A tremendous all-around athlete, Horace Davenport will
forever be remembered as one of the most celebrated members of Columbia's
famous rowing eight of the late 1920's.
Davenport played three seasons of varsity football and
competed on the swimming team for four years.
However, it was as an oarsman that Davenport excelled and gained his
As a first-year, he captained the boat that won the
Intercollegiate Rowing Association two-mile freshmen race by 10 seconds over
California at the IRA Championship at Poughkeepsie in 1926. He later sat as the No. 7 oar in a boat that
won the varsity IRA Championship twice in three years, over a four-mile course
in the Hudson River that was one of the major sports attractions in the nation
in the 1920s. In 1927, the Columbia
shell finished in 20:57 to beat national powers Washington and California.
In 1929, Davenport and his crew took home another National
Championship in Poughkeepsie on a day where four of the eight competing teams
were swamped by rough water. That
Columbia team would eventually go on to win the Childs Cup Regatta against
Princeton and Pennsylvania in both 1928 and 1929, giving Columbia two straight
victories in the race for the first time since the competition began in 1879.
Davenport was inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame
in 1964 and received rowing's most prestigious honor, the Jack Kelly Award, in
1969. Just months before his passing in
1991, he was inducted into the New York Sports Hall of Fame.
Perhaps Davenport's biggest contribution to his sport was
the founding of the National Rowing Foundation in 1966. Serving as the chair, he personally covered
the expense of sending the US team to European World Championships for many