Boys Varsity Crew
Message from the Coach
With almost 100 years of rowing history at Kent, rowers enjoy a program with tremendous support from current parents and rowing alumnae. The new Partridge Rowing Center houses a generous workout and ergometer room, men’s and women’s locker facilities, a large meeting and trophy room as well as a six person indoor rowing tank. This facility complements our boathouse which is located on the banks of the Housatonic River that flows beside the school’s campus. Rowers at Kent enjoy a scenic three and half miles of river that has very little boat traffic, other than our fleet of shells, just a couple of minutes’ walk from their dorms.
Steeped in tradition, Kent oarswomen and oarsmen have gone on to row at many of the finest programs in colleges and universities in the country as well as on the Junior National, National, and Olympic teams. In 1927, Kent became the first American schoolboy crew to be invited to the Henley Royal Regatta and we have been participating there on regular basis ever since. Although we do not have rowing offered in the fall we do travel to southern locations during the spring break for pre-season training. With four eights worth of interscholastic teams as well as two eights of intramural squads in both the boys and the girls programs there are plenty of opportunities for rowers of all levels to participate in this sport.
Rowing at Kent goes beyond strokes on the water. Rowers learn much about themselves as athletes and as individuals. At Kent we stress character as a central quality that not only helps to make boats go fast but also helps to mold young minds and lives. The lessons learned on the river and the friends made through the common struggle to succeed last a lifetime.
Eric Houston took over as the Director of the KSBC in 1995. Since the spring of 1996 KSBC boys, under the direction of Coach Houston, have consistently medaled in the NEIRA, the Youth Nationals, Scholastic Nationals, Marlow Regatta and race on a regular basis at the Henley Royal Regatta. In recent history KSBC first boats have won NEIRA gold medals in 2001, 2006, 2010, and 2015. The 2001 crew finished fourth at Youth Nationals while posting the best time of any schoolboy team. The 2009 team took bronze at the Youth Nationals and the 2010 crew won the National Championship, and raced in the finals at the Henley Royal Regatta. Other notable recent Henley crews were 1999, 2001, 2006, 2009, and 2015. Additionally Kent crews have rowed in Belgium and Germany. The 2015 crew distinguished itself by racing in the senior eight event in the Marlow Regatta in England in June. In an event that boasted twenty-four different programs, most of them collegiate, the Kent crew won a silver medal. They then competed at The Royal Henley Regatta in the Temple Cup, an event that includes collegiate freshmen crews and many British universities. In their first race they beat Newcastle University, and then lost on the second day to University of London A.
The oarsmen that he has coached have continued rowing after Kent and have attended some of the most prestigious schools in the country. Currently KSBC alumni are rowing at Princeton, Brown, Columbia, Northeastern, the United States Naval Academy, and Hobart, to name just a few. The 2016 KSBC class will be rowing for the following programs: Dartmouth, the United States Naval Academy, Cal Berkeley, and Northeastern.
Coach Houston began his own rowing career here at Kent in the spring of 1977. He rowed in the club crew program for Joel Kelly and was in the boat that won the club championship. He continued rowing and gained introduction into the KSBC as he became a part of the first boat during his sophomore year under Hart Perry. During his senior year Coach Houston was a member of the Kent boat that won a gold medal at both NEIRA’s and Stotesbury which was then the National Championship regatta. While at Kent he also played football and wrestled. Following Kent he moved on to Trinity College where he was captain and rowed in the first Frosh heavyweight boat that had an undefeated regular season and finished third at the Dad Vails. He later rowed in the varsity heavyweight boat for three years and captained the Trinity Crew during his senior season.
After graduation he returned to Kent and became Hart Perry’s assistant coach for 11 years before taking over the reins of the program. Coach Houston is a member of the Kent Science Department where he teaches regular, honors, and AP Biology. His wife Barb is also on the Kent Faculty and their children graduated from Kent.