Graham Willoughby came to College Hill in October of 2012 with a wealth of rowing experience and knowledge and immediately stepped in as the Freshman Coach, working directly with the Bears’ novice oarsmen.
“Graham joins Judah Rome and Steve Ouellette to form an experienced and outstanding coaching staff which will foster our continued success here at the boathouse and on the race course,” said head coach Paul Cooke. “The goals we have for the program are ambitious, and we are going to need depth of character and strength of convictions to accomplish them. Graham had a vision for his junior program and was able to accomplish his goals there. His experience and dedication will help us continue to improve and achieve success.”
Willoughby made an immediate impact in the spring of 2013 as he coached the freshmen eight to a runner-up finish at the Eastern Sprints and the IRA National Championship.
Willoughby began coaching at the Capital Crew Junior Rowing Club in Sacramento, Calif., as a hobby while finishing his collegiate rowing career. In his two seasons as varsity boys coach at Capital, he brought two boats to the Youth National Championship, both earning silver medals.
In 2005, Willoughby joined the Marin Rowing Association as the Freshman/Novice Coach and Boatman. His rookie boat went undefeated for three years, and in 2008 his athletes won the novice eight, the premiere event for first-year rowers at the Southwest Junior Championship. In 2008, he became the head coach at Marin. In his first year he led the team to a second place finish in the lightweight men's eight at the Youth National Championship, and a fifth place finish for the heavyweight eight. The following year, after an undefeated regular season in the southwest region, the heavyweight and lightweight eights both finished second at Nationals. The following year both the heavyweight and lightweight eights won Nationals, in addition to undefeated seasons and a historic win at the Head of the Charles, in which the Marin men set a course record that had not been broken in 20 years. This season, the team repeated its triumphs, winning the Head of the Charles and Nationals in both events once again.
In addition to domestic coaching, Willoughby spends his summers coaching internationally for the U.S. Junior National Team. He was the coach for the U.S. men's eight this summer, which finished in fifth place at World Championships in Plovdiv, Bulgaria. Willoughby also continues to row competitively, most recently finishing fourth in the masters eight at the 2011 Head of the Charles.
Willoughby began rowing in 1995 with the Marin Rowing Association in Larkspur, Calif. He attended California State University, Sacramento, majoring in criminal justice. While attending Sacramento State, he was a member on the men's rowing team, winning a regional championship in the varsity four in 2001.
Willoughby and his wife, Amanda, have two Border Collies, Kyak and Turtle.