Edwin "Ed" Leader

Washington's Crew Coach 1917-1922

Yale's Crew Coach 1922-1942

Leader and his twin brother, Elmer, were members of the 1913 Washington varsity crew that competed in the Poughkeepsie Regatta.  Upon graduation, both brothers practiced law.  In 1917, Ed Leader was offered the position of head coach at Washington upon Hiram Conibear's death.  Under Leader, Washington crews became regular competitors at Poughkeepsie and in 1922 came second to the Navy crew, which had won at the Olympics just two years prior.

After this race, Leader was offered the job of Yale's head coach.  After some deliberation he took the job and brought Dick Pocock, George Pocock's brother, with him to serve as Yale's boat builder.  It was at Yale that Leader would hit his stride as coach.  In 1924, Yale triumphed at the Olympics and until 1927 would lose no races of any length.

But this winning streak would not last.  Yale's crews continued to be strong contenders, but had 17 consecutive losses to Harvard in the annual Harvard-Yale boat race. In 1941, Yale gave Leader one year to prove himself. While the crew lost to Harvard again in 1942, Yale did not blame Leader for the loss, but all discussion of Leader's fate halted when Yale suspended all crew practice and competition in December 1942.  As a result all crew coaches and other rowing personnel were terminated.

Leader then began working in the coal and oil industry.  He passed away in 1958 due to a heart attack.   He was inducted into the Rowing Hall of Fame in 1972.

Sources about Leader:

Men's Crew 1920-1929 University of Washington

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