USRowing Announces 2017 Annual Award Winners

PRINCETON, N.J. – USRowing is pleased to announce the winners of 11 prestigious annual awards to be presented at the seventh-annual Golden Oars Awards Gala on November 15, in New York City, and at the USRowing Annual Convention Awards Reception on December 2, in Sarasota, Fla.

The following individuals will be honored for their outstanding contributions to the sport of rowing:

USRowing Medal of Honor – Jim Joy
John J. Carlin Service Award – T. Gary Rogers
Jack Kelly Award – John Chatzky
Jack Franklin Award – Tom Fuller
Anita DeFrantz Award – Arshay Cooper
Isabel Bohn Award – Jeff McGinnis
Clayton Chapman Award – Jim Buckalew
Man of the Year – Randy Benderson
Ernestine Bayer Award – Yasmin Farooq
Joan Zandbergen “Mama Z” Award – Tiffany Knapp
Julian Wolf Award – John Musial

The USRowing Male and Female Athletes of the Year will be announced following competition at the 2017 World Rowing Championships. Nominations are open until October 13 for the USRowing Club of the Year Award, which is based on a points system. In addition, USRowing will recognize seven Fan’s Choice Awards for athletes and coaches, voted on by the rowing community. Nominations will be open from October 1-8, 2017.

For more information about the 2017 Golden Oars Awards Gala, co-hosted by the National Rowing Foundation, click here. For more information about the USRowing Annual Convention, click here.

About the 2017 Award Winners

USRowing Medal – Jim Joy
Given in recognition to a U.S.-based  member of the rowing community who has rendered conspicuous service to, or accomplished extraordinary feats in rowing, the USRowing Medal is the highest honor the organization can bestow.

Novices to world and Olympic champions have benefited from Jim Joy’s holistic and technical approach to a cyclical non-fragmented rowing stroke, where there is a strong bond between body, shell and water, creating a state of flow within an integrated whole.

Joy’s early coaching experiences include the University of Western Ontario, M.I.T, Yale University and Wesleyan University, where he organized coaches conferences and taught a graduate course on the philosophy of sport. During this time, Joy helped start Craftsbury Sculling Camp, the first of its kind in North America. Craftsbury continues to operate as one of the most definitive training locations and experiences for scullers worldwide. In addition, Joy coached at Black Bear Sculling Camp in Hanover, N.H.

For more than 25 years, the Joy of Sculling coaching conferences, at sites in New York, Connecticut, Washington and California, have drawn more than 5,000 coaches from youth programs, clubs, schools, colleges and national teams.

Over a rowing career that has spanned seven decades, Joy, 82, has consistently demonstrated integrity, dedication, devotion, insight and passion for a sport to which he has given his life.

John Carlin Service Award – T. Gary Rogers
Awarded to honor an individual who has made significant and outstanding commitments in support of rowing.

Rowing legend and longtime supporter of rowing, T. Gary Rogers (1942-2017), was a major contributor to the success of rowing in the United States. Born in Stockton, Calif., Rogers spent his youth in Marin County and as a distinguished Eagle Scout, he attributed much of his personal character to his experiences as an oarsman and his family’s deeply held values of integrity and honor.

Rogers graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of California in 1963. He was named an All-University Athlete that same year and competed in the 1964 U.S. Olympic Trials. In 1968, he received a Master’s degree in business administration from Harvard Business School.

In addition to being a well respected and successful entrepreneur, Rogers devoted much of his time and resources to philanthropy, as the primary benefactor of the University of California Cal Crew Forever Endowment Fund, the T. Gary Rogers Rowing Center and the California Rowing Club for elite post-graduate oarsmen. He was also a member of USRowing’s High Performance Committee.

Rogers was dedicated to supporting, mentoring and fostering the next generation of rowers, holding numerous public service leadership positions and was the benefactor of the Rogers Family Foundation, which supports the University of California, education and activities for youth in Oakland and the East Bay, Bay Area hospitals, and bioscience research and innovation organizations.
Rogers’ passion for travel took him all over the world – to both the North and South Poles, the plains of the Serengeti and the Amazon jungle. He sought out challenges and fought fiercely to overcome them, living by the motto, “there is no such thing as can’t; there is only won’t.”

