NEW YORK – Columbia University Campbell Family Director of Intercollegiate Athletics Peter Pilling announced on Thursday that Tom Terhaar, who returned to Columbia as the school’s Director of Rowing, will be the new head coach of the heavyweight rowing program. Terhaar will also remain the Director of Rowing for the Heavyweights, Head Coach Nich Lee Parker‘s National Champion Lightweights, and Head Coach Emerson Curry‘s Women’s rowing program.
“Tom Terhaar is such a well-respected coach and we are excited to have the opportunity for him to work with our student-athletes in the men’s heavyweight program, “Pilling said.” We are very fortunate to provide our heavyweight rowers with continuity by having Tom available to take over the program right away. “
Terhaar returned to Columbia to become the Director of Rowing in December 2021 after spending the previous 20 years as the Head Coach of the US Women’s Rowing Team. He had been the longest serving coach in US Rowing’s history, having coached at 6 Olympic Games and had previously served as an assistant since 1994.
After Terhaar took over as the head coach of USA Women’s Rowing in 2001, they achieved unprecedented international success. During his tenure the United States won 17 World Championship gold medals, 5 Olympic medals, including 3 successive golds in the eight, for a total of 37 World and Olympic medals.
Prior to coaching the US national team, Terhaar spent five years at Columbia University coaching the men’s lightweight program. At Columbia, his Lightweights took a silver medal at the 1998 Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championships. In 2000, Coach Terhaar led his crew to Columbia’s first ever Eastern Sprints title.
“The varsity heavyweight crew has a long and storied tradition in Columbia Athletics History, stretching back more than 150 years,” notes Terhaar. “As we celebrate the incredible success of our National Champion lightweight crew – we also look forward to the day in which our heavies will share a place atop the podium at future IRA events.”
“With Tom’s return to Columbia, we know the future is bright for our three varsity rowing programs,” says Thomas W. Cornacchia ’85CC, a former heavyweight rower who was named one of the University’s Alumni Medalists in 2022. “We are confident that Tom will be transformational in helping our heavyweight men’s program and our women’s program reach their full potential alongside the extraordinary recent achievements of our lightweight men’s program. “
Terhaar rowed and graduated from Rutgers University in 1991. He is married to nine-time national team member and two-time Olympian, Jennifer Dore-Terhaar (Rutgers ’93) and has four children; Jack, Henry, Anna and Peter.