SOUTH HADLEY, Mass. – Mount Holyoke College Director of Athletics Lori Hendricks has announced the hiring of Heather Putnam as the head coach of the crew program and lecturer in physical education. Putnam, who has been the associate head coach of the crew team at Rutgers University for the past six years, takes over the Lyons program following the retirement of 22-year head coach Jeanne Friedman.
“It is an honor to become the next head coach of Mount Holyoke Crew,” said Putnam. “The program has a rich tradition and wonderful support, and Jeanne Friedman has put in place the necessary resources for the program to be successful, most notably an amazing boathouse that was completed in 2010.”
“I am excited to welcome Heather to our Mount Holyoke family. Her career record and experience demonstrates a commitment to athletics excellence and academic achievement at all levels,” said Hendricks. “I am eager and excited to support her vision for our program and to continue our extraordinary rowing legacy.”
Putnam comes to Mount Holyoke after serving two stints as a coach at Rutgers University. Since 2008, she has served as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, where she not only developed training plans and standards for the varsity squad, but also implemented a recruiting system that led to one of the fastest and most academically talented recruiting classes in program history.
During her first stint with the Scarlet Knights, Putnam coached the Freshmen/Novice squad from 2002-06, leading the 2005 Novice Eight to a gold medal at the Big East Championship and a seventh place finish at the Eastern Sprints. Her crews also brought home Big East silver medals in 2003 and 2004 and a bronze medal in 2006.
Prior to her tenure at Rutgers, Putnam spent the 2001-02 season at the U.S. Naval Academy. She guided the First Novice Eight to a 15-1 regular spring season record and both her First and Second Novice Eights qualified for the Grand Finals at Eastern Sprints.
Putnam also served as an intern for the Princeton Lightweight Women from 1999-2001, where her 2001 novice lightweight eight won gold at the Eastern Sprints and both freshmen classes went on to contribute to IRA national titles in 2001, 2002 and 2003.
In addition to serving as an assistant coach at Amherst during the 1998-99 season and coaching the Princeton University summer rowing camps, Putnam assisted the William Smith US Rowing Under-23 sculling development camp.
A native of Massachusetts, Putnam graduated magna cum laude from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst in 1998, with a B.A. in Comparative Literature. Her rowing career was highlighted by an Eastern Sprints gold medal in the Varsity Lightweight Eight.
Putnam will begin her new role at Mount Holyoke on July 7.