USRowing Announces the 2022 Award Winners

Matt Smith

23 December 2022

USRowing has just announced the winners of its eight Board of Directors-selected annual awards for 2022 in a press release. The following individuals are being honored for their outstanding contributions to the sport of rowing:

USRowing Medal of Honor – Matt Smith
Jack Kelly Award – Bruce Beall

John J. Carlin Service Award – Margot Zalkind Mayor
Anita DeFrantz Award – Richard Butler
Isabel Bohn Award – Angela Madsen
Clayton Chapman Award – Leslie Pfeil
Ernestine Bayer Award – Carol Schoenecker
Man of the Year – Dave O’Neill

The award winners will be recognized at the 2023 USRowing Annual Convention, scheduled to take place February 3-5, 2023, in Atlantic City, New jersey. More details to be announced in January 2023.

About the 2022 Board of Directors-Selected Award Winners

USRowing Medal of Honor – Matt Smith
Awarded to a member of the rowing community in the U.S. who has rendered conspicuous service to, or accomplished extraordinary feats in, rowing. It is the highest honor USRowing can bestow.

Longtime World Rowing (formerly FISA) executive director, Matt Smith, has been named this year’s recipient of the USRowing Medal of Honor.

Smith, a graduate of the University of California, Los Angeles, stepped down as World Rowing’s executive director at the end of 2021 after more than 25 years in the position.

Smith rowed collegiately at UCLA where he studied economics. After earning his MBA (and also serving as an assistant team manager at the 1984 Olympics), he went on to work as a coach at Italy’s national training center in Piediluco from 1986 to 1989. Smith worked at USRowing from 1989 to 1992 before joining FISA as its development director in 1992 at the Oberhofen, Switzerland, headquarters.

In his role as development director, Smith initially visited 29 countries, 18 of which were in Asia, before presenting FISA with a plan that identified seven areas to be addressed as the organization focused on expanding the reach of the sport. FISA’s goal was to have 100 member federations by 1996 and 115 by 2000, and participation in world championships was set to increase to 85 by 1999. Smith’s role as development director made him the ideal candidate to take over as executive director when John Boultbee left in 1995.

During Smith’s tenure as executive director, World Rowing saw the addition of annual under 19 and under 23 championships, the establishment of a World Rowing Cup series, regional Olympic qualification regattas, gender equity in Olympic-class events, the introduction of Para rowing to the world championships and Paralympic programs, coaching education development, and much more. There are now more than 150 federations affiliated with World Rowing.

Jack Kelly Award – Bruce Beall
Awarded to an outstanding individual who represents the ideals that Jack Kelly exemplified: superior achievements in rowing, service to amateur athletics, and success in their chosen profession, thereby serving as an inspiration to American rowers.

This year’s Jack Kelly Award winner, Bruce Beall, has had a storied rowing career both as a competitor and as a coach.

Currently Bainbridge Island Rowing’s youth coach and director of rowing, Beall rowed for the University of Washington in 1970-1973, where he won a silver medal in the Pan American Games in the men’s eight and earned a place in the UW Athletic Hall of Fame. He raced in the 1973 European Championships, at multiple world championships, and as a member of the quadruple sculls at the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

Beall began his coaching career in 1974 at Boston University. In the 1980s, he moved on to Harvard University to work with the varsity lightweight men’s crew, before becoming the program director and varsity men’s coach at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Beall headed west in the late 80s, taking a coaching position at the University of California, Berkeley, from 1988 to 1992, before becoming executive director and director of rowing at the Pocock Foundation for the first 12 years of its existence.

Beall coached the U.S. lightweight men’s four at the 1983 World Championships and the open men’s quadruple sculls at the 1987 World Championships. He served two terms on USRowing’s Board of Directors and was a member of the USRowing High Performance Committee for the four years leading up to the Athens 2004 Olympic Games.

