CHESTERTOWN, Md. — Washington College Director of Athletics Thad Moore has announced the hiring of Larry Connell as the new head coach of the College's men's rowing team. Connell, who spent nine years as the head men's and women's rowing coach at Division I La Salle University, has had a long and highly-decorated career in the rowing world.
"We are excited to introduce Larry Connell as the head coach of our men's rowing team," remarked Moore. "His wealth of experience as a collegiate head coach and his contacts throughout the high school rowing world will bolster what is already one of our strongest programs."
"Coaching at Washington College offers me the opportunity to return to coaching without the hassle and traffic of a major city," said Connell. "The program is in great shape with both good athletes and equipment. I am looking forward to this next challenge."
While at La Salle, where he worked from 2004 until 2013, Connell coached the first all-conference selections in the women's rowing team's history. He also coached the silver medal-winning men's varsity pair at the 2009 Dad Vail Regatta. His women's teams won multiple NCAA Division I Academic Performance Public Recognition Awards for being among the top 10% of Division I programs in Academic Progress Rate, an NCAA metric of academic achievement.
Before taking the reigns at La Salle, Connell was a full-time assistant rowing coach at the University of Pennsylvania from 1984 through 2003. With Connell assisting in all areas of the program, the Quakers won multiple Eastern Sprint and Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championships at the varsity, second varsity, and freshman levels. He was named the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC) Coach of the Year in 1987. His first collegiate coaching position was as a part-time assistant at Rutgers, where he worked from 1980 to 1984.
Connell enjoyed a successful high school coaching career prior to his move into the collegiate ranks. He served as both an assistant and, later, head coach at Holy Spirit High School, his scholastic alma mater, in Absecon, N.J. He oversaw a large and accomplished program at Holy Spirit that included five assistant coaches and 125 student-athletes. Between stints at Holy Spirit, he was an assistant coach at Jeb Stuart High School in Fairfax, Va., where he had full responsibility for the lightweight program. He briefly returned to the high school coaching ranks last spring, when he served as head boys crew coach at Egg Harbor Township (N.J.) High School while the program was in a transitional stage.
Connell has also been a coach and leader on the international level. He served as a co-coach at three FISA Junior World Championships after organizing the first U.S. National Junior Team training camp in 1982. He has also coached at a number of Henley Royal Regattas, including coaching Thames Challenge Cup Semifinalists in 1989 and 1997. He served on the National Junior Men's Rowing Committee of the United States Rowing Association from 1981 to 1990, including a two-year term as chairman. He then spent two years on the Board of Directors of the United States Rowing Association from 1992 to 1994.
Connell rowed collegiately at Villanova University as a member of the varsity lightweight eight, winning two silver medals at the Dad Vail Regatta. Post-collegiately, he rowed competitively for four years for Potomac Boat Club in Washington, D.C.
A Level III certified coach from the United States Rowing Association, Connell has also been a member of the New Jersey State Bar Association since 1980 and spent 23 years as a part-time associate of the D. William Subin Law Firm in Northfield, N.J. He has owned and operated Rowing Services, LLC, since 2003. He earned his B.A. in Political Science from Villanova in 1974 and his J.D. from the George Mason University School of Law in 1980.
Connell replaces John Leekley, who resigned after nine seasons to pursue opportunities outside of coaching.