Florida Tech’s Bill Jurgens Honored with National Rowing Award
Athletics Director to Receive Jack Kelly Award from USRowing
MELBOURNE, FLA. — Bill Jurgens, Florida Institute of Technology’s longtime athletics director who led the university’s rowing teams to 17 national championships, has been named the 2016 recipient of the Jack Kelly Award.
Bestowed annually by USRowing, the national governing body for the sport of rowing in the United States, the Jack Kelly Award recognizes an individual “who represents the ideals that legendary Philadelphia sculler Jack Kelly lived by; has accomplished superior achievements in rowing; or serves as an inspiration to American rowers.”
Or in Jurgens’ case, all three.
“It is an honor to receive an award named for the family of a friend,” Jurgens said. “I have many great memories with Jack Kelly, Jr., and it is special to win this award named for his father, who was such an outstanding man and oarsman.”
Jurgens will receive his award on Nov. 17 at USRowing’s 2016 Golden Oars Awards Dinner in New York City.
As a coach, administrator and teacher, Jurgens has spent 47 years shaping the lives of thousands of student-athletes at Florida Tech. The school’s athletic director since 1976, he has helped build Florida Tech into a strong NCAA Division II program. Under his tutelage, the Panthers compete in 22 varsity sports, have enjoyed four national championships, one NCAA individual national championship title and countless conference awards.
Named the head coach of the crew team at Florida Tech in 1969, one year after the program started, Jurgens led the Panthers to 17 national championships. Those included men’s and women’s overall championship titles in 1982 and 1987 and men’s overall titles from 1986-88. His tenure was marked by varsity eight wins over Temple University in 1982 and 1988 at the Dad Vail Regatta.
Jurgens also coached the U.S. lightweight men’s eight that finished fourth at the 1980 World Rowing Championships, was honored as the Dad Vail Coach of the Year in 1986, served on the USRowing Board of Directors from 1976-1987 and was a member of the U.S. Olympic Rowing Committee from 1977-80. Jurgens served on the first NCAA Women’s Rowing Championship Committee from 1996-1999, and later served as chair of the NCAA Division II Women’s Rowing Committee from 2004-2006. He was named to the Dad Vail Rowing Association Board of Directors in 1990 and continues to serve today.
More important than his accolades, however, are the values that he instills in his athletes.
“The reason I enjoy teaching is because I think we can help people shape their dreams to become the best they can be in their respective sports and with their careers,” he said. “If there were just one skill I would want a student-athlete to have, it would be a good attitude. It feeds positive relationships, work ethic, trust, empathy and other beneficial qualities that will help student-athletes achieve outstanding success throughout their lives.”
Information on the Golden Oars Awards Dinner, ticket information and sponsorship opportunities may be found at http://www.501auctions.com/GoldenOars2016.