Yale Athletics

After capping off a 13-year coaching career at Yale, men’s heavyweight crew head coach Steve Gladstone will retire at the culmination of the 2022-23 season.

Gladstone began his illustrious tenure at Yale in 2010 after previously coaching at Princeton, Harvard, University of California, Berkeley, Brown, the U.S. National Team and the California Rowing Club. At the onset of his career with the Bulldogs, Gladstone had coached 37 lightweight and heavyweight boats to different championships and national titles. Since Gladstone came to New Haven, Yale heavyweights have captured three national championships, six EARC titles and for the first time in 26 years, swept the river at the Yale-Harvard Regatta.

“I consider it an honor and a privilege to work closely with Steve, a proven coaching legend and inspiring leader,” Director of Athletics Vicky Chun told Yale Athletics in a press release. “He has brought Yale’s Heavyweight Crew program and every program under him to national and global success and has been instrumental in the growth of the sport. In his career, Steve has achieved more success than most could dream of having in a lifetime. He is truly the Most Interesting Man in the World.”

Gladstone’s 50-year coaching career boasts 14 Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships — an accomplishment achieved by only one other collegiate coach. Additionally, he has received the US Rowing Medal and earned several Coach of the Year honors from the IRA, Ivy League and the EARC. Gladstone has served on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Amateur Oarsmen, as a US. Olympic team selector and member of the Men’s Olympic Rowing Committee.

Along with the accolades, Gladstone has forged meaningful relationships, which he describes to be “at the absolute core of the work.” To him, the most rewarding aspect of coaching has been “contributing to the transformation of human beings.”

“It’s been an honor and a pleasure to work under him and learn what it takes to be at the top level of anything,” Harry Keenan ’24, the first varsity coxswain said. “He has this quote: ‘You don’t pretend to row, and I don’t pretend to coach.’ I think what separates him [from other coaches] is his ability to be honest. He is a phenomenal leader … the way he can inspire people is unparalleled in my eyes.”

Keenan, who has coxed the Australian national rowing team, added that though he has been blessed with great coaches throughout his career, he would “not even compare [Gladstone] to them.” Keenan said that many rowers ultimately come to Yale to get the opportunity to work with Gladstone. 

Current associate head coach Mike Gennaro, who has been at Yale since 2016, will succeed Gladstone.

Keenan noted that even though Gladstone is retiring, Gennaro is “unbelievable,” he will do a “fantastic job” and “nothing will change.”

“I feel extraordinarily blessed to have found this work,” Gladstone said in a Yale Athletics farewell montage. “I feel incredibly fortunate that I was given certain capabilities that allow me to do it and do it effectively. I did not consciously study the art of coaching — and it is an art. It came to me. For that, I feel very blessed. I feel incredibly grateful. And I’m not going to stop coaching.”

Gladstone began his rowing career in high school in 1960 and continued throughout his time at Syracuse University. 

Nicole Rodriguez currently serves as a Science and Technology editor for the Yale Daily News. She previously covered the Astronomy Department, intramurals and Crew as a staff reporter. Originally from New York, she is a sophomore in Benjamin Franklin majoring in economics.