Remembering Head Crew Coach Nikolay Kurmakov

photo of Head Crew Coach Nikolay Kurmakov

It is with a very heavy heart that I write to share that Head Crew Coach Nikolay Kurmakov passed away yesterday at the age of 68.

For nearly 30 years, Coach Kurmakov was a beloved coach, mentor and friend known for his tremendous work ethic and kind spirit. Though I did not have the honor of knowing Coach Kurmakov personally, I'm grateful for his many contributions to our institution. Under his leadership, Simmons' crew program grew and became one of the best in the region – achieving national rankings and earning medals at the New England Fours Championship and world-renowned Head of the Charles Regatta. Coach Kurmakov was also an active member of the Boston rowing community and continued to race in his free time.

Born in Ukraine, Coach Kurmakov was first introduced to rowing – the sport that would play such an integral role in his life – as a teenager. He moved to Boston at the age of 41 and became the head coach of the Simmons crew team, a position he cherished.

In 2017, Coach Kurmakov discussed his philosophy on coaching and life.

"I try to teach my athletes to handle life fair, to be a good addition to human society in this world, to be honest, to work hard, to be a good teammate, to be a good roommate, to respect other people, and to have a good personality," he said. "You must love what you are doing with your life."

These lovely and profound words epitomize who Coach Kurmakov was as a person and a coach. He was a true Simmons Shark, and we are so grateful for his passion, dedication and service.

We will miss Coach Kurmakov terribly, and on behalf of the entire Simmons community, I send our deepest condolences to his wife, Laura and children, Andrew and Alex. Please also join me in keeping his family, friends, fellow coaches, student-rowers, colleagues and members of the Boston rowing community in your thoughts and prayers.

During this profoundly painful and difficult time, grief counselors will also be available to members of our community.

Lynn Perry Wooten