New Crew Coach Heightens Program Intensity

New Crew Coach Heightens Program Intensity

The Hockaday Crew Team has had a tumultuous past four years. New rowers, new coaches and new practice routines year after year have left a crew program that is yearning for stability.

This year, the crew team again welcomed a new coach, Tim McAllister, and 14 novice rowers. Twelve varsity members have returned from last year.

The team’s former coach, Nick Harding, only with Hockaday for a year, found it too difficult to commute to California from Dallas and left the Hockaday crew team. Head of the Athletic Department Tina Slinker saw an opening for McAllister, whose wife, Susan ‘86, works in the communications department at Hockaday.

“We were in search of a new coach again, and luckily we found Coach McAllister,” Slinker said. “I was trying to find someone who has experience, and the vision he has is extraordinary. I felt he was the right person for Hockaday.”

Finding crew coaches for Hockaday, Slinker said, has always been a challenge, because they are usually off-campus coaches who must attend Saturday practices and commit to the travel involved for regattas.

“It takes a tremendous amount of effort to coach crew,” she said. “I think [McAllister] is the kind of person who understands that and is willing to make that commitment to Hockaday.” Senior Charlotte, Crew Team Captain, has rowed at Hockaday for three years with three different coaches. But she said she also feels confident that McAllister will lead the Hockaday crew program in the right direction.

“He [knows] exactly what direction he [wants] to take the Hockaday crew program,” she said. “That inspired a lot of confidence in me and I know a lot of the other girls as well.”

McAllister joined Hockaday after seven years with Ursuline’s crew team and said he is eager to be a part of the Hockaday athletic family.

“Hockaday has this aura of excellence,” McAllister said. “Even when I first came to Dallas, I always said that Hockaday had the most potential as a crew program. I just saw Hockaday as my eventual place in Dallas, and for some reason, the call just never came until this June.”

Intensity and frequency of practices increased this season as the team kicked off with morning practices four days a week from 6 to 8 p.m., and Saturday practices at 9 a.m. They returned, however, to the normal practice time from 4 to 6:15 p.m.

Sophomore Daisy said her technique has already started to improve as a result of the added practices.

“I feel like Hockaday has more of a direction with the crew program,” she said. “My form is getting better. My application of speed is getting better.”

McAllister said he is looking to bring every team member’s rowing technique into alignment during his first year as coach. He then hopes to increase the team’s competitiveness.

“I have a vision of Hockaday crew as being the elite high school girls rowing program,” he said. “The goal here is to build the program in terms of our numbers and then start to build our reputation as a competitive team in our state and our region.”

While McAllister plans to improve the girls’ rowing with intensified practices and technique building, he said he understands he can’t burn the girls out.

“We want to be as elite as we can be while still respecting the ethos of being a student athlete and not the athlete who happens to be the student,” he said.

Coaching in a scholastic environment, he said, builds more of a community among the rowers. And everywhere they compete, they will represent Hockaday to the best of their ability.

Slinker is confident that as girls see the consistency of the program as well as the coach, the crew program will continue to grow and an increasing number of girls will want to row for their school.

“We were very much looking forward to gaining some stability,” Charlotte said. “And I’m very confident that he is the stability Hockaday needs.”