Florida Tech Athletic Director Bill Jurgens Receives Jack Kelly Award At New York Athletic Club

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Honored by USRowing, National Rowing Foundation

Florida Tech Athletic Director Bill Jurgens was bestowed the Jack Kelly Award by USRowing and the National Rowing Foundation at the 6th Annual Golden Oars Awards Dinner at the New York Athletic Club in New York. (USRowing image)

Florida Tech Athletic Director Bill Jurgens was bestowed the Jack Kelly Award by USRowing and the National Rowing Foundation at the 6th Annual Golden Oars Awards Dinner at the New York Athletic Club in New York. (USRowing image)

BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – On Thursday, Nov. 17, Florida Tech Athletic Director Bill Jurgens was bestowed the Jack Kelly Award by USRowing and the National Rowing Foundation at the 6th Annual Golden Oars Awards Dinner at the New York Athletic Club in New York City.

The Jack Kelly Award recognizes an “individual who represents the ideals that legendary Philadelphia rower Jack Kelly lived by and has accomplished superior achievements in rowing or serves as an inspiration to American rowers.”

“I am humbled that USRowing and the National Rowing Foundation believed me worthy of receiving this award,” stated Jurgens.

“I learned a lot from rowing as a student-athlete and rowing coach, and I’ve tried to apply these lessons to my life and professional career as an athletics director. I am most grateful to Florida Tech for giving me the opportunity to be a part of a work-culture that fosters excellence and promotes a family environment among its employees.”

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Jurgens joined by more than 20 former FIT rowers, Florida Tech President T. Dwayne McCay and his wife Mary Helen McCay and other members of the Florida Tech community. (Florida Tech image)

For more than 50 years, Jurgens has been a coach, teacher and mentor for thousands in the rowing community. His reach has not only affected those student-athletes attending Florida Tech under his tutelage but also rowers from around the world.

Some of the rowers he impacted during his career made their way to the New York Athletic Club that night to join their former coach and mentor in the celebration, including Casey Baker, a former Florida Tech student-athlete (’74) and assistant coach under Jurgens.

Baker was there to present his old coach the Jack Kelly Award on stage at the event.

ABOVE VIDEO: As the athletic director of Florida Tech, Melbourne native Bill Jurgens has guided the Panther sports program from its infancy, and was inducted into the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame. 

Jurgens became Florida Tech’s first ever rowing coach in 1969, following the program’s inaugural campaign. Since then, Jurgens has guided the Panthers to 17 national championships, including two men’s and women’s overall crowns in 1982 and 1987 as well as three consecutive men’s overall titles from 1986-88.

He was honored as the Dad Vail Coach of the Year in 1986.

Stretching his expertise to the international level, Jurgens coached the United States lightweight men’s eight to a fourth place finish at the 1980 World Rowing Championships in Hazewinkel, Belgium.

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He has served on both the USRowing Board of Directors (1976-87) and the U.S. Olympic Rowing Committee (1977-80) during his career.

Jurgens served on the first NCAA Women’s Rowing Championship Committee from 1996-1999, and later served as chair of the NCAA Division II Women’s Rowing Committee from 2004-2006. In 1990, he was named to the Dad Vail Rowing Association Board of Directors and continues to serve on the committee today.

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