Monday, May 21, 2012

Great Assistant Coaches: Matt Davidson

For the second year in a row, has their list of the top assistant coaches in America. While I applaud the effort made by Greg Earhart to recognize the unsung assistants, I have a problem with the list. You see, in order to make it onto the list you needed to be nominated by a head coach. Taking nothing away from those awarded, I believe it represents great assistants who also have a great boss- someone that cares for and mentors them, and can advocate strongly enough on their behalf.. Not all assistant coaches are so lucky.  Therefore, I decided that I would come up with my own list. Over the next couple weeks, I'll be profiling some assistant coaches who I think really kick ass, but for whatever reason aren't being otherwise recognized. I'm going to start with someone who was part inspiration for my post before attending CSCAA last week.

I first met Matt Davidson when we were 12 years old. We were competing against each other in the 100 breaststroke at the New England Age Group Championship. He was a loudmouth, but a friendly loudmouth. I didn't see him again until 12 years later. We met up over the summer, working at Harvard Technique Swim Camp.

Matt had left swimming at age 14 and come back. He was passionate about being a coach. For an entire grueling summer, he followed the same schedule. Rising well before 5:00 am, he would coach age groupers at the Y of the North Shore. Then he would hop in his car and commute nearly an hour to work a full day of swim camp. He brought so much energy every day- joking with the kids, and always teaching his ass off. Afterwards, he returned and coached another practice. Then he went to bed for another day.

Matt caught a break the next year when he got to volunteer with Harvard's women's team. He never looked back. After a year he caught on full time. All along he never stopped bringing it every single day. If he could be on deck coaching- he would. If there was an opportunity to recruit, he was all over it. And he never stopped learning and searching for answers. About once a month I would call Matt just to catch up and end up spending an hour listening to him tell me all that he'd learned since we last spoke.

Matt has a skill I've encountered in few people in this entire world. He is relentlessly positive and impossible not to like. His hard work payed off when Harvard women captured this year's Ivy League Championship.  Harvard is well set up to continue that trend of the strength of some outstanding recruiting classes since he signed on.

Without Matt on a pool deck next year, we'll all be a little worse off. Here's hoping he won't be gone for too long.


  1. Where will he be?

  2. I was disapointed to see Gary Taylor(FSU) left off that list I do not think people understand how hard that guy works and everything he has done to better the FSU program

  3. Zadams,

    You read my mind! Gary is coming up soon.

  4. While many here at Harvard mourn the loss of his personality, I will never forget the day that, during Ivy's, the Harvard Men booed the referee -- yes, they BOOED her! -- and when she walked over to talk with the team, Matt decided to argue with her loudly in front of the crowd. What made this scene surreal was that the booing was over a Harvard swimmer who dove in for the start -- before the rest of his heat -- and SHOULD have been disqualified (I was sitting in the Harvard parents section -- everybody knew the referee was right, I still don't understand how we got to stoop so low so quickly).

    As a longtime member of the alumni and Harvard fan I was stunned. So WELCOME! to Coach Chris -- we've been waiting for you!

  5. "You just summed up your entire sorry career here in one sentence! If you had a tenth of the heart of Ruettiger, you'd have made All-American by now! As it is, you just went from third team to the prep team! Get out of here!" - Coach Parseghian

  6. where did this great assistant go?

  7. He is now my financial advisor for Northwestern Mutual. No Joke.