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OFF THE WATER: Michael Callahan, Men’s Head Coach

Get to know men’s head coach, Michael Callahan, ’96.

Now in his 13th year at UW and ninth year as the head coach, Callahan has helped establish Washington Rowing as an indomitable force in the world of rowing. While a student-athlete at Washington, Callahan was the captain and commodore of the 1996 team and earned a degree in history.

Where did you grow up?

My father was in the Navy so we moved all over the U.S. I was born in Honolulu, HI, and we moved around from Idaho Falls, Norfolk Virginia, San Diego, Mystic, CT, and the Kitsap Peninsula before settling in the D.C. area where I went to Washington-Lee High School in Arlington, VA. Jirka Zapatal and Bob Ernst recruited me to the UW. That was the first place I chose to go so I consider Seattle my home.

Who is the single biggest influence in your life and why?

I feel like I have a lot of influencers in my life. My coaches really stand out being a Navy kid growing up. Charlie Butt was my first rowing coach. Todd Jesdale showed me how to excel in rowing. Bob Ernst showed me a systematic, scientific approach. And my parents taught me to be dedicated and work hard. My wife Joanna is a continuously positive influence in my life.

What do you do in your time away from the boathouse?

When I’m not coaching, I always try to spend time with my family and get in a bike ride if I can. We try to take advantage of all the adventures available near Seattle: the zoo, the Seattle waterfront, Seward Park, ferries, the Seattle Center, etc., and we watch a lot of Moana lately.

If you could choose one outdoor activity (besides rowing) in Seattle what would it be and where would you go?

Probably cycling around the Pacific Northwest. I would also love to do more mountain biking in the summer, cross country skiing in the Methow Valley in the winter, and fly fishing anytime anywhere.

Favorite Seattle restaurant?

Dick’s! It became a tradition to go there after we win a National Championship….it’s been two years!

Favorite movie?

The Right Stuff

Favorite book?

The Boys in the Boat, of course!

Proudest moment as a Husky so far?

That’s a tough one, some of the proudest moments are not necessarily the public ones on a big stage. Most of them are the small moments when you see students reach or surpass their potential: making the 3rd varsity, getting a personal record on an erg test, passing calculus, getting into a difficult major, receiving a Commission in the military, being accepted to graduate school or showing citizenship and giving back to the program that served them and realizing they can handle the hardest of all challenges.

Last but not least, tell us about your children.

I have two lovely daughters, Ellison who turned 4 in August, and Maja who will be 2 in October.