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Vale Reg McKay

Rowing Australia (RA) is deeply saddened to announce today (22 January) the passing of former Rowing Australia President and Boat Race Official, Reginald ‘Reg’ McKay.

Reg McKay was made a Life Member of Rowing Victoria in 2020

A Life Member of Rowing Victoria (2020), Reg’s contribution to the sport of rowing, nationally and internationally, were enormous. He administered the sport of rowing at the highest levels, having been President of the then Australian Rowing Council (now Rowing Australia) from 1989 to 1994.

Prior to his role with the ARC, he was Chair of the Rowing Victoria Committee (1982-87), Rowing Victoria Councillor for the Amateur Australian Rowing Council (1982 to 1990) and previously held the presidency of his club, Footscray City Rowing Club. He began his rowing career coxing at Footscray City, and until recently continued to actively row at Banks Rowing Club.

He will be remembered by many alumni, in 1990, as President of Rowing Australia, for arranging for Professor Theo Koerner to be guest coach of the Australian Rowing Team. The work Professor Koerner contributed to the team environment, alongside Australia’s own coaches, ushered in a golden era for the sport in Australia.

Reg McKay, Professor Theo Koerner and Mike McKay

Reg became a World Rowing international umpire in 1977, and went on to officiate on eight World Rowing Juries, three Olympic Games (1980, 1984 and 1992) and a Commonwealth Games (1986). In 2011, he was awarded the Julius Patching Award for Official of the Year, from the Victorian Olympic Council.

While he officiated internationally, he also made a significant contribution to the Boat Race Official community in Australia, working at numerous Local, State and National regattas, as well as assisting at many National Selection Trials.

The father of two-time Olympic gold medallist, Mike McKay, he will be remembered for his passion for the sport and supporting athletes in their endeavours to compete nationally and internationally.

At his time of passing, Reg had been an accredited Boat Race Official for over 40 years. He was a servant of Australian rowing, like his friend and fellow BRO, the late Dr Stephen Hinchy, and will be deeply missed. The thoughts of everyone at RA are with his wife Sandy, sons Mike, David, John, daughter Sarah and all their family and friends.

Funeral Details as follows:

Mass of Thanksgiving for Reg McKay, Friday 29 January at 11.30am, St Augustine’s, 71 Somerville Rd, Yarraville VIC 3013. The service will be followed by refreshments at 1pm at Footscray City Rowing Club, 40 Maribyrnong Blvd, Footscray VIC 3011. No flowers please.

The late Reg McKay

With thanks to Andrew Guerin.