Publicly out gay coach Charley Sullivan led UC-Santa Barbara men’s rowing to a national championship last weekend, Sullivan’s first as a head coach.
The UCSB men’s varsity 8 boat took the American Collegiate Rowing Association final, besting second-place Bucknell by almost two seconds with a time of 6:23.505. It was the first time a team other than Michigan or Virginia has won the men’s varsity 8 in the decade the ACRA has held the championships.
It was the seventh time a boat Sullivan coached won a national title; He won six championships as an assistant coach at the Univ. of Michigan.
UCSB was second to Michigan in the men’s team points total this year.
In addition, Sullivan was named the ACRA men’s head coach of the year.
Men’s rowing is not a recognized NCAA sport and is divided nationally between varsity and club teams. About a decade ago the varsity teams disallowed the club teams that were suddenly beating them from competing at their IRA national championships. Sullivan’s UCSB club team beat several varsity programs that qualified for the IRA national championships this year.
Sullivan is one of the very few publicly out LGBT men’s coaches to have won a college national title. Nich Lee Parker led Columbia men’s rowing to a national title last year, winning Parker several coach-of-the-year awards in 2016.