UPDATED: September 1, 2014, at 11:09 p.m.
After a successful year of Harvard men’s rowing in which freshman lightweights coach Linda Muri guided the lightweight four to a silver medal at the 2014 IRA National Championship, Muri has decided to take the helm of women’s rowing at Dartmouth.
“Being a head coach is a new kind of challenge for me,” Muri said. “I wasn’t thinking about moving on this year, but when Dartmouth called me and asked me to apply, I thought I’d see what it was like…and consider my options.”
Muri’s move across the Ivy League comes one season after the Crimson named former Radcliffe lightweight women’s coach Michiel Bartman to be the new men’s lightweight crew coach for the 2013-2014 season.
As she continues on to her next position, Muri leaves behind a legacy of accolades from her 13 seasons at Harvard, including an exceptional 2010 season that featured a 10-0 lightweight freshman dual record and an EARC silver medal. In 2004, Muri also led the freshmen to the EARC Sprints title followed by Harvard’s first-ever victory at the IRA National Championship in the freshman 4+.
Additionally, Muri boasts an extensive resume as a competitor that includes being a nine-time U.S. national team member and a three-time world champion.
Muri was in Amsterdam for the World Rowing Championships over the weekend, coaching former Crimson standout Austin Meyer ’12 and Dartmouth oarsman Josh Konieczny ’13. But instead of the Crimson and Big Green competing against each other as they will this fall, Muri looked on as the two competed together, coming in fourth in the second final heat of the lightweight men's 2x.
Her time abroad with two former Ivy League greats gave the soon-to-be Dartmouth coach a chance to reflect on her years in Cambridge, she said.
“I was really excited to have the opportunity to be a head coach, but I really loved working at Harvard—it was the best experience I’ve had coaching,” Muri said. “I learned a lot from the coaches that I worked with, from Charley Butt to Harry Parker. But it was a special experience to work with the students, and leaving them [is] the hardest thing.”
In a statement released by Dartmouth College, Director of Athletics and Recreation Harry Sheehy expressed excitement at bringing Muri to the Big Green.
“I am thrilled to welcome [Muri] to Dartmouth,” Sheehy said. “She brings a wealth of world class and collegiate experience to go along with an unrivaled passion for teaching and coaching. The program is in wonderful hands with [Muri] at the helm.”
As she prepares to make the move to Hanover, Muri also recognized the successes of her Harvard coaching tenure and the lessons that the freshmen rowers and novices have taught her over the years.
“Patience is probably one of the biggest things [that I learned from my rowers],” Muri said. “I have to start over again every year with guys that have never rowed before and guys who were recruited, but I have to get them rowing the Harvard way, and it doesn’t just happen overnight.”
On the receiving end of Muri’s tutelage, the most recent class of Harvard freshmen felt the impact of having an experienced coach shape the beginnings of their Crimson rowing careers.
“Coach Muri has always been such a great role model for the rowers in everything she does,” said sophomore James Dreben, who coxed the freshmen eight to a silver medal at the EARC sprints. “I know that all the guys will say that she has made a huge difference not only in how we performed this past year, but also how much fun we had with the program.”
Sophomore lightweight rower Mark F. Steinbrick credited Muri for igniting an excitement for the sport among those she coached.
“She just had a passion for the sport and made all of us share that passion with her,” Steinbrick said. “She’ll definitely be missed in the boathouse.”
—Staff writer Caleb Lee can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Staff writer Forrest K. Lewis can be reached at email@example.com.