iSchool professor coaches Finland, Portugal’s rowing teams

first_imgSyracuse University professor Michael D’Eredita established the first varsity sport in Finland. While coaching overseas in Turku, Finland in 2000, he and a team created University Rowing. Previously, sports were available through clubs and were not university-sponsored. He went on to coach Finland’s national rowing team, bringing them back-to-back scholars in the World Rowing Cup and the 2000 World Championship title. He was also responsible for two rowers winning the World Rowing Cup lightweight women’s single and lightweight men’s single scull event for Finland.Fifteen years later, the iSchool professor is still coaching, now as the high performance director for Portugal’s national rowing team.He’s led both the Finland and Portugal teams to Rowing World Cup medals. As the high performance director, D’Eredita is in charge of creating a system including a team of coaches, athletes and a training program.D’Eredita’s passion for rowing began when he was on the rowing team in high school in Liverpool, New York.“I purposefully took to rowing for two reasons — one person told me that it was the hardest sport so I took it as a challenge,” D’Eredita said. “The other reason I chose it was that I always viewed it as a lifelong sport.”When he was in graduate school studying cognitive/experimental psychology at Syracuse University, he was the graduate assistant for the university’s rowing team. He went on to coach U.S. developmental and U.S. pre-elite teams, before traveling to Finland in 2000. Around the same time, he took a job teaching at SU.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textDespite the travel required for him to coach, D’Eredita’s work overseas doesn’t interfere with his teaching profession. The professor has chosen to live in the United States in order to keep teaching at SU.Marcene Sonneborn, an iSchool professor who teaches classes on information technology startups with D’Eredita, said D’Eredita’s traveling has never been a problem for the two of them. Sonneborn added that they work collaboratively to plan out the semester.Sonneborn, who has worked with D’Eredita for about six years, added D’Eredita’s passion for rowing is evident.“When he talks about rowing, that is his true love and it’s just something that he gets a lot personally from it, and he is always very animated when he talks about it,” Sonneborn said. “When he talks about the individuals he’s coaching, it’s almost like a father coaching a son,” Sonneborn said.It was this passion for coaching that led D’Eredita from a winning Finland to a less-talented Portugal in 2003. The national team was performing very poorly, and needed to win medals in an Olympic event at the Senior or Under 23 World Championships by 2004. If Portugal didn’t, its Olympic Committee was going to deem rowing as a recreational sport and stop funding the team.When D’Eredita arrived to coach, one of Portugal’s best athletes, named Luis Teixeira, was ready to quit. But after one week at training camp with D’Eredita, the athlete had a change of heart. With D’Eredita as the new coach, Portugal won two bronze medals at two World Cup events and won the silver medal at the Under 23 Championships that the team needed in 2004.Adrian Hatch, a junior information management and technology major, said D’Eredita’s success as a coach shows in his teaching of entrepreneurship. He said D’Eredita knows how to build and run a team, and teach someone else to do the same.“You can tell he has a passion. He made the point that you don’t have to be a rower to teach these guys, because you can be passionate about rowing,” said Hatch, who has taken several classes with D’Eredita. “But all the guys on the team are great at rowing. They are as good as it’s going to get.”When a new administration took over the Portugal Rowing Federation in 2004, D’Eredita got replaced by a new coach. But when the state of rowing dropped during the new administration, Teixeira, who trained with D’Eredita, started his own international training center and four-star hotel. In 2011, Teixeira decided to run for president of the rowing federation. He asked D’Eredita to come back to Portugal to “clean up the mess” made by the new administration.Teixeira is now the president of the Portugal Rowing Federation, a position he’s held since 2012. He was the one who asked D’Eredita to come back to Portugal as high performance director.“I’m addicted to building something from nothing. While there wasn’t ‘nothing’ there, in terms of international results and a system, there wasn’t a system. So that’s the fun part,” D’Eredita said. “It’s building a system that hopefully will continue to turn out results in the long run.”D’Eredita believes failure is a great thing, however. It teaches athletes that the gold medals are earned and don’t just happen because of luck.“The woman I used to coach, Laila Finska, used to say that you have to learn how to lose before you win and she’s right,” D’Eredita said. “What is really meant by that is, to really lose means you are going into an event thinking and believing you are going to win. That’s when you really lose.” Comments Published on February 5, 2015 at 12:57 am Contact: maquigle@syr.edu Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Former SU field hockey standout, Laura Hurff, playing lacrosse this spring

