Scott Alwin was named Columbia’s Head Coach of Heavyweight Rowing/Director of Rowing in July of 2013 after spending six seasons as the Lions’ head coach of the lightweight program.
“We are excited for Scott to assume the reins of our Heavyweight Rowing program, one of the oldest and most storied athletics teams at Columbia,” remarked Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Physical Education Dr. M. Dianne Murphy. “Over the past year, Scott led our lightweights to an outstanding season against top competition. We are confident that he will build our heavyweight program into a championship contender as he did our lightweights.”
The lightweight program took major steps forward in his six-season stint, restoring lightweight rowing to the success it had enjoyed during the past dozen years. Under his direction, the 2013 varsity lightweight crew earned bronze at the IRA National Championships for the first time since 2003.
For his efforts, Alwin was named Lightweight Coach of the Year by the IRA and sent the varsity eights to the Henley Royal Regatta. The Lions also picked up Subin and Geiger Cup victories in their respective regattas and were among the top-ranked crews throughout the season. In December of 2013, Alwin also picked up EARC Lightweight Coach of the Year accolades.
The team’s success in 2013 should have hardly come to any surprise. Alwin guided Columbia to solid seasons in 2011 and 2012, earning positions in the grand final of each of the previous two IRA National Championshp regattas.
In 2010, Nick LaCava ‘09CC won the USRowing National Selection Regatta in the lightweight pair and three rowers from the Class of 2010 – Jake Cushnie ‘10CC, Bob Duff ‘10CC and Mike Nucci ‘10CC – all competed for slots on their respective countries (Cushnie - Canada, Duff and Nucci - United States) national teams.
In 2009, Columbia won its first Cup race since 2006 as it defeated Dartmouth to earn the Subin Cup. And for the second consecutive season, the varsity eight earned a trip to the IRA Nationals where it closed in seventh place.
The Lions came within three seconds of defending national champion Cornell in 2008, while defeating MIT in the Geiger Cup, then just missed a victory over Dartmouth in the Subin Cup, losing by 6/10 of a second. Two weeks later, Columbia defied its seed and made the Grand Final of the Eastern Sprints. They just missed a second Grand Final in the National Lightweight Championship, but bounced back to win the Petite Final.
Alwin had also known success before coming to Columbia in the summer of 2007. He was a highly successful assistant and freshman men’s rowing coach at both Princeton and Wisconsin. Alwin had been at Princeton since September 2004, initially as a men’s rowing intern. He was named freshman lightweight coach in January 2005.
Alwin’s crews compiled an excellent record of accomplishment. His freshman eight won the gold medal at the 2006 Eastern Sprints, and took silver medals in both 2005 and 2007. The eights won 21 of 25 regular-season spring races. He coached the Tigers’ Open Four to a silver medal at the 2007 IRA Regatta.
Alwin came to Princeton from his alma mater, the University of Wisconsin. He initially served as assistant varsity heavyweight coach, from February 2002 to August 2003, working with all aspects of the program, but with sole responsibility for the Badgers’ third and fourth boats. He helped Wisconsin earn three IRA and two Eastern Sprints gold medals during his two spring seasons; in 2002, the Badgers’ varsity eight won the Eastern Sprints.
Alwin was named head freshman heavyweight coach for the 2003-2004 season. His crew was undefeated in all dual races, and he developed a novice recruiting system for high school athletes.
He also spent two summers as Pre-Elite Coach and administrator of the Camp Randall Rowing Club, coaching the club’s eights to two gold medals each at the 2002 and 2003 Royal Canadian Henley. At Princeton, Alwin coached the Carnegie Lake Rowing Association.
Like many collegiate oarsmen, Alwin never rowed until entering college. A native of Middleton, Wisc., he competed in track and cross country at Middleton High, then began rowing as a freshman heavyweight at Wisconsin.
Undefeated in dual races, he earned a gold medal at the 1999 IRA Regatta in a varsity four with coxswain, and another gold in the Badgers’ second varsity eight at the 2001 Eastern Sprints. He graduated from the University in 2002 with a B.A. in a double major, political science and history.
He and his wife, Alice Kearney Alwin, live in Manhattan with their two daughters.