Dennis “Denny” Coates (1961-62)

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Jul 172021
Dennis Coates with team
“Denny” Coates is holding up the crooked Number-2 oar.

In 1960, Del Beekley led the effort to restart the rowing program at San Diego State. Back then, the team would row out of the 1891 Rowing Club at the foot of 5th Avenue, San Diego Bay. I showed up for the first meeting in a coat-&-tie. Del got me on a rowing machine then told me to report for practice the next week.

If I remember correctly, we worked out six times a week – 5 regular practices and a Saturday morning endurance run to the salt pile in Chula Vista. Every so often we would row west and dodge the Coronado ferry boats. We gained a lot of experience in rough waters. The Navy guys quickly learned if they cut across our bow the wake would swamp us, and seemed to enjoy attempting to do so. Most workouts were late afternoons and ended with dark waters, silhouettes, cold and wet. The winner of the final sprint of the practice got first dibs for the only warm-water showers available – that kept us motivated.

Dennis @ the 2017 Alumni Row

Most races I stroked the JV (lightweight) boat. However, Coach put me in the number-2 seat in the Varsity boat often enough that I lettered (Crew was a Varsity sport back then). I really enjoyed the combination of physics and zen that is rowing.

I was raised in Pacific Beach and called San Diego home through college, but I moved around a lot after graduation. I spent five years in the Air Force, two years in graduate school at Stanford, two years in New York, and finally two years in San Francisco before coming back to San Diego. I am now happily retired.

I love and enjoy my kids and grandkids. I have been heading out to the Sierras every summer for the last twenty-plus years with a great bunch of guys. There is a sense of teamwork involved with camping that is not unlike the special teamwork of rowing.

Crew has a very special place in my heart!

 Posted by at 6:25 AM

Aztec Update: April 2021

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May 022021

Current Team Status

The team continues to persevere and maintain camaraderie throughout the pandemic. Coach Craig has met with the team regularly via zoom as they continue to train independently. While San Diego County has continued to ease COVID restrictions, the university has committed to strict testing protocols to ensure athlete safety. With only a few weeks left in the semester and mandatory quarantine periods, it is unlikely the team will row together as a full squad this spring.

With that in mind, the team is looking ahead to next season. They are in talks with SDRC to be able to get into shells over the summer, and plan to hold digital events to continue training and stay in touch.

A typical year would bring alumni rows, golf tournaments, tailgates, and Padre games. This past Sunday marked the first ever alumni zoom call; allowing alumni to meet the team virtually and talk about how rowing impacted them through college into their careers. The foundation would like to recognize Mike Buckel, Cameron Elliott, and Steve Lewis for taking the time to speak with the team.

We anticipate holding similar events in the future to allow alumni to connect with the team and discuss their experiences. If you’re interested in speaking with the team via zoom or at an upcoming recruiting event, we’d love to hear from you. Reach out to us directly at to get involved.

H Del Beekley Annual Meeting Recap

The H Del Beekley Foundation held its annual meeting last month, once again being restricted to a virtual gathering. There were many shifts within the organization of leadership this year. The Foundation will see a new name at President, VP, Secretary, as well as one At-Large member.

2021-2022 H. Del Beekley Board Members

  • President – Andy Olson
  • Vice President – Brandt Watson
  • Treasurer – Steve Lewis
  • Secretary – Kameron Kennington
  • At large board member – Melissa Gogin
  • At large board member – Vacant
  • Team President – Shane Wilson

There is currently a vacancy in one of the At-Large member positions. If you are interested in helping guide decisions for the foundation, please reach out to any of the current members, or to The At-Large role serves as an advisor and advocate to the broader alumni base. He or she is invited to attend all Board meetings, and can assist in various Board initiatives including future event planning.

Where are they now – Levi Imbuzan (2012-2017)

Born in Romania, Levi immigrated with his parents to the United States in 1998. His heart was set on joining the Marine Corps since he was 12 years old, but his dreams were dashed when his parents refused to sign the paperwork to allow him to join at 17. Not yet possessing the cognitive abilities to decide to wait one year, Levi set himself to taking the ACT and SAT, and applying for any and all colleges in the last month applications were open. His acceptance to SDSU led him to our program and the career he has created for himself.

