Head Coach – Varsity Lightweight Coach: Chuck Crawford

Chuck has resided in Delaware since his graduation from Rutgers in 1973 where his business is headquartered. He serves as President/CEO of ACW Corporation which owns and operates twenty Arby’s Restaurants. He is married with three grown children and three grandchildren.

Chuck competed in rowing during the sixties and seventies. As a rower, he rowed in national youth (junior) and elite lightweight championship crews that placed third in world junior championships and first in the lightweight championship.

Chuck has served as an assistant and head coach at the high school, club and collegiate level since 1978. His first major coaching success came in 1980 while he served as Head Coach at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School in Philadelphia, which won the Scholastic Rowing Association of America Championship and finished second at the Royal Henley Regatta in the Princess Elizabeth Cup Competition.

Chuck successes include coaching many national champion crews at the high school and club level, along with an earlier stint serving as the first head coach at the University of Delaware from 1991 thru 1996. He coached the US Junior Men’s 8 in 1980 and 1982, which won a silver medal. He also coached the US Men’s pairs at the 1983 Pan American and Men’s fours at the 1991 games.  He built both the Delaware men’s and women’s programs into very competitive teams in a very short time, having both programs finish in the finals at the Dad Vail Regatta before resigning to return as an assistant high school coach at St. Joseph’s Prep and head club coach at Penn AC. In 2000 the athletes he worked with at St. Joseph’s Prep won the Princess Elizabeth Cup at the Royal Henley Regatta.

Chuck returned to Delaware in the 2001-02 season and the Blue Hen crews quickly rose to a very competitive level. In his first year back, the lightweight varsity 8 finished second at the Dad Vail Regatta and the next year finished first in the same event. The Heavyweight Varsity has also been developing into a formidable crew. The Delaware Men’s Crew has consistently been among the top finishers at the Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta winning the men’s overall point trophy in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2017. The Lightweight Eight Varsity Crew has finished first or second in all of the Dad Vail Regattas that it has competed at since 2002.  

Chuck also pays attention to the Heavyweight squad with his direction and counsel. The Heavyweight squad races in many of the same Regattas including the Dad Vail Regatta, where the Varsity 8 and 2nd Varsity 8 both finished third in 2017. Additionally, Chuck earned the USRA Peoples’ Choice Collegiate Coach of the year in 2016.

Varsity Heavyweight Coach: Jeff Hugel

Screenshot_4Jeff Hugel’s interest in rowing began in the Fall of 1973 as a walk-on member of the heavyweight crew at Marietta College (Marietta, Ohio). His competitive rowing affiliations include the Penn Athletic Club and the Cambridge Boat Club. In addition to work with the heavyweight Blue Hens, Jeff also has college coaching experience at his alma mater, Marietta College, and Clark University (Worcester, Massachusetts).

Jeff’s strength as a coach is rooted in his ability to improve each rower’s technique. Success on the water, he believes, can be traced to a solid understanding and associated execution of the technique of the rowing stroke. In this regard, he knows that an athlete’s strength, fitness, and endurance are magnified by good technique.

Jeff is devoting his talent and energy to the University of Delaware Men’s Heavyweight Rowing program after retiring from a successful career with General Motors. Working as a manager in their Information Technology Division he was known for his unwavering integrity and work ethic.

Golf, hiking, and fishing are Jeff’s interests when he has the time. He and his wife, Susan, have a permanent residence in Moultonborough, New Hampshire. They have two grown children.

Varsity Lightweight Assistant Coach: Bailey O’Brien

Freshman Lightweight Coach: Taylor Valentine

New to the University of Delaware, Taylor began rowing in high school at St. John’s Jesuit in Toledo, OH. He was a three-year top boat member, making the trip to SRAA Nationals each year on varsity. His sophomore year he was a leader in a young boat finishing third in the Junior 8+. He followed that campaign with a ninth place finish in the Senior 8+ the next year and a bronze in the Senior 4+ his senior year.

After high school, Taylor was recruited to row for the University of Wisconsin. After winning duals against Michigan, MIT, and Boston University he raced at Eastern Sprints, earning a second place finish before suffering a debilitating back injury that effectively ended his collegiate rowing tenure.

He has stayed with rowing, returning to coach his high school briefly after achieving his journalism degree from UW in 2013. After spending time home in Toledo, he returned to Wisconsin and in his spare time assisted with the Marquette University rowing team, initially as a novice women’s assistant before immediately taking over as the novice men’s head coach. The small club experienced success under Valentine, prompting him to move out east to try his hand with a much larger club at the University of Delaware.