As a coach of Bainbridge Island Rowing’s varsity boys’ program, Beall has taken his crews to the USRowing Youth National Championships almost every year during the past decade, including winning a silver medal in the lightweight four with coxswain in 2013. He currently organizes a college recruiting fair every summer, bringing 30+ college coaches from around the country first to Seattle and then to Oakland.

Beall’s insight into rowing’s impact on the U.S. is unrivaled, as is his dedication to teaching youth rowers and coxswains the value of hard work, commitment, and respect for themselves and others. Since 2008, his values – and competitive successes – have inspired the Bainbridge Island rowers and community, while his “no-cut” policy and ability to secure financial aid have kept the programs widely accessible. Beall has coached and inspired hundreds of young rowers and continues to mentor the junior alumni rowers who return as coaches.

Beall’s commitment doesn’t end with coaching. He’s been visionary in growing the program, which now engages nearly 200 year-round rowers (including over 100 juniors). As a grass-roots, volunteer-based, community organization, funds are tight, and as a result, many of Beall’s hours are spent personally maintaining a fleet of often aging equipment, patching leaks in launches, training new coaches, and making sure staff and volunteers feel valued in their efforts.

Beall’s tireless persuasive efforts have been key to Bainbridge Island Rowing’s success in raising most of the funds needed to build the first rowing center in its area. Through inspiring new and seasoned rowers, families, and community members alike to see the value in the programs and to give generously to the project, construction of the Stan Pocock Rowing Center is nearly complete.

John J. Carlin Service Award – Margot Zalkind Mayor
Awarded to honor an individual who has made significant and outstanding commitments in support of rowing.

This year’s John J. Carlin Service Award winner, Margot Zalkind Mayor, has been involved with rowing in the United States for decades and currently serves as the chair of USRowing’s safety committee. She also was the long-time chair of USRowing’s masters committee from 1992 into the early 2000s.

Zalkind Mayor started rowing at Philadelphia Girls’ Rowing Club before moving on to Norwalk River Rowing and then Saugatuck Rowing Club, where she was the first club president. After moving to the Washington D.C. area, she joined Potomac Boat Club, where she organized the women’s masters program, chaired the race committee, and then served on the Board of Directors at Occoquan Boat Club. While in D.C., she founded the Potomac River Safety Committee with Tony Johnson.

During her time on the Potomac, she began serving as chair for USRowing’s safety committee, where she helped develop USRowing’s safety videos.

She has lobbied for multiple masters race levels at the Head of the Charles (when there was only one masters race at the time), helped initiate USRowing’s Learn to Row Day, and was instrumental in increasing the race categories at the USRowing Masters National Championships through her work on USRowing’s masters committee.

Zalkind Mayor created the Foundation for Rowing Education in 2006. The Foundation presented multiple coxswain workshops, along with trailer and launch driving workshops. She also developed (in conjunction with the YMCA) an inner-city indoor rowing program, which included getting sponsorship from a major corporation.

Zalkind Mayor is the co-author, along with Mike Davenport, of “Water Ready,” a book on boat and boathouse upkeep, and they are currently working on “Coach the Coxswain.”

She has written numerous safety articles for Rowing News, as well as a few articles on rowing for Vermont Magazine.

Anita DeFrantz Award – Richard Butler
Awarded to an individual or organization achieving measurable success in expanding diversity opportunities in rowing.

Currently the co-chair of USRowing’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee, Richard Butler has been instrumental in building and nurturing USRowing’s DEI programming for many years, including helping to establish the Anita DeFrantz Award in 2011, which he is being honored with this year.

Butler currently serves as the diversity, equity, and inclusion director for Employ Inc., and is the owner of Coachrtb Coaching and Leadership Group, a diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting practice that focuses on real-world problems with real-world strategies.

Coachrtb Coaching and Leadership Group helps organizations create a work environment that is culturally and racially literate based on education, self-reflection, and continuous training at all levels of the organization to drive sustainable change. It customizes content for presentations, training, and workshops; topics include microaggressions, implicit bias, anti-racism, inclusivity in the workplace, cultural and racial literacy, and climate and animal justice.

