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Temple Coach Gavin White: On Tom Curran

Temple Coach Gavin White:

On Tom Curran


emple University crew coach Gavin White has been named “Man of the Year” by US Rowing, a huge honor. As a Temple undergrad in the early 1970s, White rowed under the extraordinary and idiosyncratic coach Tom Curran, who arrived at Temple after bringing stardom to La Salle College crew. In an interview for my book about the imprint left by Tom Curran on collegiate rowing in Philadelphia, Coach White, who succeeded Curran in his job in 1978, told me what he was like. On why Curran was called “the Bear”: “He had the biggest hands I ever saw, enormous hands…the biggest paws. He was husky. You could almost see his posture was like a giant bear.” On Curran’s coaching methods: “He was so meticulous. He could take a quick look at the boat and see what you were doing wrong. You might never leave the dock until we finally got it right.” “He taught me everything I know about rowing. He gave the foundation for coaching. He was an amazing character, almost bigger than life.” About Curran’s personality: “He was gruff, especially if you disagreed with him. But he was also funny.” Read about his honor here.