Read his and others’ full stories in the “Where are they now” section of the H. Del Beekley Foundation website.

1925 Campaign Update

The 1925 Campaign continues to grow with 11 active members donating monthly, which is a good start towards our goal of getting 40 alumni signed up this year. Ingrained in the culture of the Aztec alumni is the desire to give back to the team that taught it so much, and brought so much value to the lives of its members. To learn more about the goals of the Campaign, or to become a member of the 1925 Club, please visit

 Posted by at 6:11 PM

Where are they now? – Levi Imbuzan (2012-2017)

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Apr 282021

Born in Romania, Levi immigrated with his parents to the United States in 1998. His heart was set on joining the Marine Corps since he was 12 years old, but his dreams were dashed when his parents refused to sign the paperwork to allow him to join at 17. Not yet possessing the cognitive abilities to decide to wait one year, Levi set himself to taking the ACT and SAT, and applying for any and all colleges in the last month applications were open. Secretly hoping to be accepted into San Diego State, his (new) dream finally came true and he was admitted into the school through the International Business Management major.

Levi went through his first year of college motivated but with no clear end goal in sight. One day he happened to stumble upon a recruiting poster for Marine Corps Officers, which only required a pulse and a bachelor’s degree. Knowing he possessed at least one of the two, Levi’s lifelong dream of joining the Marines was renewed, and he strived to be accepted into the Officer Program. At the time, he lacked all sense of self-discipline, and knew he was not in good enough shape to meet the stringent physical fitness requirements without some outside help. He gravitated toward the rowing program after hearing an impassioned speech about “The Pursuit of Excellence” from Coach Doug Perez and watching “The Social Network”.

Levi quickly fell in love with the discipline and brutality of rowing. He accepted the harsh realities of the sport and learned the incalculable value of an indomitable spirit and above all, that his achievements in life were limited only by the magnitude of his desire to achieve them. Graduating in 2017, he promptly shipped off to the highlands of Quantico, Virginia to learn Marine Corps leadership and warfighting tactics in the war against the (fictional) Centralian Separatists. Competitively selected to be a Communications Officer, Levi now serves in Okinawa, Japan with Combat Logistics Regiment 37.

He is currently working on his Masters Degree in Computer Science from Georgia Tech and looks forward to transitioning out of the Marine Corps and working for Amazon or Microsoft in Seattle, Washington in 2021. He credits rowing with providing him with the foundation of self-discipline, hard work, and pain tolerance that has allowed him to achieve so much in life. He can be found frequenting the local beaches of Okinawa, mask on, rowing oar tattoos blazing in the sun.

If any young rowers would like to reach out for guidance on the IB program, Officer selection process, or for any other reason he can be contacted at

Where are they now? – Bernard Aparicio (2011-2016)

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Mar 142021

Bernie rowed as a lightweight under coaches Brian Robison, Derek Snyder, Doug Perez, and Toby Johnson. His years at SDSU were sleep deprived, and are now a fogged out memory. However, one of his earliest anecdotes at SDSU involved this lack of sleep. One day, after a killer evening erg, he fell asleep on a bench outside Tenochca. That was his bed for the night, and 4:30 in the morning his teammates woke him up to go to morning practice. Henceforth, the crew team claimed his dreams and soul. While at school, he worked harder, not smarter. But his discipline skated him through difficult times, and a tenacity to take on any endeavor to graduate and succeed in sport got him through school with a degree, a collection of tanks, and a reputation.

After graduating, he joined the 9-5 at TYLIN international, where he worked on airports, bridges, highways, and utility projects. He enjoyed the engineering work and the challenges of the professional world. He continued to row at San Diego Rowing Club, and was also caught teaching the occasional watersports class or hustling pizza on the weekends. He met a multitude of old SDSU oarsmen while in San Diego, and found great joy watching the team continue to grow as years passed.

