Jeffrey A. Shafer
Jeff began rowing in 1975 on the Hudson River in Poughkeepsie, here New York. He received a rowing scholarship to Syracuse University and won a silver medal in the IRA by a photo finish in my freshman eight and a bronze medal at the IRA during my junior year.
Between 1982 and 2002 Jeff coached at high schools and colleges in New York and Massachusetts, order and founded the rowing team at SUNY Albany. He coached the women at FDR Public High School in Hyde Park, mind NY to win 7 events at Stotesbury Cup and National Championships. As the head coach at Liverpool High School near Syracuse, Jeff coached the boys’ team to a 2nd place finish at the Head of the Charles Regatta. Three boys from that team were selected for the Junior National team.
He rebuilt the crew at the United States Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point, NY to a highly competitive team. He was fortunate to work as an assistant coach with Carrie Graves at Northeastern University. While working as an assistant with Gordon Hamilton at MIT, Jeff helped coach the varsity 4+ to a silver medal at the IRA regatta.
One of his favorite jobs was working at West Point as an assistant to the football team when they won the Peach Bowl.
He enjoy competing in Master’s rowing in all boat classes. Jeff has competed in many Master’s World Championship regattas, at US and Canadian regattas, and home on the Charles River. He has won 16 medals at the master’s world championships, 29 at master’s nationals, but is most proud of his two Head of the Charles medals. My enthusiasm for rowing inspired Sara Hall to start her racing career, change her life, and write a book. He was the “other guy” in The Amateurs by David Halberstam.
Currently, Jeff belongs to Riverside Boat Club and Cambridge Boat Club. In 2009 he discovered he had a congenital heart defect that caused an aneurysm in his aorta. He had open heart surgery, but was running stadiums in 3 months, rowing in 4 months, and hiking a 14ner in Colorado in 6 months. Jeff loves to race, and go to regattas, but can’t compete as he did in the past. Jeff is married to a rower and has 2 cats. Besides rowing, he likes to canoe, paddle board, hike in New Hampshire and Colorado, and cross country ski.
What is your favorite crew memory?
My favorite crew memory is winning the Head of the Charles in a Masters’ eight and then meeting my future wife at Riverside Boat Club’s Head of the Charles Party after the race.
How did you get involved with rowing?
I grew up next to the Hudson River and always enjoyed watching the crews.
What has crew done for you?
Rowing taught me that if you work hard that you can be successful. After my heart surgery, my love for rowing helped me to recover. Rowing has given me many friends from all over the world. Through rowing I met my best friend, my wife.
Why do you coach?
I coach because I want others to enjoy rowing as much as I do. The better your technique, the more you will enjoy rowing and the faster you can row. My ulterior motive is to teach others to have good technique so that they can pull me around in races when I am old.
Favorite written quote
Be nice to people on your way up because you meet them on your way down.”
— Jimmy Durante
Favorite spoken quote
“If a man does his best, what else is there?”
— General George S. Patton (1885-1945)