December 20, 2004

Women's Crew Celebrates 30 Years of Unprecedented Success with Gala Dinner

Dec. 20, 2004

Providence, Rhode Island - On November 6, 2004, 250 alumnae, parents, and friends gathered for a full day of festivities to commemorate three remarkable accomplishments in the history of Brown Women's Crew. The events celebrated 30 years of Women's Rowing at Brown, John Murphy's 20th year at the helm of the program, and the 2004 Team's stunning win at the NCAA Championships.

The spring 2004 racing season was full of ups and downs, but in the end the Bears got it just right, dominating the NCAA competition, placing third in the varsity four and winning both the second varsity and varsity eights, to claim Brown's fifth National Championship.

So it was with the backdrop of another national title that the November 6th celebration took place. The day began with five alumnae boats bravely heading out on the Seekonk. The alumnae row was the most successful and well attended in Women's Crew history, and will now become a yearly event.

The day continued with a half-time ceremony at the Brown football game honoring the 2004 NCAA Championship Team. In the evening, guests at Andrews Dining Hall were met by a room transformed into a Brown Women's Crew hall of fame, decorated with memorabilia including 1974 racing shirts, 30 years of photos and trophies, and the signature Brown oars.

Highlights of the dinner included outstanding speeches by Dr. Jo Hannafin '77, Maria Rabb '88, Tyler Crone '96 and Karen Prazar '04. The speakers represent the countless athletic, academic and professional accomplishments of Brown oarswomen past and present. Evident in each of the speakers was the lifelong benefits of their involvement in Brown Women's Crew. The lessons learned on the water: confidence, toughness, teamwork and responsibility are instrumental in their outstanding performances off the water and throughout their lives.

Dr. Hannafin '77, an orthopedic surgeon and Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery at Cornell, was one of the original members of Brown Women's Crew and a former U.S. National Rowing Team member. Dr. Hannafin has stayed involved with rowing by serving as Physician for U.S. Rowing at numerous Olympic and World Championship events.

Maria Rabb '88 stroked the first-ever Brown women's varsity eight to capture an Eastern Sprints Championship. After graduation Maria traveled to Hungary on a Fulbright Scholarship to study environmental issues. More recently she has turned her attention to raising her two children, while also pursuing her interests by working at a natural history museum and as a crew coach for a season at Cornell.

Tyler Crone '96, coxswain of the first Brown National Championship Eight, was an Academic All-American, graduated Magna Cum Laude, and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. She went on to obtain her master's degree in public health from Columbia and a law degree from Yale. She is currently a NIMH fellow at the Yale School of Public Health and Schell Human Rights Fellow at Yale Law School.

Karen Prazar '04, a 2004 co-captain and member of the 2004 NCAA Championship eight, is a two-time All-American and was both an Academic All-American and the recipient of Brown's Joukowsky Family Scholarship, given to one female student-athlete in the graduating class with the highest GPA. Karen topped off this year as Rhode Island's nominee for the NCAA Woman of the Year award.

Following the four speakers, John and Phoebe Murphy took the stage to honor the 2004 team, as well as some special friends of the program. Misha Joukowsy '87, a major supporter of Women's Crew, closed the speaking program with a moving tribute to the leadership of coaches John and Phoebe Murphy. The evening finished on a high note with a video production that took a historic and nostalgic look back at 30 years of Women's Rowing at Brown.

In recent years, the competitive success of Women's Crew is unrivaled by any sport at Brown. This celebration was a clear reminder of the hard work and dedication of so many individuals, who over so many years have all played such a key role in putting Brown Women's Crew in the national spotlight. 30 years of history and 20 years of outstanding leadership has produced a program that is a model for Brown and for all of intercollegiate athletics.

Written by Portia Johnson '01, Brown Sports Foundation

John & Phoebe Murphy/Brown Women's Crew: "By the Numbers"

- A total of just 6 regular season losses in the last 11 years

- 8 Eastern Sprints titles (5 in the past 7 years)

- 5 National Championship titles in the last 9 years

- John and Phoebe Murphy have won a combined 8 EWARC Coach of the Year awards and John has earned Division I Rowing Coach of the Year honors twice