first_imgOne day in third grade, Laura Hurff was “it” in a game of tag. After less than two minutes, Hurff had tagged everyone.She came up to her teacher, who happened to be her mother, Linda, and asked, “What’s next?” Linda remembered making sure not to make her daughter “it” again so the game would last longer.“That’s probably her biggest asset,” Linda said. “Her speed. She’s used it. I’ve always said she’s been given a God-given talent and that’s what you need to do, use it.”That speed helped Hurff become a three-time All-American in field hockey at Syracuse. She was part of the first women’s national championship at SU as a member of the 2015 field hockey team. She hopes to continue her field hockey career as an Olympian for the United States. For now, in her last semester as an undergraduate, she’s returned to her first sport, lacrosse, as a defender for the Orange (2-0) women’s lacrosse team. Hurff said she hopes it’s just another stepping stone toward her field hockey goals.“Her former high school coach was an old friend,” SU head coach Gary Gait said. “… She mentioned it when she was coming, you’ve got a really good lacrosse player that plays field hockey … Sure enough, we got that opportunity to have her.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textLinda played college lacrosse herself at Delaware. She was a member of the second-ever NCAA Division I women’s lacrosse national title team in 1983, her senior year.Syracuse field hockey head coach Ange Bradley, who played both lacrosse and field hockey at UD a few years after Linda graduated, was at that national championship game, Linda remembered. Bradley remembered Linda when Hurff first came to SU, Linda said.Because Linda had devoted much of her life to lacrosse, it was natural for Hurff to pick up a stick early in elementary school, trailing her mother to camps when she couldn’t be left at home. Hurff began playing club lacrosse soon thereafter.“She just pushed me to be the best that I could,” Hurff said, “and to be honest, without my mom coaching me when I was little I don’t know where I would have been.”  Anna Henderson | Digital Design EditorIn middle school, Linda was Hurff’s coach, meaning Hurff was never going to have a free pass. One gameday, Hurff went to the nurse’s office and her temperature was around 102 degrees. So Linda brought her daughter to her office in the school, had her sleep all day and made sure Hurff played well enough in the game’s first half that she could sit out the second.“If I told her to go through this wall,” Linda said, “she would have run through it.”In high school, Hurff played field hockey, basketball and lacrosse. Linda said she thinks her daughter could have played D-I lacrosse, and Hurff said the head coach at Delaware reached out about the possibility. But Hurff always wanted to play in the Olympics, and field hockey is in the Olympics, while lacrosse isn’t.Syracuse, which had turned into an NCAA tournament regular under Bradley, became the place for Hurff to use her speed. Though Hurff didn’t play her mother’s sport, she chose to wear the No. 14 that Linda wore at UD. By Hurff’s sophomore season, she had become the key cog at the heart of SU’s midfield, the year SU won its national title. She had reached the collegiate peak but was still chasing her Olympic dream.As a high schooler, Hurff spent time with the United States under-17 national team. The summer before her junior year, she played with the U.S. under-21 team. All that’s left to reach is the senior team. She’ll be away from Syracuse twice during the season, once for a camp later this week in Chula Vista, California, where the U.S. will take on Canada, and once over spring break.“My hope is that right after college, (U.S. head coach Janneke Schopman will) pull me up officially to the team, and we’re still waiting for that,” Hurff said. “I’m not gonna say that it’s definitely gonna happen because I have no idea but that’s just what I’m hoping will happen.”When Hurff reached out to Gait after the field hockey season ended, first via email and then in his office, she wasn’t sure what to expect. She and Linda had spoken about using a graduate year to play lacrosse, but Hurff took the initiative to finish her senior year with the sport.She feels lacrosse aids her chances of field hockey success. As a defender in lacrosse, Hurff gets opportunities to catch up with attackers, get in front of them and turn them. It’s a skill she hopes will translate to field hockey.Hurff isn’t sure how much she’ll play for SU. Hurff told her mother to get to games early, Linda said, to make sure she can watch her daughter play during warmups.But for the Syracuse senior, it’s not about the playing time. It’s about a chance to further her field hockey career. And it’s coming full circle in the first sport Hurff ever played.Two years from now, in Tokyo, the U.S. field hockey team will be playing in the Olympics. Hurff said she hopes she’ll be there playing, in the sport she chose to reach that peak.“Her mindset is, ‘I’m going, mom. I’m going to be there,’” Linda said. Comments Published on February 19, 2018 at 9:53 pm Contact Billy: wmheyen@syr.edu | @Wheyen3center_img Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more