Butler also is an adjunct professor for Robert Morris University where he has taught leadership, organizational ethics, argument and research understanding, managing diversity in the workplace, and applied organizational leadership skills.

Butler is the former inclusion manager for USRowing and presently is the co-chair of USRowing’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee. He also serves on the USRowing Grievance Committee. Butler served on the USRowing Diversity Taskforce and the United States Olympic and Paralympic Diversity Committee, as a DEI advisor for USA Ultimate Frisbee, is the former City of Pittsburgh Housing Authority and Shade Tree Commissioner, and was a past advisor for the City of Pittsburgh Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

Isabel Bohn Award – Angela Madsen
Awarded to an individual or organization achieving measurable success in expanding rowing opportunities for those with physical and intellectual disabilities.

Seven-time U.S. National Team rower and three-time Paralympian Angela Madsen is this year’s recipient of the Isabel Bohn Award. A Marine veteran who first rowed for the U.S. National Team in 2002 when Para rowing debuted at the World Rowing Championships, Madsen passed away in June of 2020 at the age of 60 during a solo row across the Pacific Ocean.

After racing at the 2002 World Championships, Madsen continued to compete with the U.S. squad through the 2008 Paralympic Games in Beijing, where she finished seventh in the trunk and arms mixed double sculls with partner Scott Brown. Madsen won four gold medals and one silver medal at the world championships during her national team career.

While serving in the military during her early 20s, Madsen sustained a serious back injury. She underwent corrective back surgery that went terribly wrong, waking up as a paraplegic. But, Madsen found her refuge in adaptive sports.

She began rowing in 1997, and one year later, she started the California Adaptive Rowing Program in Long Beach, Calif., where she introduced the sport of rowing to hundreds of athletes.

In addition to rowing, Madsen also competed at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympic Games in track and field, winning a bronze medal in the shot put in London.

Madsen had a passion for ocean rowing. She rowed across the Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean, in addition to circumnavigating Great Britain. Madsen earned six Guinness World Records.

She was aiming to set a world record as the first paraplegic and oldest woman to row across the Pacific Ocean at the time of her passing.

Madsen was a voice for disability rights and an LGBTQ activist, serving as grand marshal of the Long Beach Pride Parade in 2015.

Clayton Chapman Award – Leslie Pfeil
Awarded to an outstanding individual who emulates Clayton Chapman’s 30-year stewardship of the Eastern Sprints and IRA Championships. This person will have consistently served behind the scenes in unrecognized, but important roles, in staging a regatta.

President of the Philadelphia Scholastic Rowing Association (PSRA) since 2011, Leslie Pfeil leads the 80-program member organization and runs its six regattas each spring on the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia. The Flick Series features five regattas during March and April, with the City Championships taking place the first weekend of May each year. In total, more than 12,000 entries race the 1,500-meter course each year. For her monumental impact on rowers in the Philadelphia area, Pfeil has been named this year’s recipient of the Clayton W. Chapman Award.

Pfeil, now a full-time volunteer with PSRA, got introduced to rowing as the parent of a daughter that was drawn into the sport. A mother of two rowers who rowed in high school and college, Pfeil was the communications director at the Baldwin School when she went to her first regatta during her daughter’s freshman year in high school. She saw how hard the kids were working and wanted to become more involved. She has been passionate about scholastic rowing ever since.

Pfeil began volunteering at events run by the Schuylkill Navy in the mid 1990s, learning to run the finish line at the 1997 Stotesbury Cup. She became a member of the PSRA board in 2005, and when the president stepped down in 2011, Pfeil became the first woman to be elected president of the PSRA.

In addition to running regattas, the PSRA allows member schools to have a voice and be heard at the national level. Pfeil has been an advocate of high school coaches and has been instrumental in strengthening PSRA’s relationship with USRowing. She also has worked to improve the operations and governance of the PSRA.

Under Pfeil’s leadership, PSRA has seen growth on both the girls and boys side, with more than 3,000 kids racing in the final two Flick regattas each year and more than 2,500 rowers racing at the City Championships annually.