However, the rowing bug had bit Bernie hard and he made a terrible economic decision. He put the engineer career on hold to row professionally. He moved to Philadelphia, where he lives in a monastery and rows with Vesper as they prepare a team for the next international race. The dream put in his head on a bench outside T-Nasty has now become the real nightmare.

After spending two years training with the program and ultimately missing the Vesper selection for the lightweight mens 2x, Bernie decided to enter into the open weight 1x trials to race against 24 of the fastest single scullers in the United States vying for a lane in Tokyo.

Despite having only a few weeks to train in the single leading up to the event, Bernie placed 9th overall in what is the most competitive race in the United States. As former rowers we can’t help but be equal parts nostalgic and proud of what Bernie has accomplished to date.

The erg is brutal and the competition is merciless. But the journey has paid itself back a thousand fold.

He one day hopes to grow up and finally “adult”.

 Posted by at 3:15 PM

Olympic Past and Present

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Mar 142021

We wanted to take a moment to congratulate current board president Bernard Aparicio on his showing at U.S. trials last month in Sarasota. 

Bernie lining up for the first round of the repechage
Photo credit to Row2k

Bernie has been training for a spot on the U.S. lightweight olympic national team since 2019, rowing with the Vesper high performance team in Philadelphia. After missing the Vesper selection for the lightweight mens 2x, Bernie decided to enter into the open weight 1x trials to race against 24 of the fastest single scullers in the United States vying for a lane in Tokyo. 

Despite having only a few weeks to train in the single leading up to the event, Bernie placed 9th overall in what is the most competitive race in the United States. As former Aztecs rowers we can’t help but be equal parts nostalgic and proud of what Bernie has accomplished to date.

From all of us at the foundation and Aztecs everywhere – Congratulations Bernie!

See the full results of the olympic trials here.

Garrett Klugh

With Tokyo fast approaching, we wanted to take a moment to highlight to story of Aztec and Olympian Garrett Klugh, who rowed at SDSU from 1992 – 1997 and competed in the straight four during the 2004 Olympic games in Athens among many accomplishments during his rowing career.

To this day, Garrett has remained involved with the team, speaking to the athletes about his experience and inspiring Aztecs to consider rowing at the highest level. Check out his recent interview below on the Athlete to Entrepreneur podcast and to hear his full story including his experience rowing at SDSU.

Click the picture above to listen to the full episode

Episode Description:

“When 9 year old Garrett saw the Olympic torch run by his house in 1984 he decided he’d be in the Olympics. The rest of his story is simply awe inspiring. If you like grit, persistence, twists/turns, romance but no-violence, all told by a master story teller.

2021 brings a renewed hope, and unprecedented challenges for the future of the team and the Beekley foundation. Consider doing your part to help make the foundation successful by contributing monthly via our online donation system.

 Posted by at 2:55 PM

The Latest Update On Aztec Rowing

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Dec 182020

On November 20th, SDSU announced the discontinuation of the Women’s Rowing Program. The Open Letter by the University describes their stance and reasoning for the decision. Unfortunately, there appears to be little opportunity for the Women’s team to continue as a fully funded program after Spring 2021. The decision represents a loss for both San Diego State athletics and the rowing community at large, which has seen funding for many teams disappear due to budget cuts this year.

Coach Craig Doan and the athletes have been following this closely, and will update the board on women’s rowing potential club status as the 2020-2021 season unfolds. The H. Del Beekley foundation is committed to supporting the team’s decisions throughout this process and providing guidance as needed.

Both teams share facilities, including the boathouse and erg room that will be affected by this decision. The board is considering releasing funds to assist the Men’s team, if necessary. It is possible that funds planned to be used for a new shell in 2021, may be utilized to help the team during this time. We will do the utmost to keep our membership informed of this as we assess the situation.

If any of our members have questions, or would like to discuss the state of the team, please reach out to us here directly at the H. Del Beekley Foundation.

