On November 14, 2021, Chuck Patterson, Chairman of the Award Committee for Malta Boat Club, presented their most prestigious award, The Dr. George Morton Illman Award, to James (Jim) Barker. The award seeks to recognize individuals whose efforts behind the scenes make rowing events possible along Philadelphia’s nationally renowned Schuylkill river.
Mr. Barker, better known as Jim or Coach along the Row, was The Haverford School’s Crew coach for over 40 years, and his crews won over 150 City Championships, 100 Stotesbury Cup titles, and 100 National Championships. Thirty-five of his Haverford oarsmen went on to compete at the international level, and many more have gone on to row nationally at highly recognized programs. Jim coached Irish Olympic sculler and 3- time Diamond Sculls winner Sean Drea, and US Champion and Lightweight World Champion, Bill Belden. As a competitor, Jim won over 24 National Championships.
Jim is a member of the US Rowing Hall of Fame, the Roxborough Hall of Fame, and the Haverford School Athletic Hall of Fame.
Jim’s impact along our river is immeasurable. The young people he influenced by sharing his knowledge and passion for rowing won’t just have a love for our sport but will carry a superpower of understanding how hard work can bring strength and accomplishment in life.
For this and many other reasons, Jim is well-deserving of the Dr. George Morton Illman Award.
The Dr. George Morton Illman Award Committee and the members of Malta Boat Club recognize and congratulate James J. Barker for his lifelong contributions to rowing with the The Dr. George Morton Illman Award.