RCA Announces New Approach to Coach and Athlete Development

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RCA is pleased to announce two new positions to support and strengthen coach education and the development of the next generation of high performance athletes and coaches. This new approach sees the appointment of Al Morrow to take on the role of Coordinator of Coach Mentoring and Development and Adam Parfitt to be the Director of High Performance Coach and Athlete Pathways.

Building a strong pool of Canadian high performance coaches remains a strategic objective for RCA to continue success internationally. In his new role, Morrow will work with next generation coaches, developing world-class opportunities through mentoring relationships and practical learning experiences. One of the programs Morrow will lead, in conjunction with RCA Coach Education staff, is the design and delivery of a national mentoring program for aspiring coaches.

“Being a high performance coach requires a level of commitment and investment that is unique within the coaching landscape,” said Morrow. “I am very motivated about nurturing a group of coaches who are enthusiastic about investing in the art of coaching to reach their full potential.”

This is one of the many tools RCA is implementing to promote the development of coaching in Canada. This year, RCA has also launched the Athlete Development Pathway eLearning Module and distributed grants to 15 PRAs and clubs to support coach certification.

“There are few coaches in the world – let alone Canada – who can rival the achievements, the success and the career of Al Morrow’s,” said Terry Dillon, chief executive officer, RCA. “And we are grateful that he will continue his commitment to give back to the Canadian rowing community, and specifically his fellow coaches, in this new role. His long and successful career will provide a unique education and incredible insight for our Canadian coaches.”

Morrow’s extraordinary contributions over the last 40 years to rowing as a coach have created a lasting and significant impact, both in Canada and internationally. Following his career as an athlete where he represented Canada at the 1976 Olympic Games, he coached at the university-level, leading athletes at the University of British Columbia, the University of Victoria and Western University.

Morrow joined the coaching staff at RCA in 1980, which led to a career spanning nine Olympic Games and over 20 World Championships. Morrow has been recognized for his career by FISA in 1999 as Coach of the Year and has been inducted into the Canadian Olympic Hall of Fame and the Canada Sport Hall of Fame.

As Director of High Performance Coach and Athlete Pathways, Parfitt will be responsible for the athlete pool that supports RCA’s performance objectives for 2024 and beyond. This includes establishing an integrated system between key development national team programs and school, provincial, club, talent identification and university programming.

“I look forward to engaging with our partners in building the quality and quantity of athletes with the physical, technical, tactical, mental and lifestyle skills required to be world class at the senior level,” said Parfitt. “My experiences as an athlete were formative in the collaborative approach we need to take to achieve success.”

Parfitt will review RCA’s Talent Identification systems and work with Canadian clubs and universities to support the domestic growth and development of rowers and coaches. He will also work specifically with the Under-23 program coaches and athletes in integrating their experience with Senior level programming. 

Following his career in rowing, Parfitt, a two-time Olympian, has supported coaches and athletes during their training and competition in a variety of roles with the High Performance program. Most recently, he played a critical transition role as acting High Performance Director.

“Adam was uniquely positioned to step into the role of acting Director of High Performance at an important time for Rowing Canada,” said Dillon. “Adam’s skillful management led the High Performance team through this period of transition which included the appointment of a strong coaching team and initiating the process of rebuilding our High Performance culture.”

“I am really pleased that Adam will continue to have a role within our High Performance program,” added Dillon. “He brings an exceptional awareness of what it takes to thrive in our program and a solid understanding of our talent pathways.”