In the latest in our Getting to Know series of interviews with Columbia staff members, Bwog newcomer Sylvie Krekow caught up with Malcolm Doldron, Assistant Coach for the women’s rowing team. Know someone you’d like us to interview? Send your suggestions to email@example.com.
I started in August 2007. I had just finished my second year as the intern varsity assistant coach at Princeton. We had a couple of awesome years, but I decided I wanted to go to a place like Columbia where they maybe hadn’t done a lot yet and try to see what I could do to help.
Why do you coach women instead of men?
[Laughs] I used to coach men. I was on a men’s team in college, obviously. I think initially [I coached women] because that’s what was needed. My first real competitive coaching job was at Thompson Boat Center in Washington, D.C, and at the time it was just a hotbed for women’s rowing. And then through that experience, I found that it was just easy to work with women. They’re a little more attentive. I also really like the aspect of having an NCAA championship – it adds a sense of closure to a season, because there’s a definitive national champion and there’s recognition.
Speaking of aspects of your job that you like, what’s your favorite part about being the assistant Columbia Women’s Rowing coach?
Honestly, I think it’s working with the athletes. I really enjoy spending time with the team, helping them meet the goals of the program and whatever individual goals they set. They’re all very hardworking, competitive, thoughtful people – it’s funny how much we see that competitive side, but on the flip side they’re also people. Getting to know them on a personal level can be really enlightening.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
Hmm… I think it’s that it’s a constant thing; it’s a 24-hour job. I work on the weekends, I work late at night, and there’s not really any time off. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just not a traditional work schedule, for better or for worse. There’s nothing I hate about my job though, I love it.
In your very spare free time that you mentioned, do you have any other hobbies? What’s your life outside Columbia rowing?
The pursuit of leisure is something I find very appealing [laughs]. I guess I’m a sailor as far as hobbies go… I’m a huge music guy, so I have this alternate line of work where I play music for people.
What’s your stage name?
[Laughs] I don’t have a stage name or a DJ name. I just get hired and play music for people.
What are you listening to right now?
I’m a big hip-hop fan. I walked in here listening to Drake, but I like a lot of the old school stuff like A Tribe Called Quest, and older Outkast stuff. It runs the gamut, I also like alternative music. Broken Social Scene – that’s what I listen to on a Sunday when I just want to chill out. I have varying tastes.
Is there any music the women’s rowing team plays in the erg room [workout room] that drives you crazy or you don’t understand?
[Chuckles] It’s not that there’s music they listen to that I don’t get, it’s the frequency. I’ll hear the same song over. And over. And over. And Lady Gaga. And over. And Lady Gaga. I get it, but throw something else on. Put a song on between Lady Gaga.
Do you have a favorite neighborhood in New York?
I’m from Brooklyn, it’s very laid back, it’s kind of a cross section of people – you can find lots of different cultures and people. And the food is good. I mean, the food is good everywhere, but [in Brooklyn] it’s minus the pretense. I think in order to really truly call yourself a New Yorker though you have to go everywhere and explore everything. Every single neighborhood in every borough has something to offer.
What are your favorite eats around Morningside Heights?
By far, A Café on 108th and Columbus. My friend owns the place, it’s organic French and Caribbean. So all natural ingredients but with French preparation and Caribbean spices – it’s fantastic. Other spots: I enjoy Thai Market, Dinosaur BBQ… I live right around the corner from Dinosaur which is good and bad – sometimes I smell it from my window, and it calls to me.
Is there something particularly unique to coaching at Columbia that you wouldn’t find at another school?
I think there are quite a few things. The diversity of the team – there are women from all over the country, and in some cases, all over the world. People come from Japan, Botswana, London – it’s just really interesting. We have this mix that allows people to learn from each other. And we have this giant city around us, which can be our biggest attraction but also sometimes our biggest distraction.