UVic Vikes rowing alum Barney Williams at his appointment as the new head coach of the Vikes women’s rowing program. Vikes photo

UVic Vikes rowing alum Barney Williams at his appointment as the new head coach of the Vikes women’s rowing program. Vikes photo

Former Vike returns to lead women’s rowing program

Williams rowed for UVic, Oxford and Canada

It’s hard to believe Barney Williams was anything but a sure thing as the next coach of the UVic Vikes women’s rowing program.

Williams has been part of the Vikes alumni family for decades, having rowed for UVic between 1995 and 1999. And now he’ll stay a Vike for life.

On Tuesday the former Olympian and national team coach was introduced as successor to Rick Crawley, who has now retired from the women’s rowing program after 35 years.

Williams was introduced to a room full of Vikes rowers, administration and family by none other than the president elect of the Canada West university athletic conference, Clint Hamilton, the director of the Vikes athletics.

“I have big feet but Rick left big shoes to fill,” Williams said. “It was a rigorous [hiring] process and I’m certain we’re off on the right foot.”

At 41, Williams fits the Vikes model. He’s a family man, with Tavin (12), Kyla (8) and Tate (6), and he not only brings his own Vikes legacy but shares one with his partner Buffy (nee Alexander). Buffy also rowed for the Vikes and went on to win an Olympic medal, when she won bronze for Canada in the women’s eights.

Williams won silver at the 2004 Olympics in the coxless four. He inherits a program that earned 11 Canadian University Rowing Championship banners, 23 Brown Cup wins, 92 Canadian Henley titles and sent 29 Vikes to the Olympics, all under Crawley.

The coaching bug grew on Williams during his spell with Rowing Canada and the Row to Podium program, when he spent 2011 to 2016 at Elk Lake. He spent the past year as interim head coach of women’s rowing at NCAA Div. 1 Cornell.

That year at Cornell was transformative, and proved he wanted to be a coach.

“…Working with student athletes over the past few years in the Row to Podium, my role was as their athletic coach, there’s a real disconnect there,” Williams said. “It’s a really tricky aspect to try and balance in terms of respecting their academic interests but not having a vested interest in their academics.

“Now as a collegiate coach I get to support both interests and champion their growth as a human being and not just as an athlete. It started to come home to me as a great fit… Love to see medals around people’s necks and banners hanging from ceilings … but ultimately I want to see growth.”

Williams competed for the Vikes from 1995 to 1999, graduating in business administration and went on to study at Oxford University, where he was president of the Oxford University Boat Club. He was then member of the Canadian national rowing program for seven years and won a World Championship in 2003 and an Olympic silver medal in Athens in 2004.

Vikes win on world stage

Third-year Caileigh Filmer is in a break-out year as she and national team crew Hillary Janssens in the women’s pair won a World Cup silver medal in Lucerne on Saturday (July 15), adding to their gold medal performance from World Cup 1 in Belgrade, Serbia in June.

Two more Vikes, current athlete Avalon Wasteneys and alum Rebecca Zimmerman won silver in the women’s eight in Lucerne.

reporter@saanichnews.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria police are asking for help locating Jordan Doddridge who is wanted on a Canada-wide warrant. (Courtesy of Victoria Police Department)
VicPD seek help locating man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Jordan Doddridge has an extensive criminal history including violent offences

Mandy Farmer, CEO of Accent Inns and Hotel Zed, was given the RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Excellence Award on Wednesday evening. (Provided by Deepa Pillay)
Accent Inns, Hotel Zed CEO earns prestigious award

Mandy Farmer wins RBC Canadian Women Entrepreneur Excellence Award

SD62 says parents of kids who have problems with bus stops and pick up times should reach out to their transportation department to find a solution. This comes after a Grade 10 student attending EMCS in Sooke found out he had to walk 45 minutes to get to the nearest bus pickup. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus route mishap leaves EMCS student walking 45 mins to pickup spot

Sooke School District willing to work with family to find solution

Central Saanich Police impounded two vehicles in less than hours for excessive spending Monday evening and Tuesday morning, handing out $1,185 and 15 points in total fines during some nine hours. Both incidents happened at intersection of Highway 17 and Island View Road. (Central Saanich Police/Twitter)
Central Saanich police hand out almost $1,200 in excessive speeding fines

One driver received 12, the other driver three points

Tourists are being asked to postpone their non-essential trips to Tofino as COVID-19 cases rise across Vancouver Island, but at least one accommodation provider is offering conflicting messaging. (Westerly file photo)
Victoria woman says Tofino Airbnb host encouraged travel despite provincial restrictions

“The only way I would get a refund is if she would be able to rebook the suite for that weekend.”

People wearing face masks to help curb the spread of COVID-19 cross a street in downtown Vancouver, on Sunday, November 22, 2020. The use of masks is mandatory in indoor public and retail spaces in the province. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. reports 17 COVID deaths, 1,933 new cases as hospitalizations surge over the weekend

There are 277 people in hospital, of whom 59 are in ICU or critical care

Stock photo
Senior from Gibsons caught viewing child porn sentenced to 10 months

74-year-old pleaded guilty after police seized 1,500-2,500 images

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

(Pixabay)
All dance studios, other indoor group fitness facilities must close amid updated COVID-19 rules

Prior announcement had said everything except spin, HIIT and hot yoga could remain open

B.C. Liberal interim leader Shirley Bond speaks to reporters from Prince George via Zoom conference, Nov. 24, 2020. MLAs are being sworn in for the legislature session this week, many of them also by video. (B.C. legislature)
B.C. Liberal leadership contest will wait for election post-mortem

Interim leader set to face NDP on payments for COVID-19

Product Care offers more than <a href="http://link.mediaoutreach.meltwater.com/ls/click?upn=pDYyTceU0YgTDdsd92GohdQJsmSiPFEkcB4MdMM0Qkoqb1aJA-2By5aWklKJXV6QRdyTteNjr2FccUOVLUe4t5Zw-3D-3D1ds-_KVyBcpjXADXifSWVpM8nQcAzSm9-2B6fEFnjVrTsOcu31irDHDxi5k0QTOIWCqMXUxaNbrf0yRzXSSpROCkfx3NkUtbr65Dkcw1J0by-2F-2BDdDiJGbcfhtjHWYSs66NwakeCCLYkj20e9ICIZsLcedqNZKBhsN0sGgBsInpdzsddYikUZkmQvFdxLJhakpgAA6aAJ5ScUoWR6vO9sM819vRB-2F6x7dsdfIaWa4ZgHxR4G7hauxgSJCsNI2bP5J62EFfM0aiDqRPwUPUjt7i5-2FMqpdJxrEBewnLky-2B3lE0JAmi5UsJBkJejuLOjsndZz4b7dNgbvt6KyewKuF0sxU2rpYgkAO9YAKc9STuFJd28Qn7jE0-2FqlB8HKOvpW150NHS-2BOMBcK5rkZ8YAuPqJy11k-2BgndiKB-2FWl2icAfbWtRGJPb8fM-3D" target="_blank">150 free drop-off locations</a> in B.C. (Pixabay.com)
Recycling broken or burnt string lights can reduce holiday landfill waste

In 2019, Product Care Recycling diverted more than 11.6 million light bulbs from landfills

Helen Watson, posing for a photo for her 100th birthday, turned 105 on Saturday (Nov. 21). (File photo)
B.C. woman who survived Spanish Flu turns 105

Helen Watson has packed a lot into life – including being in two pandemics

Most Read