Coach - Andrew M. O'Dea

Biography | Photos | Years as Coach


O'Dea was also hired by President Adams. As Cornell's Kane continued, “( Wisconsin ) was the only Big Ten institution to emphasize rowing, and in a quest to become part of the elite eastern rowing establishment, Adams lured O'Dea, a world-famous Australian sculler and coach, to Wisconsin .”

O'Dea brought Wisconsin to its first race against a college crew (all club opponents to this point) when the Badgers met the Yale Frosh on Lake Saltonstall, CT in 1896 and won by over 10 lengths. The Commodore system of fund-raising was first used with this trip to cover the higher expenses of the journey east for this Yale race. Under the Commodore approach, a non-rowing student supporter of the crew raised money each spring from students, parents, alums, faculty and businesses statewide to fund the long train trips east. In 1898, O'Dea took the Badgers to their first Poughkeepsie Regatta (actually held on Lake Saratoga , NY because of modest fears of a potential Spanish warship attacks up New York 's Hudson River during the Spanish-American War). The Poughkeepsie Regatta was the pre-curser to today's IRA's. UW finished third of four entries on the four-mile course.

After leaving for a year to coach one of two boat clubs at Harvard's two boathouses, O'Dea returned for another seven years, coaching the freshmen to victory at the 1900 Poughkeepsie Regatta, a year the varsity placed second. The varsity won another second in 1902.

O'Dea's brother, Patrick, after visiting Andrew one summer in Madison , transferred from Australia to UW and became the biggest football kicker and legend in Wisconsin 's history. Into the late 1950's, Patrick remained a strong supporter of Wisconsin crew until late in his life, leading other Bay Area alums in greeting and chaperoning Badger rowers to San Francisco's Chinatown and cheering on them in races against Cal on the Oakland Estuary.



Andrew O'Dea Andrew O'Dea Andrew O'Dea Andrew O'Dea



Years as Coach:

1900 1901 1902 1903 1904 1905 1906

1895 1896 1897 1898


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