Dick Tonks leaves NZ for Rowing Canada job


Richard ‘Dick’ Tonks joins RCA High Performance team as Senior Men’s Head Coach

Monday, November 20, 2017 – RCA is pleased to announce Dick Tonks will be joining the RCA High Performance team in the role of Senior Men’s Head Coach.

This is a significant step in propelling RCA’s HP program towards success in 2020 and beyond. Dick Tonks is an accomplished rower and outstanding coach. He has an unparalleled record with an extensive background in coaching Olympic and World Championship medalists. As Head Coach for Rowing New Zealand, Tonks led his crews to over 30 Olympic and World Championship medals.

“I am looking forward to working with the Canadian rowers,” said Tonks. “Canada has a strong legacy in rowing and I look forward to helping them write their next chapter.

Dick is the recipient of the New Zealand Halberg awards ‘Coach of the Year’ five times—more than any other coach in the award’s 27-year history. Dick has been named a finalist twelve times.

Tonks has also been awarded World Rowing ‘Coach of the Year’ at the World Rowing Annual Awards three times—2005, 2010 and 2012. Dick is currently the only person to have won the award more than once.

Dick Tonks Rowing coach legend Dick Tonks Rowing coach legend. Image: RadioNZ

As an Olympic rower, Tonks won a silver medal for New Zealand in men’s coxless four at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

I am thrilled Dick has chosen to join Rowing Canada’s High Performance program,” said RCA High Performance Director Iain Brambell. “Under his direction and guidance, I am looking forward to seeing the Men’s program and the entire team flourish in Tokyo 2020. Coaching leadership is the cornerstone to any successful international program and with the coaches we already have in place and the addition of Dick’s wealth of knowledge, Rowing Canada is well positioned for success for many years to come.

RCA National Team coach Terry Paul will work closely with Dick and the men’s program, while also taking a lead in building momentum in the Under 23 Men’s program, ensuring Rowing Canada has a steady flow of podium potential athletes in place for Tokyo 2020 and Paris 2024.

This is an exciting moment for Canadian rowing,” said RCA CEO Terry Dillon. “In bringing Dick Tonks to Canada we create an opportunity for our own coaches to learn and grow alongside one of the most successful coaches of all time


Dick will begin his new role with RCA at the end of November working closely with the RCA High Performance staff and athletes at the National Training Centre in Victoria, BC.

Update 27th November

Michael Hawkins writes/

“A little more background on Dick Tonks….
He went to a government school, Wanganui Boys College in Wanganui, New Zealand where he stroked the school’s coxed four. He also rowed for the Union Boat Club,. He left school at the end of 1969, and less than three years later stroked the NZ 4- to an Olympic silver medal.”


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