Jack Kelly Award – John Chatzky
Awarded to an outstanding individual who represents the ideals that Jack Kelly exemplified: superior achievements in rowing, service to amateur athletics, and success in their chosen profession, thereby serving as an inspiration to American rowers.

A fountain of energy, support and enthusiasm, John Chatzky is an inspiration to the rowing community and has supported U.S. athletes, from novices to Olympic gold medalists, be it a word of encouragement, or significant financial support. He has shown his dedication through underwriting U.S. National Team international racing efforts, providing much-needed meals and training support and hiring Olympic hopefuls to work flexible hours around their practice schedules.

A University of Pennsylvania coxswain, Chatzky was a U.S. National Team coxswain in 1977 and 1979 and was named to the U.S. Olympic team in 1980. Chatzky has a passion for the sport that has kept him connected year after year, and inspired him to begin his own company to help rowers realize their potential. In 2014, he created Rowing Ventures, an angel investment fund for emerging companies founded and run by rowers.

“Chatz,” as he is known in the community, believes rowers are the most determined people, ready to summon themselves to give more than they feel they are capable of, again and again. Similarly, he takes pride in guiding aspiring entrepreneurs to their lofty, seemingly impossible goals.

Jack Franklin Award – Tom Fuller
Selected by USRowing’s referee committee, the award recognizes a member of the referee community for his or her lifetime of contributions to the sport.

Tom Fuller has dedicated more than three decades to the USRowing Referee Corps., working as a referee, clinician, FISA international umpire and mentor to countless USRowing referees.
Introduced to the sport as a rower at Yale University, Fuller was licensed as an assistant referee in 1986 and became fully licensed in 1988. Since then, he has remained very actively involved in a number of different areas of rowing, serving on the USRowing Board of Directors and as Chairman and Member at Large of the USRowing Referee Committee. Fuller regularly volunteers more than 30 regatta days per year, refereeing sprint and head races at the junior, collegiate, masters and elite levels, locally in his hometown of Portland, Oregon, nationally and internationally.

Well respected among his fellow officials, Fuller is the model of a calm, competent official who ensures safety and fairness while spreading the word of the sport and the opportunities that exist in the referee community.

Anita DeFrantz Award – Arshay Cooper
Awarded to an individual or organization achieving measurable success in expanding diversity opportunities in rowing.

Team captain and founding member of the first all-black rowing team at Manley High School in Chicago, Arshay Cooper has dedicated his life to bringing diversity to the sport. Through his award-winning book, “Suga Water,” he has introduced an amazingly diverse audience to rowing. He has acknowledged how the sport changed his life, and has made it his mission to change other people’s lives through rowing.

His story of overcoming adversity is powerful, as is his service to the next generation of students. He continues to inspire young people across the country, not only through his memoir, but through coaching rowing, fundraising and recruiting athletes to help diversify the sport.

In addition to being a motivational speaker, Cooper volunteers for numerous community outreach organizations. He has coached at the Chicago Youth Rowing Club, worked as the program director at Victory Outreach’s Midwest region, organized stop the violence rallies and created and founded many inner city programs. As a national speaker, his audience has included public schools, conferences, community centers, sports teams, UFC fighters and President Bill Clinton.

Isabel Bohn Award – Jeff McGinnis
Awarded to an individual or organization achieving measurable success in expanding rowing opportunities for those with physical and intellectual disabilities.

McGinnis has been active in the development and management of community-based recreation and sport programs for people with disabilities for more than 30 years. During this time, he has instructed and coached hundreds of athletes with disabilities in a number of sports including rowing, alpine skiing, sled hockey, kayaking and cycling.

