For his young age, new freshman heavyweight coach William Boyce boasts a substantial and varied history of involvement with Ivy League crew. He was a national champion at Cornell as an undergraduate, served as a coaching intern at Cornell for the men’s lightweight crew, and held a position as assistant coach at Yale for the 2009 and 2010 Ivy League seasons.
In addition to being a national champion, Boyce was named member of the All-Ivy League team and awarded the Cornell Captains’ Award during his senior year. But such an illustrious season did not come effortlessly to Boyce.
After graduating from Princeton Day School, Boyce arrived at Cornell to study film and row for Todd Kennett on the Men’s lightweight rowing team.
As a scrawny freshman at Cornell he was hardly a perfect specimen of the sport.
“He was really weak,” Kennett recalled from his first encounters with Boyce. ”Matter of fact he was physically weak enough that we highly questioned whether he would be able to make a boat”.
But Boyce would go on prove to Kennett and the Ivy League that what he lacked in natural talent he could certainly make up for in determination.
“We loved his attitude and we thought that with his work ethic he might get away with what he wanted to do,” he said. “He was a determined guy; he really knew what he wanted.”
Upon his arrival in Ithaca, Boyce set to work right away and earned his first of many payoffs by making it onto the first freshmen eight.
“When he got here immediately he was one of those guys that you could tell that physically he wasn’t where he needed to be [if he wanted] to be a championship rower,” Kennett said. “But his work ethic alone was just amazing and every year he worked really hard. His freshmen year he got himself pretty darn competitive.”
The following year, he made the junior varsity boat as a sophomore and won a gold medal in the 2006 Eastern Sprints.
“His junior year he was again on the JV, but he was exceedingly competitive and he had a bunch of younger guys in it with him now,” Kennett said.
Boyce was competitive again in the Eastern Sprints as the JV boat earned a silver medal.
“They led the sprints the whole way and ending up losing in the last 10 seconds,” the Big Red coach remembered.
But all of Boyce’s small victories were only precursors to his big payoff during his final season with Cornell.
“His senior year he came back, and he was a huge player right away,” Kennett said.