Nicholson Inducted as Coach in Row Ontario Hall of Fame
Announcement/ Nov 23

Nicholson Inducted as Coach in Row Ontario Hall of Fame


One of Ontario’s most decorated and long-serving coaches was honoured on Tuesday as Jack Nicholson was inducted into the Row Ontario Hall of Fame.

Nicholson coached an incredible 59 years and worked with athletes of all levels. Not only was he a superb technical coach, but he was very good at understanding and working with athletes in order to motivate them and share his passion for the sport. He helped develop many rowers into National Team athletes and also coached with the National Team program for over 20 years. Win or lose, he only asked for everyone to come off the water saying that they had a great race.

Nicholson started as an athlete at St. Catharines Collegiate in 1948 and eventually transitioned into coaching. He first major accomplishment as a coach came when he founded and became the first head coach of the Brock University rowing program in 1964. He also helped start two other university programs and worked with athletes from five high school rowing programs in the St. Catharines area over the course of his coaching career. Nicholson spent all of his 82 years in St. Catharines and is most closely tied to the Ridley Graduate Boat Club and Ridley College thanks to a 42-year association with the clubs. He had a tremendous commitment to coaching rowing at the grassroots level in St. Catharines served as a coaching mentor to countless coaches in the area and throughout the rowing community.

At the national team level, he served as a head coach with the Canadian Amateur Rowing Association (now Rowing Canada Aviron) from 1981-94. He coached Canadian athletes at three Olympic Games (1984, 1988, and 2000) and coached the men’s quad to a 1985 World Championship gold medal, the first ever by a Canadian boat, as well as two bronze medals in 1986 and 1987. Overall, he coached at 16 World Championships, five Junior World Championships and two Pan American Games (1971 and 1983). Throughout these coaching successes ,Jack also worked as an engineer with General Motors and following his retirement in 1988 dedicated himself to full-time volunteer coaching with his partner Nancy Storrs.

“Jack created an atmosphere of passion and desire for improvement in the sport, for athletes of all levels, and was committed to being there whenever anyone wanted help,” said Storrs. “He knew rowing inside out-having built boats, rowed, coached and even lectured in various countries, though he was always open to learning more. I was lucky to be mentored by Jack, and his induction into the Hall of Fame is a reflection of his effect on so many people and on the sport of rowing.”

Nicholson’s involvement in rowing would continue until his passing in 2014. He left behind a tremendous legacy as a builder and a coach, particularly in the Niagara region and was inducted into the St. Catharines Sports Hall of Fame a few months before passing away. Some of his other many accolades include Row Ontario Coach of the Year, two-time RCA Coach of the Year, Row Ontario President’s Award, RCA Lifetime Achievement Award and a posthumous induction into the RCA Hall of Fame in 2018.

Row Ontario is announcing the inductions of the 2021 Hall of Fame class this week as part of ‘Hall of Fame Week’. On Monday, Wes Kuran (Umpire) was announced as the first member of the inaugural Hall of Fame class. Stay tuned the rest of this week for more announcements on the 2021 Row Ontario Hall of Fame induction class.

Visit Row Ontario Hall of Fame for more information.