The Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) recently acknowledged the contributions of five individuals to the sport of college sailing by inducting them into the ICSA Hall of Fame. Austin Dias (San Diego, Calif.) received the Student Leadership Award; Joe Kirk (West Falmouth, Mass.) was honored with the Lifetime Service Award; Bryan McDonald (Monte Sereno, Calif.) received Outstanding Contribution/Volunteer; and Michael Segerblom (Costa Mesa, Calif.) was recognized with the Graham Hall Award for Outstanding Service by a College Sailing Professional.
The ICSA Hall of Fame was established in 1969 to acknowledge the competitive achievements of undergraduates as well as the service contributions of individuals whose efforts helped in the establishment, growth, and development of college sailing. In recognition of their significant service to the organization, the names of these inductees will be added to the permanent ICSA Hall of Fame display located in the Robert Crown Sailing Center at the U.S. Naval Academy (Annapolis, Md.).
Lifetime Service Award – Joseph P. Kirk
Presented annually to an individual who has rendered exceptional service to the sport of inter-collegiate sailing and who has passed his/her 60th birthday, ICSA has recognized Joe Kirk (West Falmouth, Mass.) with its 2009 Lifetime Service Award.
An employee of Massachusetts Maritime Academy for the last 10 years, and a volunteer for its sailing program for many years prior to that, Kirk sailed with the cadets, ran races and was a great mentor for all who came into contact with him. His untimely death in September 2008 came after a brief battle with cancer. A graduate of Belmont Hill School and Bentley College, he served in the National Guard and then pursued a career as a hospital purchasing agent until he went to work for the Massachusetts Maritime Academy in its Boat Donation Program.
Kirk was Massachusetts Maritime’s go-to-guy for boat maintenance, working tirelessly to prepare its fleet for the water each season. Not only does the program use numerous offshore boats as well as dinghies – ensuring that boat maintenance is endless – Mass Maritime’s program receives no financial support from the school and relies on the boat donation program for funding. Because of Kirk’s efforts and commitment to the program, the boats were always in top condition and Mass Maritime’s fund raising efforts were always successful – which allowed the school to put up to 50 Cadets on-the-water for weekend competition.
An active member of Chapoquoit Yacht Club, the essence of Kirk’s thoughtfulness and leadership by example was captured by Commodore Jamie Ramsdell in an email to the membership: “Whether running Wednesday night Beetle races with Becky during their ‘date night,’ scrubbing the bottom of a friend’s boat who never seemed to find the time, or walking around with his Santa hat during the Clambake, there was no better friend to the members of CYC than Joe Kirk . . . Much of what Joe did was behind the scenes where few noticed. The bailed boat, untwisted outhaul, or replacement Beetle part all seemed to just happen. His pure enjoyment in being at Little Pier on a summer day was a feeling that was tangible. While lifting the floats into the water each spring Joe would always remark: “This is my favorite day of the year.”
Outstanding Service/Volunteer – Bryan Harrison McDonald (Monte Sereno, Calif.) has been recognized by ICSA for his Outstanding Service as a Volunteer to the sport of college sailing. His enthusiastic support started while at the University of California-Berkeley (class of 1989) when he led the effort to purchase of a fleet of new boats for the sailing team. Over the ensuing years, he has given back to the sport through the judging and umpiring of events across the country and by creating multimedia learning materials – web designs, instructional videos and newsletters – that have nurtured a burgeoning group of sailors from youths to seniors. As a former captain of the Cal Sailing Team, McDonald never thought he’d be invited to be judge at Stanford events, but he has been – over and over again. He was touched when the coach of Stanford introduced a long list of umpires as “a qualified group of officials including Olympic sailors, national champions, All Americans and ‘Dude1,’” referring ironically to McDonald’s email handle. For many years McDonald has been a member of the ICSA Rules and Appeals Committees, and this spring he was the chief umpire at the ICSA National Championship in San Francisco Bay.
The proud father of three children, McDonald is the founder of the Windsurfing Task Force with a mission to supplement traditional sailing teams with windsurfing, especially at the high school and collegiate levels. With a goal of developing talent and depth leading into the 2012 Olympics, the WTF has already garnered hundreds of followers since its inception in 2008.
McDonald, characteristically humble and humorous, likes to quote Socrates when challenged by competitors with regard to key judgment calls on the water: “I know nothing except the fact of my ignorance.”
GRAHAM HALL AWARD – Michael Segerblom (Costa Mesa, Calif.) has been honored by ICSA with the Graham Hall Award which recognizes organizers, administrators, advisors or coaches who have served the best interests of college sailing at the club/team, conference or national level. Segerblom, a 1986 graduate of the University of Southern California, was an ICSA All-American in 1985 and Captain of the school’s sailing team. As an undergrad he held several offices in the Pacific Coast Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Association (now Pacific Coast Collegiate Sailing Conference) including serving as President, and for more than 15 years serving as its Graduate Secretary and Conference Commissioner. He has served on ICSA’s Board of Directors and All-America Committee, and was Chair of the Communications Committee.
