No more rowing for retiring hall-of-fame coach Morrow

One of most successful coaches in London – and Canadian – history has called it a career.

Al Morrow, who oversaw Olympic and university rowing medal-winning machines at Fanshawe Lake, announced his retirement after four decades of navigating athletes from the international stage right down to the club level.

“I have always kept it fairly simple and tried to do things really well in life,” Morrow said in a Rowing Canada statement. “First and foremost, I have tried to be a great dad to our four children and great spouse to Julia. Next, I have tried to be a good coach who taught good values, built self-esteem and encouraged rowers to go fast on the water. In this latter pursuit, I am indebted to too many people to even name.”

Coach Al Morrow

Morrow, originally from Hamilton, launched his coaching career at the University of British Columbia after the 1976 Olympics. He moved to London in 1988 to work at the national rowing team training centre and became head coach of the women’s team two years later.

Under Morrow’s leadership, Canada won 15 world championship and eight Olympic medals, including four golds at the Games from 1992-2008.

“As young adults, we knew we had a great coach,” three-time Olympic gold medalist Marnie McBean said. “As mature adults and parents, we now realize how fortunate we were to have such a gifted mentor.”

Morrow also served as Western rowing’s head coach from 1998 to 2008.

“Al’s track record speaks for itself,” Rowing Canada CEO Terry Dillon said. “He is one of the most accomplished coaches in world rowing and Canadian crews have benefited from his tireless support.”

Morrow was awarded the Canada Meritorious Service Medal by the Governor General in 1995. He is inducted into eight sport halls of fame, including London’s and Western’s, and was named coach of the year by the International Rowing Federation in 1999.

Lately, Morrow spearheaded the RCA’s coach mentorship program, establishing support for up-and-coming Canadian coaches with opportunities to improve their skills, knowledge and experience both on and off the water.

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