An experienced collegiate Boatman with proven leadership, Joel Furtek enters his first season as the boatman/rigger for the University of Miami Hurricanes rowing staff under head coach Robbie Tenenbaum.
Furtek brings over 16 years of rowing expertise, and rigging experience to the Hurricanes staff, including five years as head coach at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill.
“Joel has a wealth of experience in the sport of rowing, and I am very happy that he chose to become a Miami Hurricane,” stated head coach Robbie Tenenbaum. “Joel will have an immediate impact on the efficiency of our program.”
Furtek is a native of Utica, N.Y. and began his rowing career at Yale University. However, he was a standout soccer player for Notre Dame High School prior to college, enrolling at Yale shortly after graduation in 1986. Furtek would later earn two varsity letters and All-Ivy league honors in rowing. He would assist his team to the quarterfinals at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta in England before falling to the British lightweight national team.
A four-year member of the Yale crew, he was the coxswain for the Bulldogs’ lightweight crew that went undefeated on its way to the 1990 national collegiate rowing championship and competed at the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta in England. In his senior year, he was awarded the Henry Babcock Award for outstanding spirit. Furtek also coxed at the Kelly Challenge in Mandelieu, France and at the U.S. National Team Selection Camp in 1993.
After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in History in 1990, Furtek spent two years working for the Central Intelligence Agency.
One of his earliest coaching exploits was at the University of Virginia in 1992 where he headed the novice program for the Cavaliers. While at Virginia, he coached his novices to an undefeated Southern Championship season in 1996, followed immediately by a victory at the San Diego Crew Classic and a bid to the first-ever NCAA Championship for the varsity team of the Cavs in 1997.
That’s when he was tapped to be the inaugural head coach of the rowing team at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Starting with a blank sheet of paper, Furtek’s Tar Heels burst out of the gate with a Central Region Championship and NCAA bid in their first year, with the Carolina varsity four earning a Bronze Medal at those 1998 NCAAs. The UNC program also funneled 3 first-year rowers into the national team system and produced World Champion Dana Peirce ’01.
While at North Carolina, Furtek ran the successful Nike Rowing Camp at Chapel Hill, where 2008 Olympic Champion Caroline Lind took her first strokes.
In 2002, Furtek returned to Charlottesville as an assistant coach for the Cavaliers, and the following year took on the role of that program’s first rigger. In 2004, he took a hiatus from the rowing world to build oncology treatment planning computers for Varian Medical Systems. Furtek has also completed stints with a manufacturer of carbon fiber parts for Ferrari motor cars, with the Central Intelligence Agency, and as proprietor of several computer consulting and asset-redistribution businesses. In 1996, he helped install the rowing & canoe/kayak course at the Atlanta Olympic Games and has installed courses in Virginia, North Carolina, and for the 2008 Olympic Trials in Oklahoma City.
“I’m truly excited to be a part of Coach Tenenbaum’s staff,” expressed Furtek. “Having been colleagues for 20 years, I know that he has the leadership, vision, and energy to create a vibrant and successful program. Combined with the terrific academics, athletic department, and the spirit of the University of Miami, I can’t think of anywhere I’d rather be. It’s great to be a Miami Hurricane!”
From 2000-08, Furtek took time away from the water to enjoy working on his collection of International Harvester trucks. Joel’s International House of Pickups includes eight models dating from 1960 to 1972. “Working with student-athletes is an emotionally rewarding but often draining career,” Furtek says. “When I used to pull-out the wrenches and work on my trucks that was my time to learn, to recharge my batteries, and to work in a world of concrete results.” His original condition 1960 B184 pickup placed second at the International Harvester Scout and Light Truck Nationals back in 2001 in Springfield, Ohio.