He’s coached teams at Boston University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and even the U.S. Olympic Sailing Team. This season, Rollin “Skip” Whyte returns to the University of Rhode Island as head coach of the school’s sailing team for the 2013-2014 season.
“URI is my alma mater,” said Whyte, a Wickford resident. “I’m looking forward to returning and helping to build on the team’s foundation of excellence.”
Whyte brings with him more than three decades of coaching experience. He spent 17 years as an Olympic sailing coach for the United States Olympic Yachting Committee, during which he coached the U.S. sailing teams to five Olympic medal performances – including a gold medal-winning performance in 2004.
He first coached at BU from 1976 to 1985, then again from 1992 to 1995. He led his team, which was scheduled to be dropped from the budget, to six national titles and a number of regional championships.
“When I began coaching at Boston University, the team was in bad shape,” said Whyte. “Four years later, we had won our first national championship. It’s harder now to turn things around like that, but it’s doable. You have to crawl before you walk, and walk before you run.”
Whyte joins an already established and title-winning team at URI. Two years ago, the five-member women’s team won the Sperry Top-Sider/Intercollegiate Sailing Association Women’s National Championship - the first women’s national small boat sailing title in the school’s 75-year history. The men’s team has also won 11 national keelboat titles. The program ahs produced several Olympians and 26 All-Americans.
Whyte received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry and secondary education from URI. He received the Albert LeBoeuf award for outstanding male athlete during his senior year.