Unfortunately, the state of COVID has led us to cancel our events this year. Despite this, the H Del Beekley is on track with its fundraising! Thank you to our monthly contributors, who have added great stability to our fundraising. We have been engaging alumni personally, and are working hard to expand our membership. Please consider donating to the 1925 Campaign and bring the team out of COVID strong!

Happy Holidays to all,

Bernard Aparicio
H Del Beekley President

2020 brings uncertainty and challenges for the Aztec Rowing. Consider doing your part to help make the foundation successful by contributing to the foundation monthly via our online donation system.

October Newsletter

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Oct 302020

Fall is upon us, and the school year is underway at SDSU. It has been a tumultuous year for everyone, and we hope this newsletter finds you well. For SDSU Men’s Crew, the pandemic has hit the racing season hard, but the team continues to persevere. After the cancellation of the spring racing season, the team has been quarantined since March. While unable to row as a team, the athletes have stayed in good shape, and are itching to get back on the water.

The Upcoming Season…

With rowing in team boats impossible, the team has kept their fitness with weekly workouts and zoom meetings. The team has adopted a socially distant virtual fitness program. As the campus continues virtual classrooms and strict dormitory quarantines, athletes will continue to train within reasonably safe conditions. At SDSU the Aztec Recreation Center is closed, along with the Aquaplex. The Mission Bay Aquatic Center is open; however, there is little possibility of rowing team boats out of the facility. With these constraints in place, the team will continue virtual workouts, with the hope of conducting socially distant in person workouts at open space areas (Presidio park, Mt. Soledad, the infamous Tecolote Canyon). In addition to these land workouts, Craig is taking tentative steps to get the team in singles – where you can’t blame the other guy for bad set!

The 1925 Campaign

SDSU Men’s Rowing was established in 1925 (year up for debate). In this 95 year history, the team has both achieved victory and suffered defeat. It is an amazing experience, where walk-on athletes row not for scholarship, but for a pursuit of self-excellence. The sacrifices needed to succeed in rowing are important to it’s lessons, and these stay with alumni for life. 

To perpetuate these traditions and continue the growth of the team, the H. Del Beekley Foundation is launching the 1925 Campaign. This campaign will raise money for the boat fund – enough to purchase another 8+ for the team. From September 2020 to August 2021, we ask alumni to donate $19.25/mo via our donate page. Our goal is to commit 44 SDSU Men’s Rowing supporters to sign up for this campaign. We would raise $10,000 over the course of the year! Let’s pull together and make it happen.

Join the 1925 Campaign

Virtual Happy Hour

With our alumni row impossible to hold this fall, the foundation is setting up a “Virtual Happy Hour”. Grab a beer and reminisce about the good ol’ days. Spread the myths and legends of Aztec Rowing without worrying about finding a person to drive you home! We hope to see you at the happy hour, held over Zoom. Event details will be sent out soon! Please let us know if you are interested, so we can have a rough idea how many to expect. Mention if a particular day works best!

Updated Websites

The Head Coach and Board have invested time to update both and Take a look at the awesome updates, which include:

Special thanks to Head Coach Craig Doan for putting in tremendous effort to update the team website.

Wishing all our readers and their families the best,
Bernard Aparicio

Go Aztecs!

Coxswain Mariel Limbo ’17

2020 brings uncertainty and challenges for the Aztec Rowing. Consider doing your part to help make the foundation successful by contributing to the foundation monthly via our online donation system.

Where are they Now? – Glenn Schweighardt – (1973-1974)

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Aug 312020

Glenn Schweighardt - SDSU 1973-1974As a 5th year senior at SDSU in ’73/’74, it was my last year to get a Varsity jacket. As a Community College transfer, I sat out the spring semester so I could start in the Fall of ’71 with all the other new students. Tennis was my primary sport at the time. However, my JC did not have tennis and the Athletic Director would not let me start a program, hence my tennis career took a nosedive – other than me teaching private lessons and entering SoCal tournaments.

