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Off the Water: Matt Rung

Get to know Matt Rung, Men’s 1st Assistant Coach & Recruiting Coordinator

Matt Rung is in his fifth year coaching at Washington. When he is not coaching, Rung spearheads Washington’s global recruiting effort to find the best oarsmen in the world to row for the Huskies. As a student athlete, he was captain of lightweight crew at Cornell University and majored in English.

Where did you grow up?
Buffalo, NY

Who is the single biggest influence in your life and why?
I try to absorb and learn something from everyone I meet. Most definitely my family. My mom is very driven and a bit of a perfectionist; my dad has a very unique personality and sense of humor; and my brother is ultra competitive. I think I take after all of them a bit. My coaches: Tony Brach, Todd Kennett, and Chris Kerber made me tougher and taught me how to elevate myself and those around me.

Proudest moment as a Husky so far?
PAC 12s in 2017, when the entire boathouse won the championship, really emotional. It was a big year of re-invention, going into new territory – lots of changes, unknowns, driving one another really hard. Good stuff, we all grew a lot that year. Even though it wasn’t the final race (IRAs or NCAAs), I believe in that moment, we all knew (together) that commitment and trust made that happen. And it gave us confidence to believe that we could do even bigger things.

Why did you go into coaching?
I got into coaching because it allows me to impact others positively. I wanted to live and breathe what I enjoyed. It’s a dynamic profession that requires me to play many roles: part leader, teacher, mentor, scientist, coach, trainer, recruiter, and a few others. Yes, there are times when it feels like “work,” but there are few places I’d rather be than on the water working with a crew . . . .

If you could choose one outdoor activity (besides rowing) in Seattle what would it be and where would you go?
Go-kart racing. It’s exciting and it requires me to focus and push myself to perform. To do it well, you have to push the limits of the vehicle and be aggressive. But you also have to be smart enough to work the corners and use physics to make you faster. There’s an outdoor karting track 45 or so minutes from Seattle. I’d go there, and I’d want it to be pouring rain.

Favorite Seattle restaurant?
Rooster’s Tex-Mex BBQ on Capitol Hill

Favorite movie?
The Original Star Wars Trilogy

Favorite book?
Endurance, by Alfred Lansing. It’s about the failed “Imperial Trans-Antarctic Exploration,” and how Ernest Shackleton with his crew of 27 British explorers essentially walked 850+ miles to their own rescue, over pack ice, and through some of the most deadly conditions on Earth…after their boat sank. Trust me, those aren’t spoilers. It’s a great read!

Any pets?
Currently, a 12-year-old Alexandrine Parakeet, but I’m looking into getting a dog soon.