Will Porter, who begins his 19th year as the head coach of the Bulldogs in 2017-18, has built Yale into one of the most successful women's crew programs in the nation. The Bulldogs have earned a berth in the NCAA Championships 17 times and have four top-five finishes (2004 - 2nd, 2007 - 4th, 2008 - 4th, 2009 - 3rd) during his tenure.
Under Porter’s direction, four Yale crews have won NCAA titles, including back-to-back championships by the varsity eight in 2007 and 2008. The 2009 second varsity also won an NCAA crown, and Yale again had the fastest crew in the nation in 2010 when the varsity eight captured the NCAA grand final for the third time in four years.
As a team, Yale has finished in the top-10 at the NCAA Championship 13 times during Porter’s tenure. In addition, Porter has led the Bulldogs to four Ivy League titles and three Charles Willing Jr. Team trophies for overall supremacy at Eastern Sprints. Yale also has won titles at the Intercollegiate Rowing Association Championship, the Women's Henley Regatta in England and the Head of the Charles.
Porter, who was named Yale's head coach in 1999, has led the varsity eight to an 145-45-1 record in his 18 season. He was named the 2007 College Rowing Coaches Association National Coach of the Year and has been selected the New England Coach of the Year by the CRCA five times (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2010 and 2013).
Porter has developed numerous All-Americans and Olympians during his tenure, including Taylor Ritzel ’10, who won a gold medal with the United States eight at the 2012 Olympics in London.
Yale rowers also have shined in the classroom under his Porter’s direction, earning numerous Scholar Athlete awards from the Collegiate Rowing Coaches Association.
The 2007 varsity eight NCAA title capped off the first undefeated season for the Bulldogs since 1979. In 2004, Yale placed second as a team at the NCAA Championships, the highest finish in school history. In 2005, Porter guided the Bulldogs to the EAWRC Sprints title, an 11-1 regular season record and a No. 2 national ranking. Porter won his second Sprints title in 2007 when the Bulldogs also captured the Willing Team trophy for overall supremacy.
Numerous rowers under Porter’s tutelage have gone on to compete in international competitions. At the 2012 Olympics in London, three Yale graduates competed in the A final. Taylor Ritzel ’10 won a gold medal with the United States eight, while Ashley Brzozowicz ’04 took home a silver medal. In addition, Tess Gerrand ’10 sat in the Australian eight.
In his first year as Yale's head coach, Porter took the varsity from the Third Level finals at the EAWRC Sprints the previous year to the Grand Final. In 2000, the Yale varsity raced to a regular season record of 7-3, finished sixth at the EAWRC Sprints and qualified for the NCAA Championships. In 2002 the Yale varsity won the silver medal at the Sprints and the second varsity won the bronze medal. In addition, Yale qualified for the NCAA Championships and finished fifth as a team. In 2003 Yale finished fourth at the Eastern Sprints and again qualified for the NCAA Championships as a team. In 2004, Porter's varsity won the bronze while his second varsity took the silver at the Eastern Sprints. At the NCAAs, the varsity won the silver medal and Yale finished second as a team.
Prior to being named head coach, Porter served as the novice coach at Yale. In his first year, the novice women finished fourth at the EAWRC Sprints. The following year, both the first (8-1) and second (5-2) novice crews took bronze medals at the Sprints.
Porter also successfully coached at Stanford, Rutgers and Dartmouth before coming to Yale as the novice women's coach in 1997.
Porter has been involved in rowing for more than 30 years. His career as a national team oarsman was highlighted by a silver medal race in the 4- at the 1991 Pan American Games in Havana, Cuba, and a bronze medal performance in the 8+ at the 1993 World Championships in Racice, Czech Republic.