The West Side Rowing Club, the area's oldest sports organization, marked its 100th anniversary over the weekend. Founded in 1912, by a group of West Side residents, the WSRC has produced several Olympic and World Champion rowers, as well as dozens of top-ranked collegiate and high school rowers.
Most recently, WSRC alumnus Tom Terhaar gained international recognition when he coached the U.S. Women's 8 crew to a Gold Medal at the 2012 Olympics in London. Coach Terhaar also led the Women's 8 to Gold at the 2008 Bejing Olympics.
West Sider Steve Coppola rowed to a Bronze medal in Bejing.
Other recent WSRC alumni who rowed on Olympic teams include: Don Smith ('96 and '00), Tom Murray ('96 and '00), Jim Neil ('92 and '96).
Former Buffalo Courier Express Editor Buffalo News Columnist Douglas Turner, Ed Masterson, Ron Carwell, Jim McMullen, and Jim Wynne represented the U.S. at the 1956 Olympics.
Club members first rowed on the Olympic stage at the 1936 games in Berlin.
Many other West Siders have medaled at the World Championships and Pan-American Games. Also, dozens of former members have been recruited by top college programs, with several moving to college and high school coaching after their competitive rowing careers. Younger club members have also been mainstays on U.S. Junior National Teams.
The club's trophy case and walls are crowded with evidence of its winning history.
"The West Side Rowing Club is honored to host hundreds of the organization's former rowers, friends and sponsors in marking our 100th anniversary today," said WSRC President Paul Kolkmeyer. "We are particularly proud of our national and world-class rowers who represent everything we stand for and strive to teach every young rower who steps foot in our club."
While the club has an international reputation for its excellence, its day-to-day mission is to provide the highest-quality training environment to any young athlete who is interested in rowing. In 1921, the club was the first in the country to open its doors to local high schools. It added women's rowing in 1978, and now women rowers outnumber men at the facility.
"For 100 years we have been fortunate to teach thousands of youths from Buffalo and Western New York a sport which is based on the values of hard work and teamwork. Our athletes live and breathe pride every time they pull on a West Side uniform," Mr. Kolkmeyer added.
Now located on Cotter's Point, off Porter Avenue along the Black Rock Channel, it had been located off Ferry Street for 50 years. A devastating fire in 1975 burned that facility to the ground and led to the move to Cotter's Point where the main boathouse is now honored to share space with the Frank Lloyd Wright Rowing Boathouse.
"I can't say enough about the many volunteers who make what we do here possible. While our rowers are extremely dedicated, their parents, our coaches and West Side alumni are also committed to West Side pride, unselfishly giving their time to maintain our level of excellence," Mr. Kolkmeyer added.
As part of ceremonies at the boathouse complex, Mayor Byron W. Brown presented an official proclamation making August 25, 2012 "West Side Rowing Club Day."