Date Posted:05/16/2008, 12:30PM
BRUNSWICK, Maine - Bowdoin College rowing coach Gil Birney was honored as the Collegiate Coach of the Year by the Dad Vail Regatta last weekend in Philadelphia. The award is presented annually to a collegiate rowing coach that has had outstanding success and has also contributed to the Dad Vail Regatta.
Birney has been the Rowing coach at Bowdoin since the fall of 1995. In the past dozen years, his infectious energy and leadership have propelled the Polar Bear crew teams to unprecedented successes.
A rower at Williams College, where he was a history major, from 1968-72, he was captain of the squad as a senior and remained at Williams upon graduation to coach the novices in 1973. His teaching duties carried him from the Brooks School in North Andover, Massachusetts to St. Paul's School in Concord, New Hampshire where, while teaching history and religion, he also coached the girls rowing team and nordic ski squad.
After arriving at Bowdoin, his ability to lead a club-status team to the highest level of collegiate competition has been astounding. At Bowdoin, he has had many noteworthy successes including medals for men and women at the Head of The Charles and Philadelphia's Dad Vail regatta, where in 2003 the Polar Bears had four crews on the medal stand, including 2 golds and a course record in the Men's Pair. But the most impressive finishes of all came that summer on the Thames in Henley, in an international field, where the women raced to the semifinal and the men to the quarterfinal where they lost to Cambridge by a length.
Birney is married to a Bowdoin graduate, the former Edie Hazard, and the pair run a small flower farm on the banks fo the Royal River in North Yarmouth, Maine.