good things happen to good people. Thank you and good luck Spencer.”
Allen echoed Hughes’ sentiments.
“I also recognize that I have big shoes to fill at Princeton,” he said. “Spencer, through his hard work and leadership, has helped put the program in an exceptionally strong position going forward. My goal is to continue building off of the momentum Spencer has created.”