Jan Harville – CRCA Hall of Fame Class of 2008
For 23 years, Jan Harville was the face of Washington women’s rowing.
Harville started as an assistant coach at the University of Washington in 1980 under then head coach Bob Ernst, and took over the program in the summer of 1987. Her impact as a head coach was immediate. She coached 11 boats to individual national titles and 41 boats to Pac-10 titles during her tenure, including a streak of 11 consecutive conference championships from 1992-2002.
Harville directed the Washington boats that won the inaugural NCAA team championship in 1997, and then defended the title in ’98, capping a two-year stint in which the varsity eight was undefeated in collegiate competition. In 2000, the University of Washington entered the newly established woman’s open eight event at the Royal Henley Regatta. Washington topped the University of Victoria in the Grand Final to win the inaugural Henley Prize. Washington is the only U.S. collegiate team to have won this prestigious event. The team won the NCAA National Championship Team title again in 2001.
A Husky through and through, Harville rowed at the UW from 1970-73, winning the team’s Most Inspirational Award in 1973. Harville received her Bachelor of Science degree in Medical Technology in 1974. Upon graduation, Harville worked as a microbiologist at Seattle’s Northwest Hospital, but continued to train as a rower. Overall, Harville trained and raced with the U.S. National Team between 1978-84. She won a bronze medal as a member of the 1979 U.S. eight in Bled, Yugoslavia. She was selected for the 1980 Olympic team, but did not row due to the United States boycott of the Moscow games. She continued to train, winning silver in the eight in the 1982 World Championships in Lucerne, Switzerland, and the 1983 World Championships in Duisberg, Germany. She competed in the coxed four in the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, finishing fourth.
In addition to her national team rowing experience, Harville is respected as an elite coach in international circles. From 1985-1988, Harville was the head of the U.S. Olympic Rowing Development Camp. She was the head coach of the 1985 U.S. Olympic Festival West Team, and in 1986 took the U.S. Olympic Goodwill Games team to compete in the Soviet Union. Also in 1986 Harville was the head coach of the U.S. Senior B Team. From 1993-1996, Harville served as assistant coach under U.S. National Team coach Hartmut Buschbacher. In 1995 she coached both the U.S. lightweight women’s straight four and the openweight women’s straight four to matching gold medals at the World Championships in Tampere, Finland. She served as a U.S. Olympic assistant rowing coach at the 1996 games in Atlanta. In 1998 she coached the U.S. lightweight women’s pair to a bronze medal at Worlds in Cologne, Germany; and she coached the U.S. women’s straight four to a bronze medal at Worlds in 1999 in St. Catherine’s, Ontario.
During the 1991 U.S. Rowing Association Convention in Seattle, Harville was inducted in the U.S. Rowing Hall of Fame as a member of the 1980 Women’s Olympic Eight. Both Harville and Washington assistant coach Eleanor McElvaine were honored by U.S. Rowing with the 1994 Woman of the Year awards in appreciation for their “outstanding service to rowing in the United States.” In 2002 the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) named her National Coach of the Year. The Pac-10 recognized Harville as its Coach of the Year nine times. In 2005, she received the Ernestine Bayer Award for outstanding contributions to women’s rowing. Locally, Harville is a member of the Husky Hall of Fame and was also a recipient of the heralded Seattle Post-Intelligencer Sports Star Award in 2002.
Harville retired from coaching in 2003. She and her husband, Dan, reside in Edmonds, WA.