In his more than 15 years of involvement in the sport of rowing, McGinnis has been instrumental in the design and modification to equipment and techniques that are the basis for contemporary Para rowing. He was a member of USRowing’s coaching staff for the 1999, 2007, 2011 and 2013 World Rowing Championships and the 2008 Paralympic Games, where he coached six-time world champion Scott Brown. His programs have produced 10 Paralympians since 2004, including eight that have medaled in their various sports.

McGinnis is a founder of the Pennsylvania Center for Adapted Sports, a multi-sport program that works to improve the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities. He currently serves as its Executive Director and adaptive rowing coach. In addition, McGinnis is the Director of the Adaptive Ski Program at Camelback Mountain in Pennsylvania, and a FISA International Technical Classifier. In his spare time, he lectures and presents at universities and health care institutions on adaptive sports and building inclusive communities.

Clayton Chapman Award – Jim Buckalew
Awarded to an outstanding individual who emulates Clayton Chapman’s 30-year stewardship of the Eastern Sprints and IRA Championships. This person will have consistently served behind the scenes in unrecognized, but important roles, in staging a regatta.

Called the “Godfather of rowing in the Southeast,” Jim “Buck” Buckalew has dedicated more than four decades behind the scenes in the sport, reaching far beyond his home region. Buckalew helped start the Charleston Rowing Club and built the rowing course for the Langley Pond venue in Aiken, South Carolina. In addition, he is responsible for installing the first course on the Merrimack River for the Lowell venue that was included in Boston’s Olympic bid.

As part of his duties as a former field service coordinator for USRowing, Buckalew supported multiple national championship events including the 1994 USRowing Masters National Championships held in Augusta and the 1994 World Rowing Championships in Indianapolis. In addition, he has been involved with running the SIRA Championships since 1984 and USRowing’s Southeast Masters Regionals since 1994.

A coaching education clinician and regular presenter at the USRowing Annual Convention and Advanced Coaches Conference, Buckalew was licensed as a USRowing referee in 1994 and served as a national official for the 1996 Olympic Games. He has coached at the University of Charleston and the Augusta Rowing Club, where he currently serves on its Board of Directors.

Man of the Year – Randy Benderson
Awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to men’s rowing and/or to an outstanding man in rowing.

Randy Benderson is CEO and Director of Benderson Development Company and currently sits on the board of the Nathan Benderson Park Foundation, which is responsible for raising private funds to partially support construction at the Nathan Benderson Park rowing facility. He was instrumental in securing the bid to bring the 2017 World Rowing Championships back to the United States for the first time in 20 years.

Born and raised in western New York, Benderson and his wife, Lori, and their three children moved to Sarasota in 2003 in connection with the relocation of the Benderson corporate headquarters. He attended the University of Buffalo and joined his father’s company in 1978.

Benderson Development Company is one of the nation’s largest private real estate companies, owning, developing and managing retail, commercial, hotel and residential properties in 38 states. Benderson first made its mark on Sarasota in 1998 when it purchased an outlet mall and upgraded the property to The Shoppes at University Town Center. Several other nearby retail developments followed and helped transform the University Parkway corridor into a bustling center of commerce, dining and shopping. Benderson Development worked with Sarasota and Manatee County officials and world rowing experts to transform Cooper Creek Park into a world-class international rowing course, which was renamed for the late Nathan Benderson, Randy’s father, in 2010.

Benderson is a member of the Board of Directors of Kobernick House of Sarasota, Florida, and the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC). He is also the recipient of the “Excellence in Leadership Award” for the Buffalo United Way Campaign and was a co-recipient of the 2008 National Federation for Just Communities Family Philanthropy Award.

Ernestine Bayer Award (Formerly Woman of the Year) – Yasmin Farooq
Awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to women’s rowing and/or to an outstanding woman in rowing.

A two-time Olympian and head women’s coach at the University of Washington, Yasmin “Yaz” Farooq is one of the most successful Division I rowing coaches in the sport’s history. This past season, she led Washington to the first-ever sweep at the 21-year old NCAA Women’s Rowing Championships, where her program won all three grand finals to earn its fourth-ever NCAA crown. For her part, Farooq was named Division I National Coach of the Year and having won the title as coach at Stanford in 2009, is the first coach ever to win at two different schools, and the first to win in her first season in charge of the winning team.

