Albin Moser Retires
When a young man named Albin Moser first walked through the front door of the Narragansett Boat Club’s small boathouse on the Seekonk River in February of 1964, little did he know that day that he would become the center of the universe for rowing training and development in America’s oldest rowing club at the 180-year old Narragansett Boat Club in Providence, RI and enjoy a career in rowing that would span nearly 60 years.
The 6’ 5” Moser was a Brown University football recruit from Adams, Massachusetts. Following his freshman football season, he took up rowing as a way to stay in shape throughout the rest of the year. So, when Coach Vic Michalson made his winter call for more new rowing prospects, Moser ran down to the boathouse with the rest of the crew. The rest is history. The freshman crew had its ups and downs throughout the spring, but they placed fourth at the Eastern Sprints and second at the IRA, which was like a national championship. Members of this crew became the core of the varsity for next three years. The result was top-level achievements at the Eastern Sprints and the IRA, as well as a trip to England’s Royal Henley Regatta in 1966.
Albin Moser stands 4th from the right in this 1966 Brown Crew team photo.
Albin Moser (at 5 seat) grimaces pulling hard in practice for the Henley Royal Regatta in 1966.
Moser’s desire was to become an educator and coach. He also was destined to get married. When he entered first grade in Adams, MA he met a sweet girl named Eileen and was moonstruck at first sight. Albin and Eileen married in October of ’67. Albin began his teaching and coaching career at Lee High School in Lee, MA, just 30 miles down the road in the Berkshires. An offer the following year to coach at Brown brought Albin and Eileen back to Providence in the summer of 1968, where they lived in Brown University’s Marston Boathouse until they found a permanent residence. During that summer Albin taught himself how to scull and, in August 1968, joined the Narragansett Boat Club. He also became a social studies teacher in the Providence School system and eventually became a middle school principal in Providence and in Fall River. Throughout his professional career, Albin managed to balance his educational and rowing endeavors so that he was able to contribute to both and to achieve continual advancement in each area. In 2003, he retired from his 28 year career in education. But obviously, his rowing career did not end there.
In 1971, he started a schoolboy sculling program at the Narragansett Boat Club after a chance visit to the Ratzeburg, Germany rowing center for the West German team in 1970. There, he observed a well-organized program with small rowing shells and shorter oars designed to start children in sculling. When he returned to Providence after the visit, he petitioned the NBC Board of Governors for the purchase a new Pocock Wherry which they approved with a lot of encouragement. Starting with that purchase, plus a handful of borrowed wherries from Brown University, Albin’s fledgling sculling program became a program for boys, girls, and adults of all ages. Over the next four and a half decades, many of them under Moser’s direction, the club has introduced thousands to sculling and continues to do so today. In 2003, after retiring from his career as an educator, Moser became Director of Rowing at NBC and expanded the program so that it now operates year-round. Moser has developed numerous junior regional and national champions, as well as junior national team athletes and scullers who have competed in world championships, including coaching his son own Erik who achieved all of these mentioned honors. In addition to teaching sculling at the NBC, he also developed the St. Mary Academy - Bay View Crew from a short seasonal program to a total Bengal Crew effort. Under his coaching leadership from 2004 to 2013, Bay View became a respected member of the New England Interscholastic Rowing Association.
In 2010, thanks to supportive efforts by NBC members, Moser won the USRowing’s John J. Carlin Service Award given to an individual who has made significant and outstanding commitments in support of rowing. In addition to his decorated service as an oarsman, coach, and Director at NBC, since 1983 Moser has been an active USRowing Referee and frequent Chief Referee at regattas. He has also been a USRowing referee clinician, teaching others the skills and rules to become referees. His impact at all levels of rowing over six decades is nearly unparalleled.
Freshman Coach Moser holds the IRA National Championship Trophy in ‘81.
The father of three has swept, sculled, and motored tens of thousands of miles on the Seekonk River in his 54 years of dedication to the sport as a competitor, referee, and, coach. His love of the river and all of the seasonal and natural features have held him tightly to NBC and the Seekonk. From osprey and bald eagles capturing fish to boat smashing ice flows, Albin Moser has seen it all on the Seekonk River which separates Providence from East Providence, RI. Add to the list all of the regional, collegiate, national, and world champion rowers that he’s coached and his accomplishments are just barely evident in this unassumingly quiet, tall man. You would not want to play poker with this man who can be expressionless under the most stressful of circumstances. When he barks commands to trainees, they snap to like they are driven by a marine drill sergeant; not because he’s big and physically intimidating which he is, but because he commands respect just in the way he conducts himself. He’s quiet and says so much in such few words.
Narragansett Boat Club has been the fortunate recipient of all of the greatness that Albin Moser has offered and the selfless service he has given to the sport and club. Moser has decided to hang up his clipboard as NBC’s Director of Rowing. He’s kept himself in good physical condition always. He will continue to support rowing through his referee work and we are pretty sure he will be out sculling or sweeping on the Seekonk with all of his former coaches and students for many years to come.
Above, Moser joined his fellow former Brown Crew teammates in the 50 year reunion row at Brown University for yet another row on the Seekonk River in colors he’d not worn in competition for fifty years.