Randy Dam has moved across White Rock Lake, but the tradition-rich program he’s taking over is very familiar.
After spending the past three years as the varsity head coach at Dallas United Crew, Dam is now at Jesuit, which has been a DUC rival for years.
However, Dam doesn’t see the change as a matter of joining the enemy, but rather as a sign of mutual respect. The opportunity came from a recommendation by former Jesuit coach John Fife, who left the program to take a job at his alma mater in Philadelphia.
“It was always in good spirits. We always pushed each other to do better,” Dam said. “He did a heck of a job with this program.”
Dam spent four years at DUC, a club team consisting primarily of athletes from Highland Park, some of which went on to row at high-profile college programs. He also led DUC to its first US Rowing Central Youth Championship titles.
“That was a pretty awesome run,” Dam said. “We started to win more regionally and make more appearances at the national level.”
While DUC lacks a permanent home base for its operations (after its idea for a permanent boathouse was rejected by the city of Dallas in 2015), Jesuit is more established in terms of equipment and infrastructure. The program shares leased space with the White Rock Boathouse Juniors club team, for which Dam previously coached.
“The support the Jesuit program has is phenomenal,” said Dam, who was a collegiate rower at Purdue. “I think I can do a lot with it.”
At Jesuit, he inherits a program that has sent multiple boats to national competitions in recent years. In 2016, the Rangers competed in the prestigious Henley Royal Regatta in England. They were the runner-up at the Stotesbury Cup that same year.
Dam hopes eventually to put his stamp on the program — he’s previously worked with some Jesuit athletes during summer training programs — but will first look to continue that recent run of success at Jesuit with an experienced roster that includes seven seniors and a deep sophomore class.
“The success they’ve had is pretty strong. They’ve got great kids with a really good work ethic,” Dam said. “They’re a really self-motivated group. The culture is strong right now.”