Heather Putnam began her tenure as the head rowing coach and lecturer in Physical Education at Mount Holyoke in July 2014.
The 2016-17 season saw Putnam help guide Mount Holyoke to several solid finishes. The Lyons placed fourth overall at both the Seven Sisters and NEWMAC Championships. Junior Ariya Lawson, senior Meghan Ryan and first year Elizabeth Hazen were tabbed to the Seven Sisters All-Regatta Team, while Lawson and senior Azulina Green were both NEWMAC All-Conference Second Team honorees. Mount Holyoke went on to see the varsity eight crew finish 11th and 15th at the New England Championships and the NIRC Championships, respectively.
During the 2015-16 campaign, the Lyons posted fourth overall at the 2015 Seven Sisters Championship. In the spring, MHC finished fifth at the NEWMAC Championship as juniors Molly Lapointe and Meghan Ryan were both named to the All-Conference Second Team. The Lyons went on to finish 16th at both the New England Championships and the NIRC Championships.
In her first season at the helm, the Lyons saw solid success in both the fall and spring seasons. MHC finished second overall at the 2014 Seven Sisters Championship, following that up with a seventh-place finish at the 2015 NEWMAC Championships. The Lyons were also 16th and 18th at the New England Rowing Championships and ECAC Championships, respectively.
Additionally, the Lyons saw a number of individuals honored throughout the season, garnering three All-Seven Sisters Championship and two NEWMAC All-Conference selections. Eight were named to the NEWMAC Academic All-Conference team, while four garnered ECAC/NIRC Stewards All-Academic Team honors.
Putnam came to Mount Holyoke after serving two stints as a coach at Rutgers University. Since 2008, she served as the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, where she developed training plans and standards for the varsity squad. She also implemented a recruiting system that led to one of the fastest and most academically talented recruiting classes in program history. In 2014, she guided the varsity A and C fours to silver medals at the AAC Championship and the B four to a bronze medal.
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.