Taylor was a very adept technical rower and looks forward to developing crisp and clever oarsmen at Delaware for years to come and add to the program’s laundry list of success.

Assistant Heavyweight Coach: Austin Craig

Austin began rowing at the University of Delaware in the fall of 2013. As a walk-on novice, he quickly improved and moved into the 1F by the end of the fall season where he stayed until joining the Varsity 8 for the ACRA Championship Regatta. Throughout his four-year career at Delaware, he experienced much success, coming out victorious in the majority of duel races and medaling in a multitude of regattas including twice at both the Head of the Charles and Dad Vails. As a rower, Austin was well respected and was named team Vice President and co-captain in his senior season. He was also named Most Valuable Oarsman twice and given 110% Effort honors four times by his peers and coaches.

After graduating from UD in the Spring of 2017 with a degree in Marine Biology, Austin attained a job in Wilmington. Being in the local area for work, he has elected to assist in coaching the team for which he rowed. Austin hopes to instill his work ethic in current athletes, provide technical guidance, and use his training knowledge to help the team become physically prepared to compete at the highest level. He looks forward to “bridging the gap” between Heavyweight coaching regimes and mentoring the next generation of UD rowers.

Assistant Coach John Williams

John L. Williams provides legal counsel to the team and has been a part-time assistant coach, boatman and financial supporter for the University of Delaware Men’s Crew since 2001.

A Wilmington native, he attended Tower Hill School and started rowing in 1991 with the Wilmington Youth Rowing Association. After high school, he rowed four years for Williams College in Massachusetts, including three years in the first varsity eight. His collegiate career included a victory at the New England Championship Regatta in 1996 and a third place finish in the ECAC “Champion Regatta.” He competed twice at the Henley Royal Regatta both his freshman and senior years. Notably, in 1997, he set the course record at the Head of the Charles Regatta in the Club Eight that stood for 14 years. After college, he started coaching rowing at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia where he attended law school. After law school, in 2001, he started sculling competitively and coaching at the University of Delaware. He was frequently seen coaching while rowing his single along-side the crews or wearing a suit while driving the launch. In 2003 he won the Head of the Charles in the Club Single in a field of 57 competitors. He still competes with the Wilmington Rowing Center master’s crew and has won first-place medals at USRowing Master’s Nationals and regularly competes in the Club Four event at the Head of the Charles, where his crew has won third, fourth and fifth place medals, despite his boat having an average age about twice that of the other crews in the event.

Professionally, he practices business and estate law as the President of The Williams Law Firm, P.A.  He is also President of Agents and Corporations, Inc. ( which is an online e-commerce incorporation service. Over the past 15 years, IncNow has provided numerous jobs to coaches and recent graduates from the University of Delaware Men’s Crew. He is active in the Wilmington start-up environment. He helped start a software company to use blockchain technology and artificial intelligence to manage and automate business organizations and recently spoke at TEDxWilmington about this technology.  

He is currently the President of Wilmington Rowing Center. WRC operates a boathouse with about 150 masters rowers and 150 scholastic rowers. Additionally, he is the Chairman of the Kalmar Nyckel Foundation which operates the Official Tall Ship of Delaware, a 300 ton authentic working replica of the ship that founded New Sweden on the banks of the Christina River in 1638. The organization has over 200 volunteers who contribute over 40,000 volunteer hours per year to its educational mission. The Kalmar Nyckel Foundation also operates the Copeland Maritime Center, which is a newly built award-winning maritime museum. He serves as the Vice President of the Christina Conservancy. He was appointed by three Delaware Governors to serve on the Delaware Natural Areas Advisory Council. He is membership chair of Delaware’s Chapter of the Society of Colonial Wars, President of the One Commerce Center Condo Council, advisory board member of the Delaware Founder’s Initiative, board member of Rides for Vets, Vice Chair of the American Bar Association’s Partnerships and LLCs Committee, ABA Section Advisor to the Uniform LLC Protected Series Act, Vice Chair of the 18th Representative District of Delaware, co-founder of the Christina Navy, member of the Rodney Inn of Court, was honored by Delaware Business Times as “40 Under 40” for leaders and innovators, and was recently nominated to be an Honorary Commander of Dover Air Force Base.

He lives in Newark, Delaware in a house with boat access to the Christina River.