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Let's Meet Former UB Rower and National Team Member Ian Coveny on Throwback Thursday

Name: Ian Coveny

Were you club or varsity or both: Club

Years you rowed at UB: 1992-1996

Walk on or experienced: Walk-on

Favorite rowing memory/ies:

I have many, some that I can even share publicly! In all seriousness – others have said there are too many to recount, and I would have to agree. I have great memories from every year – how I stumbled across the club my freshman year, my first 2k in jeans (that same day), winning our first race my novice year (Head of the Fish), winning the V4+ at States that following spring, great Dad Vails performances, trips to duals (particularly Ithaca…Neil), spring breaks in Augusta, summers rowing at West Side, having to break through frozen beer to serve it at Bills games, winning US Rowing Nationals in the 2-/2+ with Keith Alber…the list goes on and on.

That said, an overarching and strong memory for me is how great the club was. We truly had a perfect storm of sorts – motivated and great coaches, great athletes who joined the club, supportive parents, motivation to fundraise and support, and an influx of money from SA. While keeping the club moving forward was always a challenge, it was made significantly easier by the group of women and men, lightweights and heavyweights, that we had assembled. I was humbled and privileged to lead the club as president my final two years, and that is something that will always remain very special for me. I do think the club – past and present – owes a debt of gratitude to the coaches from that era: Ted Haley, Alex Hansen, Tom Mazzone, and (especially) Joe Krakowiak.  Their tireless dedication to keeping the club not just afloat, but to see it grow and flourish, was incredible. I personally owe Joe an enormous debt of gratitude, and there isn’t enough Gentlemen Jack in the world to repay it.

What rowing accomplishment are you most proud of:

I was fortunate to have had a long rowing career, at UB and beyond, so it’s hard for me to single out an accomplishment as one that I’m “most proud” of. At UB I was proud of how the club grew, the results we had as a team, and how we handled ourselves at races. Regarding my boat specifically, I was proud of our performances during the years, the core group of guys we had assembled, and our summers at West Side. I mentioned winning the 2-/2+ with Keith, and that was truly special.

After UB I transferred to Northeastern, and rowed for the amazing Buzz Congram. I was in the 2 seat when we beat Harvard (my Harvard shirt might be my favorite trophy!). I also had some incredible summers/falls rowing with Keith up and down the Charles, and I’m proud that he put up with me for that time. After NU, I rowed a few years on the National Team and I was proud to have stroked the M4- in a World Cup. I also won the Championship 2- at Canadian Henley with Sloan DuRoss, rowing UB’s “tha Saw”, and that was a pretty unforgettable race on many levels. I finished my career rowing at Cambridge, and my final “competitive” race was rowing with my brother in the Oxford/Cambridge Boat Race – our dad was able to follow in a launch, and that was a pretty special way to put my rowing career to bed.

I truly believe I was a product of those early years of the club, and throughout my rowing career I tried to represent UB well. My Buffalo Crew Boathouse jacket has rowed everywhere with me: from the Tonawanda Creek, to the Charles River basin, to Zagreb and Lucerne, to the Thames, it’s been there for it all.

Major: Exercise Science

Current occupation: Large Enterprise Sales for Amazon Business

Advice to current rowers:

I’m not sure I’d have listened to advice from alumni back in the day, so I’ll try to be brief. When I walked in the door for my first UB Crew meeting, I had absolutely no appreciation nor concept of how much rowing would totally alter the course of my life. I couldn’t have imagined the doors it would open, the places it would take me, and the long-lasting friendships that I’d make from that simple decision to pick up an oar. I mean, I’m even married to my NU coxswain! So I will say this: trust in the process and be persistent. Rowing is unique in that you can only affect what is happening *in* your boat, so trust in the process that got you there, and trust in your teammates to get you to the finish. And I’ll leave you with my favorite quote, which hung on my wall at UB and does to this day:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

  • Calvin Coolidge


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