The Shrewsbury High School Crew program was founded by Kenneth F. Burns in 1937. The Spring rowing season of 2017 marked the 80th anniversary of the program.
Ken was an avid oarsman, holding a world record rowing around a stake in a single. It’s a record which will never be broken, as the event is no longer held. Professionally, Ken was the Chief of Police in Shrewsbury, a Commissioner of Fish and Game for the state, and was a force in the rowing world. A member of the Helms Hall of Fame for rowing, Ken was a judge in the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki and was instrumental in bringing the rowing Olympic trials to Worcester at that time. He also was one of the founding fathers of the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association (NEIRA) in the late 1930’s, and brought the Eastern Sprints rowing championships to Worcester in the early 60’s. Ken coached boys crew until his death in 1982. Many of the boys that Ken coached went on to become leaders in industry and their communities.
Girls crew at Shrewsbury High School started in 1975, with Barbara Burns Caron as the first coach. Barbara coached until her retirement in 1994. Girls crew brought a new dynamic to competitive rowing in Shrewsbury. Between the two programs, there were over 120 participants. Once the Donahue Rowing Center (DRC) was built and SHS Crew relocated their boathouse to this facility, the boys and girls programs scaled the rosters down to 90 rowers.
“A great art, is rowing. It’s the finest art there is. It’s a symphony of motion. And when you’re rowing well, why it’s nearing perfection. And when you reach perfection, you’re touching the divine. It touches the you of you’s, which is your soul,” – George Pocock.
Over the years, SHS Crew has been supported first and foremost by its coaches, the Town of Shrewsbury, and more recently by very generous benefactors, many of whom rowed for Coach Burns. Irving “Jim” Donahue, Jr. and his family have been the largest donors to the program. Fitz Coghlin, the families of Forrest “Clink” Miner, Bob Doyle, and Anthony “Spag” Borgatti have all been very generous in their support of the program. Beyond these generous donors, a large number have donated to fund boats, oars and a variety of training equipment.
In 1987 the program hosted a 50th anniversary of crew celebration. People came from all over the country to attend. There was a banquet Friday night with Jim Donahue as Master of Ceremonies and an outing on Saturday at Regatta Point. A learn-to-row seminar for family and friends of crewmembers, a cookout, and races for alumni crews were all highlights of the day.
To this day, the SHS Crew program remains strong and healthy, being one of the few public high school programs in Massachusetts. They offer opportunity to SHS students to get involved in the wonderful sport of rowing.
SHS Crew is a member of the following organizations: USRA (United States Rowing Association), NEIRA (New England Interscholastic Rowing Association), MPSRA (Massachusetts Public School Rowing Association), and the QRA (Quinsigamond Rowing Association).
Head Coaches – Boys Crew
Ken Burns, 1937 – 1982
Pam Krause, 1983 – Spring 2003, Fall 2005
Justin Lednar, Fall 2003 – Spring 2005
Colin Regan, Spring 2006 – Spring 2008
Russ Krause, Fall 2008 – Fall 2016
Steve Moriarty, Spring 2017 – Fall 2018
Chris Noble, Fall 2019 – Spring 2021
Mitch McManus, Spring 2022
Beatrice Sims, Fall 2022 – present
Head Coaches – Girls Crew
Barbara Caron, 1975 – Spring 1994
Russ Krause, Fall 1994 – Spring 2003
Jason Abraham, Fall 2003 – Spring 2006
Pam Krause, Fall 2006 – Fall 2016
Matt Hastings, Spring 2017 – Fall 2021
Mitch McManus, Spring 2022 – present