Ernestine Bayer Award – Carol Schoenecker
Awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to women’s rowing and/or to an outstanding woman in rowing.

Carol Schoenecker is a highly respected and appreciated coach for rowers of all ages and abilities. Her trademarks are humility, service, and a deep and unwavering commitment to social justice and equity, on and off the water. Schoenecker puts her beliefs into action, making significant contributions to social justice in rowing.

Pittsburgh born-and-raised, Schoenecker began rowing at age 14 with Fox Chapel High School Crew. Supported and guided by her coaches, she was recruited to row for Bucknell University, where she made the most of her education, earning a double major in social history and classics, and a double minor in African studies and music.

A four-year varsity athlete and four-time Patriot League champion, rowing at Bucknell gave Schoenecker the opportunity to travel out of the country. She competed at the Henley Royal Regatta in England in 2008, then traveling to Ghana, Benin, and Togo, studying the history and cultures of the African Diaspora.

Schoenecker spent two summers coaching junior women at Penn AC in Philadelphia, and three years as an assistant coach at Duquesne University, where she earned a master’s degree in social and public policy. Acting on her commitment to make a difference, Schoenecker served a year in AmeriCorps with the Homewood Children’s Village in Pittsburgh Faison K-5, before leaving for the Louisiana Delta. She spent two years teaching elementary school with Teach for America in St. Joseph, La.

Schoenecker has leveraged her experiences to make significant contributions in the areas of equity, inclusion, and diversity, and trauma-informed coaching. She recently co-developed a four-part workshop series, introducing coaches to the fundamentals of trauma-informed coaching.

In 2021, Schoenecker earned her doctorate from Duquesne University. Her research investigated the experiences of women of color rowing at a predominantly white institution. Of critical importance (and unusually), she included women athletes of color not only as “subjects,” but as co-creators of the research process itself. She is applying her findings in the real world to improve program climate for all athletes and is regarded as an expert in this area.

As a NCAA Division I head coach at Robert Morris University, Schoenecker implemented an innovative cultural humility curriculum, co-designed with students. Athletes met twice monthly with additional, optional “Challenge by Choice” sessions. Since athletes were located in the academy and situated within surrounding communities, the series included a community asset mapping exercise to help ground athletes in their communities.

Schoenecker coached masters athletes at Three Rivers Rowing Association for several years, leading a large, cohesive (wait-listed) team of rowers with diverse skills. In the summer of 2021, she developed the curriculum for the TRRA Summer Youth Camp, as well as coaching and assisting with recruitment of coaches and counselors. She also brings her service ethic and expertise to the TRRA Board of Directors.

Man of the Year – Dave O’Neill
Awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions to men’s rowing and/or to an outstanding man in rowing.

Now in his eighth year as head coach of the women’s rowing program at the University of Texas, Dave O’Neill has turned UT into a perennial national contender, leading the Longhorns to back-to-back NCAA titles in 2021 and 2022. In addition, O’Neill coached an all-Texas women’s four to a gold medal at the 2022 World Rowing Under 23 Championships in Varese, Italy. For his efforts, O’Neill has been named the 2022 USRowing Man of the Year.

Since arriving in Austin, O’Neill has led the Longhorns to seven consecutive Big 12 Conference Championships and five consecutive top-four NCAA Championship finishes. While at Texas, he has been named Big 12 Coach of the Year five times, Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association (CRCA) Regional Coach of the Year five times, and CRCA National Coach of the Year in 2015, 2021, and 2022.

O’Neill has led his teams to the NCAA Championships in each of his last 23 seasons as a collegiate head coach, including 16 years at the University of California.

O’Neill also has served as a coach for Team USA several times at both the under 23 and senior levels. He was the under 23 women’s team lead coach in 2006, 2007, and 2014, while his women’s four won the silver medal at the 2009 World Rowing Championships. O’Neill is a 1991 graduate of Boston College.

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