It’s sad to see a strong rowing coach career such as Coach Ernst’s end in tears and recriminations. He deserved a better send off.
This week’s revelations that Coach Bob Ernst was fired by University of Washington from his post as head womens crew coach just before Thanksgiving adds a sorry note to the holiday.
Rowing is professionalising and some of the accusations don’t fit into outsiders’ views about what makes a successful athletic program.
But one of Ernst’s most famous female rowers of all time, 1984 Olympic gold medalist Kristen Thorsness, said she appreciated the coach’s “direct, honest and open style” about weight, performance and other things.
“Was he hard on us? Absolutely, he was,” said Thorsness, a member of the Alaskan Sports Hall of Fame. “Does he rub some people the wrong way? Absolutely. But it’s all about helping the athletes find it within themselves to give their absolute best. The things he taught us helped so many rowers go on to be successful at other things in their lives.’’
The similarities with Mike Spraklen’s exit from Rowing Canada Aviron are hard to miss.