Harold Thomas Mahon OBE
15 January 1942 – 19 May 2001
Growing up in Whanganui, New Zealand, Harry played rugby and was a lightweight rower at school.
He studied geography at Victoria University and then moved to Hamilton where he taught at Melville High School.
In 1966, he joined Waikato Rowing Club where he coached juniors.
In 1969, Harry moved to Canada to teach and coach rowing at Ridley College, St. Catharines, Ontario.
1974 New Zealand
Returning to New Zealand in 1974, he rejoined Waikato Rowing Club and established a period of club dominance, with his crews winning numerous national Red Coat titles.
In 1986, Harry moved to Switzerland to coach professionally and over 6 years he fine-tuned his coaching philosophy.
1992 Great Britain
In 1992, he accepted a coaching role with Cambridge University Boat Club and moved to the United Kingdom. Here, he blossomed as a rowing coach due to the personal support, great affection and respect shown to him by the Cambridge and Great Britain coaches and rowers.
Every crew he engaged with now went fast. Working closely with coaching teams, he said often that he was ‘not a one-man band’.
Cambridge University had 8 Boat Race victories and just one loss from 1993 to 2001.
The 1994 Cambridge University eight, Harry believed, was one of the finest and fastest crews he ever coached.
The British men’s sculling squad also progressed under Harry’s tutelage and Greg Searle (1992 Olympic Champion in the coxed pair) won bronze in the single scull at the 1997 World Championships at Lac d’Aiguebelette.
Travelling the world
Harry travelled widely now, coaching all over the world for brief periods.
Schoolboy crews from Radley College in Oxfordshire, England, enjoyed a golden period with coach Donald Legget getting Harry involved.
During this time, Harry was diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. Yet, in 1999 he ran the London Marathon.
In 2000, he realised his long-held dream when, coaching alongside Martin McElroy, the British men’s eight won gold at the Sydney Olympic Games.
1977 World Championships (Amsterdam) New Zealand 4- Silver
1978 World Championships (Lake Karapiro) New Zealand 8+ Bronze
1979 Trans Tasman New Zealand Colts 8+ 1st
1980 Olympic Games (Moscow) New Zealand 4+ – NZ rowers did not attend
1981 World Championships (Munich) New Zealand 8+ 7th
1982 World Championships (Lucerne) New Zealand 8+ Gold
1983 World Championships (Duisburg) New Zealand 8+ Gold
1984 Olympic Games (Los Angeles) New Zealand 8+ 4th
1986 World Championships (Nottingham) New Zealand 4+ Silver
1988 Olympic Games (Seoul) New Zealand W2- Bronze
1988 Olympic Games (Seoul) Switzerland 2x Silver
2000 Olympic Games (Sydney) New Zealand 1x Gold
2000 Olympic Games (Sydney) Great Britain 8+ Gold.
The Boat Race
Cambridge University Boat Club
1993 – won
1994 – won
1995 – won
1996 – won
1997 – won
1998 – won
1999 – won
2000 – lost
2001 – won.