Nich Lee Parker, the openly gay coach for the Columbia University rowing team, has been nominated for a Coach Of The Year Award from U.S. Rowing. The success of Parker’s teams on the water have been powerful in recent years, and we hope you’ll click here to visit usrowing.org and vote for him.
US Rowing wrote about Parker:
Nich Lee Parker has guided Columbia University’s lightweight program to four consecutive medals at the IRA National Championships including the 2016 national title, the first IRA crown for any Columbia crew since 1929. Columbia posted a 9-1 regular season record and earned the WIT, Geiger and Subin Cups, as well as silver at the EARC Sprints.
Parker shared his thoughts on the meaning of this award with Outsports:
I’ve told the team for years that the reason I coach is to provide an environment where they can grow from who they are into whom they may become. This past year, as the team grew into a remarkable group that ultimately won the program’s first national championship since 1929, they also pushed me to grow in powerful ways. I think that symbiotic relationship is beautiful in its own right, but it was made even more special because of one simple fact: Of the hundreds of men’s D1 head coaches out there in every sport, I’m the only one that is openly gay….and these guys simply didn’t care. They wanted to be the best and they trusted a gay coach to take them there.
Having an out gay coach as successful as Parker is a powerful symbol for the LGBT community, and we hope you’ll take a moment to record your vote for him by clicking here here today.