The University of California and its rowing program were both founded in 1868, and crew thereby became the first sport at Cal. The Cal men’s crew began its dominance of national and international rowing in earnest in 1924 with the hiring of Carrol (“Ky”) Ebright as head coach. Over Ebright’s leadership of 36 years, Cal crew became synonymous with Olympic gold medals and national collegiate championships.
Over the years, Cal has won gold medals representing the United States three times in the Olympic Games, more than any college or university in the world. The year 1928 proved to be a landmark year in Cal crew history as the team compiled arguably the greatest season in the history of collegiate rowing. The crew was undefeated domestically, went on to become the American entry in the 1928 Olympics, and brought home gold from Amsterdam.
The Cal varsity eight repeated its Olympic conquest four years later with a close victory over Italy in the 1932 Olympics at Long Beach, CA, as it too was unbeaten all year. Sixteen years later Cal brought home a third gold medal, this time from the 1948 Olympics at Henley-on-Thames, England.
“It’s the CREW, not the individual.”
— Ky Ebright