Robert Jay Evans | USA

Jay Evans 2013 IWHOF Finalist2013 Finalist: Robert Jay Evans
Sport: K-1 SL and WW
Years Active: 1959-1984
Home Base: Concord, NH USA

Champion Accomplishments:

  • Coach of the Ledyard Canoe Club: 1962-1974
  • Coach of U.S. Slalom and Wildwater Teams: 1969 and 1971
  • Coach of  U.S. Olympic Slalom Team: 1972
  • Chair of the American Canoe Association’s (ACA) National Slalom and Wildwater Committee: 1966-1968

Other Accomplishments:

  • Author of three books about kayaking and slalom racing: Fundamentals of Kayaking (1964- 13 editions), The Kayaking Book (1974), Whitewater Coaching Manual (1972
  • Racing Editor for the American Whitewater Affiliation (AW): 1965-1968)
  • Advisor to and Narrator for the 1971 film Wildwater covering the 1971 World Championships
  • Established the Mascoma Slalom (still being held); 1963
  • Established and wrote first American rules for kayak polo
  • Contributed 35 reports and articles to AW Journal: 1962-1977
  • Created first instant scoring system for slalom races in U.S.: 1964
  • Consultant for first U.S. artificial whitewater course (South Bend, IN): 1982-1984

Jay Evans was the first American coach to establish a regular coaching and training program (1962) for young athletes of the Ledyard Canoe Club (LCC) at Dartmouth College. As a competitor himself, he established one of the first year round programs hanging gates at the Dartmouth pool during the winter months.  During the first year,  LCC sponsored the first in-door slalom competition with Jay handily beating the other competitors. Under his coaching, LCC athletes dominated the U.S.slalom and wildwater scene throughout much of the 1960’s and into the 1970’s where LCC members held almost all of the slalom and wildwater national titles.  In 1968 with Jay as the U.S. Team Coach, LCC sponsored European racers from Czechoslovakia and Britain to join the U.S. slalom and wildwater teams (predominantly LCC members) to prepare for the ’69 and ’71 World Championships but also the ‘72 Olympics.

2 Responses to Robert Jay Evans | USA

  1. Tim Burdick says:

    Ledyard Canoe Club is sad to share that Jay Evans passed away in New Hampshire on April 20, 2018. Jay was an incredibly kind person and passionate about teaching kayaking. Personally, I am grateful for the times he coached me through the flatwater gates on the banks of the Connecticut River and the pesky upstream gates of the Mascoma slalom race.

  2. Doug Coonrad says:

    I am sorry to learn of Jay Evans’ passing and offer by condolences to his family and many friends.

    When I applied to Dartmouth, I went to Hanover for a campus tour and interview with the admissions office. My Dad, a non-college graduate, accompanied me. I had already had an interview at Hamilton College in NY, my home state. There, we had a campus tour by a student who bragged about their dress code for “evening meal” and their plush dorm rooms, although we were shown none of these. Following this, the admissions office interviewer would not let my father attend the interview. He began by asking me for my GPA, SAT scores, and other criteria which had already been submitted. I told him I was uncertain of those and gave him close approximations. When he expressed shock that I did not know these details, I informed him that this information had already been submitted and asked if we shouldn’t instead be discussing what Hamilton could do to prepare me for life and what I might be able to contribute to it’s student body. The interview promptly ended. I was not accepted.

    Our next campus visit was at Dartmouth, which had been recommended to me by a Boy Scout leader with whom I had hiked extensively during HS, completing the Long Trail in VT, most of NY’s 46 4000 footers and some of the 4000 footers in NH. He had stressed the DOC, Dartmouth skiing, and its great academics.

    Before my Dartmouth interview, which fortuitously was with Jay Evans, my Dad and I had taken a campus tour. On the way to the interview, we passed Mass Row where we encountered a student entering Middle Mass. I asked if I could see his room. He responded, “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours.” When I explained that I was a HS student here for an interview with the Admissions Dept, he promptly offered and gave us a tour of his room. There was no bragging.

    We then went to my interview, which happened to be with Jay. He had just returned from scaling the Eiger and, unlike the interviewer at Hamilton, he had actually read and paid attention to the information I had provided to the college. He allowed my Dad into the interview room and began by discussing my hiking experiences. Saying that he was not familiar with the Adirondacks or the Green Mountains of Vt, he began to discuss the week long trip trip I had take to the Whites of NH. He gave me misinformation about the next AMC hut or next mountain traveling northward on the Appalachian Trail. Without thinking and believing that I was speaking with an avid fellow hiker, I corrected him. The interview ran over our allotted time as we discussed the outdoors as between friends. Jay’s secretary finally announced that the next interviewee was waiting and my interview came to an end. Fortunately, I was accepted.

    I became active in the DOC (Mountaineering Club, Cabin and Trail and Woodsmen’s Competition Team) and was the originator and editor of the 1967 DOC Trail Guide, competed with the assistance of DOC Director John Rand.

    I do not know if I would have been offered the “Dartmouth Experience” had it not been for my interview with Jay Evans. I believe that Jay’s willingness to allow my father to remain during the interview, his preparedness prior to the interview. and his expertise in determining whether or not I was truthful about my hiking experiences all played a pivotal role in my becoming a Dartmouth student and faithful alum. Many years later, I realized that he was looking for more than honesty in the manner in which he conducted the interview and was also assessing leadership potential. To this day, I do not believe that as an 17 year old kid, I stood up to the person who had my future in his hands and corrected him.

    I hope that I have not let him down!

    Doug Coonrad, Class of 1967

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