In 1992, Segerblom became the Executive Director of the Pacific Coast Sailing Foundation and the United States Sailing Center – Long Beach. In addition to being the home of the USC Varsity Sailing Team, the Center is also the host of many racing events and learn-to-sail programs, as well as programs for sailors with disabilities and youths-at-risk, while another mainstay is high school sailing. “Segerblom combines his love for sailing with his organizational and business skills to coordinate sailing programs on many age and ability levels,” read the nomination for the award.
Racing internationally and nationally on big boats and dinghies, Segerblom won national titles in the Snipe and 470 classes, and placed fifth at the 1984 470 Olympic Team Trials. He has been a US Sailing Certified Judge since 1988 and has served as the Regatta Chairman and Principal Race Officer for numerous international, national, regional and local events. He also co-founded the US–Japan Intercollegiate Goodwill Regatta.
“When I traveled to my first away event in 1978, I went to the U.S. Naval Academy for a regatta as John Shadden’s crew,” explained Segerblom about his personal connection to the award’s namesake. “The first guy John and I met was Graham Hall and he took us under his wing. We were just 15, and when we won the qualifying event, I looked over and Graham was there with a ‘big thumbs’ up from a coach who cared. That made receiving this award special.”
The father of three sons (Sean, age 10, Daniel, 13 and Chris, 16) is, naturally, now very involved in high school sailing and travelling to events with his sons. Chris is spending seven weeks in Europe this summer, Daniel will be competing at the youth championship in Connecticut and Sean is currently learning team racing in Sabots.
Segerblom’s reflections on his ICSA activities also included a nod to long-time mentor Ted Livingston (Bellingham, Wash.), who recently passed away. “He sailed at San Diego State in the ‘40s and was instrumental in developing the sailing program at the University of Hawaii. He had put me up for this award and finally I qualified age-wise. I got a very nice call from his wife yesterday.”
Student Leadership – Austin Dias (San Diego, Calif.), a graduating senior from California State University-Channel Islands (CSUCI) has been honored with the The James Rousmaniere Award for Student Leadership which recognizes an undergraduate whose efforts have made a significant contribution to the development, progress and success of his or her club or team, conference, or the ICSA.
Dias learned to sail in the San Diego Yacht Club junior program but turned his focus in high school to basketball, which he played on the varsity level for four years. He chose CSUCI because it was the nearest Cal State school, and at seven years old, the newest school in the Cal State system. Attracted by the entrepreneurial focus of the curriculum, and realizing the opportunity to build something from the ground up, Dias’ interest in sailing was rekindled. From a first official meeting in 2006, he was able to build the first and only sports club on campus, in 2007, into a team that tied for second at the 2009 Harbor Cup Regatta. This spring, the CSUCI Sailing Team qualified for the Pacific Coast Sailing Championships. After three years of dealing with a variety of issues from insurance to funding and then finally competing, the program is finally beginning to reap the rewards of his hard work and persistence.
Cited for “extraordinary vision, leadership and achievement,” one nominator wrote: “Without a doubt, this is one of the most remarkable displays of student leadership that I have witnessed over my past 25 years in higher education.”
Another nominator wrote that he had known Dias for four years: “During this time I have been amazed by his natural ability to engage and inspire his fellow classmates and teammates while gaining the respect of both the faculty and the staff at Cal State Channel Islands. His entrepreneurial leadership skills and boundless tenacity served as the perfect winning combination to establish a nationally recognized club. With very few policies in place in order to guide this process, he worked collaboratively and strategically with Student Affairs staff in order to create the foundation of CSUCI’s Sports Club program. This significant achievement for the Sailing Team would not have been possible without the exceptional leadership and commitment of Dias.”
Dias, who is now looking for a job with a venture capital firm in San Diego, said that starting the team had given him a lot of great experience: “We had to raise the money to get the boats, and we had to do a lot of politicking to get this [the program] approved. We had to market the team on a lot of different levels including at freshman orientations to find anyone with any sailing experience. A lot of our team was good athletes who didn’t have any sailing experience. We did a lot of our own teaching so there was a tough learning curve.”
His future plans for sailing include competing in the local Etchells fleet, which boats numerous world-class sailors, with hopes to compete at the world championships in two years when they are held in San Diego.
“I was really honored,” said Dias of the award. “With the award’s namesake being interested in politics and sailing, it was pretty cool.”
Finalists for the 2009 Rousmaniere Award included: Danielle Marie Richards, University of California-Irvine ’09 and Garret W. Tate, Rice University ’09.
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