The longtime College of the Holy Cross women’s rowing coach is retiring in the wake of a January crash that killed one student-athlete.
The college announced Friday that director of rowing and head women’s rowing coach Patrick Diggins, who was driving the team van when it crashed in Florida, is retiring after 34 years at the school in Worcester, Mass.
"I thank Patrick for his years of dedication and service to the College," Holy Cross Director of Athletics Marcus Blossom said in the school’s press release, which noted that Jim Barr will serve as interim head coach when the season begins April 4. "I wish him luck as he steps into this new chapter."
The Holy Cross women’s rowing team was on a winter training trip in Vero Beach, Florida on Jan. 15 when the team van crashed, resulting in the death of 20-year-old sophomore Grace Rett.
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The Associated Press reported the following week that Diggins, 55, was driving one of the two team vans. Witnesses said that he turned left into oncoming traffic before the crash that injured 13 people.
The police report quoted Diggins as saying “Please let me have had a green light. Did I have a green arrow? God please let me have had a green arrow.”
Witnesses said that Diggins had a green light, but did not have the green left-turn arrow.
After graduating from Holy Cross in 1986, Diggins was briefly an assistant coach before being promoted to the head role in 1987. He added the program director title in 2002. Diggins was voted the New England Women’s Coach of the Year in 1999 and 2002, while he led the Crusaders to six medals at the New England Championships, six top-three finishes at the Patriot League Championships, six conference titles, a 1993 title at the Head of the Charles Regatta, and a 2002 title at the Eastern College Athletic Conference National Invitational Championship.