Waterfront rowing center receives a moniker, major donation as construction continues

Bainbridge Island’s future waterfront rowing center, which will be the first of its kind in Kitsap County, has got a name.

Bainbridge Island Rowing spokesman Patrick Batson announced recently that the in-progress facility will be dubbed the Stan Pocock Legacy Rowing Center, in honor of the legendary boat builder and University of Washington rowing coach prominently featured in the bestselling book “Boys in the Boat.”

“Fundraising is in full swing,” Batson added, “and we have received a major $500,000 donation.”

Though the donor wished to remain anonymous, the effects of the gift were obvious.

“This contribution helped BIR complete stage one of construction — building the foundation — and provided seed funding for stage two: completion of construction,” Batson said.

Pocock was one of the most successful coaches ever for UW freshman rowers, Batson said, coaching the powerhouse team from 1947 to 1955.

He also coached eight different crews to the Olympics between 1956 and 1964, bringing home a record four gold and two bronze medals. In addition, he ran the legendary Pocock family boatbuilding shop for almost 20 years, and is credited with creating the first fiberglass rowing shell.

“Stan believed that rowing changes people’s lives and unites communities,” said Sue Pocock, Stan’s wife of 22 years. “So much of Stan’s work centered on expanding access to rowing and all of its benefits in the Pacific Northwest. He also had a personal connection to Bainbridge Island, and two of his granddaughters rowed for BIR.”

“As this beautiful new rowing center comes to life, it’s a fitting tribute to Stan’s vision and life’s work that it bears his name,” she said.

BIR and the Pocock Family have collaborated with the George Pocock Rowing Foundation in the naming of the center, according to Batson.

“Stan Pocock believed that anyone with the desire to row should have the opportunity to participate in the sport,” said Matt Lacey, Pocock Foundation Director. “He advanced that goal through his life and exemplified the Pocock Foundation’s mission, which is to build and support high quality programs and facilities that promote access to and excellence in rowing and that use rowing as a means to foster physical activity, health, leadership and community engagement. These are all goals that BIR shares, and we’re pleased that the new rowing center on Bainbridge Island will be named in honor of Stan’s contributions to rowing in the Puget Sound region and the sport of rowing in general.”

“It’s inspiring to see our community joining together to create a rowing center on Bainbridge Island,” agreed BIR Board President Sue Entress.

“Not only will the facility bring year-round vitality to Waterfront Park, but it also supports our goal of unifying rowers throughout the West Sound region.

“One way we accomplish this is through hosting regattas on Bainbridge such as the Bill Richards Memorial Regatta, which draws participation from across Kitsap County,” Entress added.

While Bainbridge Island Rowing may be the first rowing group in our region to build a rowing center, Entress said, the group hopes to serve as a model for the many organizations that share their commitment to promoting good health, building community, and nurturing a love of our natural resources.

To learn more and/or donate to the rowing center project, visit wwww.bain bridgerowing.org/stan-po cock-legacy-rowing-center-need.