The head coach for the Asheville Youth Rowing Association is Jack Gartner. A graduate of the Wharton School of Finance, the University of Pennsylvania, Jack rowed for the legendary Joe Burk at Penn for four years from 1960 through 1964, where he was the captain of the men’s heavyweight crew. Upon graduation, he declined the opportunity to train with the Olympic program and went home to work in the family business. Jack started the rowing program at both Mercyhurst Prep School and Mercyhurst College in Erie, Pa. in the early 1970’s. He also began the Mercyhurst Regatta which is now over 30 years old. He went on to coach high school crews at The Baldwin School, Philadephia, Pa.; Upper Marion High School, Philadelphia, Pa.; and Lower Marion High School, Philadelphia, Pa. Coach Jack is a commodities broker in Asheville.
Rudy Ryback came on board in September 2013 as an assistant coach. Rudy rowed in high school at St. Louis Rowing and in college at the University of Colorado, Boulder. After graduating with two bachelors degrees in psychology and physiology, Rudy trained with the USRowing High Performance team in the hopes of winning a seat on the US Men’s Lightweight National team. He has coached juniors at Community Rowing in Boston and St. Louis Rowing Club. For seven years he was the head coach at Washington University in St. Louis. Rudy has just completed his masters degree in sports management.
Thomas Scifres comes on board in August 2018 as an assistant coach. Tom, who rowed in college at Bowdoin, was the head varsity coach for men and women at Iona College in New Rochelle, New York for eleven years. He also has coached at New York Athletic Club, Pelham, NY and at the University of Rhode Island. He was the interim head coach of Northampton Youth and Community Rowing in Northampton, Mass where he also coached at Smith College. Tom also spent a summer coaching at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va. Tom has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from Bowdoin and a Masters of Science from Smith College.
Martha Williams is an attorney who retired from 23 years of service to the federal judiciary to become AYRA’s full time program director. She also is an assistant coach two to three days per week. Martha took up the sport of rowing at age 50 and was selected in 2008 by Row as One to compete at the Head of the Charles.
Board of Directors
Jack Gartner, President and Chief Executive Officer
Martha Williams, Secretary and Program Director/Administrator