Farooq began her career as a coxswain as a freshman at the University of Wisconsin in 1984. She spent eight years (1989-96) as the women’s eight coxswain for the U.S. national team and competed in the 1992 and 1996 Olympic Games, serving as captain in 1996. She won three silver medals at World Championship regattas, in 1990, 1993 and 1994, and the first-ever world title for a United States women’s eight in 1995.

A native of Waupun, Wis., Farooq has served as a television commentator for NBC Universal at four Olympic Games. She was inducted into the National Rowing Foundation Hall of Fame in 2014 and was named CRCA Coach of the Year in 2009. She describes herself as “a student of the sport” and takes pride in teaching her athletes how to be great teammates.

Joan Zandbergen “Mama Z” Award – Tiffany Knapp
The Joan Zandbergen “Mama Z” Award for Sustained Superior Performance is presented to one USRowing official who, over a period of 3-10 years, has stood apart from the rest of his or her peers.

A dedicated USRowing referee since 2007, Tiffany Knapp models excellence in officiating through her knowledge of the rules and the fair application. As Chief Referee for multiple USRowing National Championships, Knapp has been very effective in her duties of balancing all of the competing needs of stakeholders. In 2016, Knapp joined the umpire ranks of the international referee corps., completing her FISA observations at the 2016 World Rowing Championships in Rotterdam.

Knapp began rowing over 22 years ago as a junior and continued as a collegiate, open, and masters rower. In 2000, she started coaching juniors and became involved in regatta organization and boathouse administration. Since then, she has coached competitive and recreational juniors and adults in both the Southwest and Northwest regions.

She is currently head coach for the mixed masters team at Pocock Rowing Center and serves as treasurer for the Northwest Rowing Council, which includes rowing clubs in Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Idaho and Alaska. Outside of rowing, Knapp is an experienced water quality engineer, providing support for green stormwater infrastructure and sustainability project elements in Seattle’s King County.

Julian Wolf Award – John Musial
This award pays tribute to the one rowing official in the USA that stood apart from the rest in his/her contribution to rowing in the past year. It is based upon one, several, or all of the following: outstanding performance, dedication, heroic acts or outstanding contributions to officiating. The winner is selected by past five Wolf award winners.

In his time as Mid-Atlantic Coordinator on USRowing’s Referee Committee, John Musial’s leadership, dedication and outstanding contribution to officiating has unified the region.

Musial tallied more than 45 regatta days this season including international FISA events, U.S. National Team Trials and Speed Orders, as well as serving as Chief Referee at local and USRowing National Championships. As a referee coordinator, he manages the Mid-Atlantic region, which is the largest region of the referee corp., and volunteers his time to assign and monitor referee clinicians, connect mentors to candidates, monitor each new referee’s development and schedule and attend more than a dozen clinics in the region.

Musial was selected among the regional representatives to serve on the referee committee, monitoring all the regions and providing timely and pertinent information to the USRowing Board of Directors and reporting results back to the regions. He works tirelessly to provide support and assistance to USRowing’s referees.

About USRowing

USRowing is a nonprofit membership organization recognized by the United States Olympic Committee as the national governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States. USRowing selects, trains and manages the teams that represent the U.S. in international competition including the world championships, Pan American Games and Olympics. More than 83,000 individuals and 1,350 organizations strong, USRowing serves and promotes the sport on all levels of competition. USRowing membership reflects the spectrum of American rowers – juniors, collegians, masters and those who row for recreation, competition or fitness. For more information, visit

About the National Rowing Foundation

Founded in 1966, the National Rowing Foundation’s mission is to support athletes who pursue excellence in the sport of rowing, with the primary goals of promoting the United States’ participation in international competitions, providing for the preservation of rowing history and managing the National Rowing Hall of Fame. For more information please visit

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