Douglas White

Douglas White
Douglas White

Category: Presidents' Alumni Awards

Name: Douglas D. White

UVic degree and year: Bachelor of Arts, Geography Resource Management 1972; Diploma in High Performance Coaching, 1992

Current hometown: Victoria, BC       

Birthplace: Victoria, BC

Douglas White was a Navy brat and left Victoria at the age of six months, moving to Halifax. After a series of family moves, he returned to Victoria in 1967 by way of Grimsby, ON. In 1968, he began his studies at UVic. He had always played sports, such as football and hockey, and found himself looking for a sport to do. That is when he got involved with rowing. As well as rowing, he enjoys hiking, and has done so all over the world. He is lucky to still have close friendships with many of his geography classmates, even some who have left Victoria. His other passion is designing and brewing craft beer, and he even won an award for that, too.  His wife, Chris, is a very important part of his life as is his dog, Hazel.

White has won many awards, including: Shields Award Coach of the Year 2004; Medal of Confederation 1993; Rowing Canada International Coach of the Year 2008.   

Achievements: Olympic Coach 1992, Men’s Double Scull; Pan Am Games Coach 1991, Men’s Single, Bronze; Royal Henley, UK 1992, Men’s Double Scull, 1st Place; U23 Worlds 2003, Men’s 8, Gold Medal; Sr. A Worlds 2003, Men’s Cox Pair, Bronze Medal; U23 Worlds 2004, Men’s 8, Silver Medal; U23 Worlds 2008, Men’s 8 Silver Medal. Also: winning multiple national and provincial championships and regattas. The highlight was winning the Grand Challenge at the Royal Henley Regatta, UK, 2008, which is the most prestigious regatta in the world.

Q: What was the moment you realized your career calling?

DW: I was watching the 1968 Olympics on TV and Canada was doing terrible. It affected me profoundly and I swore to myself that if I ever had the opportunity to help Canada win Medals at the Olympics, I would do that. That opportunity presented itself when I started rowing at UVic.


Q: What’s a part of your daily routine that you can’t do without?

DW: Coffee and newspaper in the morning


Q: The pandemic has come with lessons for many of us. What is something you learned that you will carry forward with you?

DW: If life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And that applies not only to the pandemic but life in general.


Q: What is the best advice a mentor has given you?

DW: If you want to succeed in sport, you must enjoy what you’re doing. Therefore, I always tried to inject fun into my coaching without losing sight of the ultimate goal.


Q: What is your favourite memory of being a student at UVic?

DW: Building a brick wall in the hallway of the Cornett Building as an April Fool’s joke. We worked hard, and we had a lot of fun—and in the process forged lifelong friendships.


For the full list of 2022 Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, click here.