Fast forward to the Fall of ’73. My roommate, who I transferred to SDSU with and knew since the 8th grade, met a couple of guys on the rowing team. He told me he was thinking about going out for Crew. I told him we didn’t know anything about rowing, and would never make a boat as novices. He went out anyway and 3 weeks later told me I should go out – the team wasn’t very good and he thought we could make Varsity. I said you’ve got to be kidding, but knowing it was my last shot at a Varsity jacket, I would give it a try. Back then Men’s Crew was a Varsity (funded) sport and Women’s Crew did not yet exist.

Long story short, my roommate was right; we made the Varsity. We raced in the Western Sprints up in Canada at the end of the season in a Varsity 4+ and made it through the heats and reps to make the final where we finished 5th. Back in those days all the crews on the west coast raced in the Western Sprints. That included Washington, Cal, Stanford, UCLA, Long Beach, UCLA, Santa Barbara and several Oregon schools.

We had so much fun and everything was paid for by SDSU that I’ve rowed continuously now for 47 years. Rowing has changed my life. I met my wife rowing (she was a coxin), two of my daughters rowed for the SDRC Juniors and my best friends are all rowers.

Thank you,

 Posted by at 4:00 PM

Annual Recap & Team Update

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Jun 242020

Even with the season cut short, both the team and the foundation would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the supporters who have contributed this year by donating or attending a race. Below are some of the highlights from this very unusual year.

Annual Meeting

With the 2020 Crew Classic canceled, the foundation held our first ever virtual meeting on April 5th. Eleven members attended via phone and webcam to discuss the future of the team, the foundation, and elected officers to the board. (You can read the meeting minutes here.)

 2020 Elected Board Members
President – Bernard Aparicio
Vice President – Matthew Stewart
Treasurer – Steve Lewis
Secretary – Brandt Watson
At-Large Member – Kameron Kennington
At-Large Member – Andy Olson

New to the board this year, is at-large member Kameron Kennington.  Kam rowed for the Aztecs from 2011-2015, serving his final year as the club’s Public Relations Officer. Kam joins the Foundation in 2020 as a member at-large. He is eager to continue to follow the team’s growth, and is honored to have a chance to help create positive momentum for current and future Aztec oarsmen. 

State of the Team – From Head Coach Craig Doan

On Thursday March 12th, Associated Students and the Sports Club Council suspended all club activities before correctly cancelling the remainder of the spring season two-weeks later in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. While this was an unprecedented, and admittedly painful, way to end the season (particularly for our 5 graduating seniors) this was not completely unexpected. With the cancelling of the Ivy League season just the day before, we knew the dominos would be quick to fall and spoke to the team in advance of that Thursday morning practice. We hit the Mission Bay water that morning focusing the day’s session on making sure we understood the value of our time on the water with the people who shape our daily lives and collegiate experience, unsure of if and when we’d get the chance to experience it all again. We hadn’t yet heard an announcement from the University when we left the H Del Beekley Boathouse that morning, but everyone understood it was an inevitability. Following the announcement, the entire team joined me at my home to say our goodbyes to the season and each other as the students quickly departed for home in order to be with their families.  

On May 12, one month after cancelling the current spring season, the CSU board overseeing San Diego State University announced that the fall 2020 semester will take place primarily online. While nothing has been stated officially at this time, it is believed that this will directly impact the team, with practices being unlikely to be allowed on Mission Bay, effectively cancelling the fall season. This situation is still ongoing, and the Foundation is committed to supporting both Head Coach Craig Doan and the team during this uncertainty. 

Throughout this, the team has stayed active and engaged. The athletes are meeting monthly on zoom to catch up and plan for the coming year. After finishing out the semester logging workouts against one another, they have entered a short detraining phase and will begin summer workouts in preparation for next season in a few weeks.  In the meanwhile, the Executive Board is meeting bi-weekly via Zoom to discuss and plan for next season and will be posting updates via social media and the team website. Amidst this unprecedented situation,  I have consistently been impressed by this team’s ability to see this extended leave as an opportunity to take advantage of, and to make this team better going forward. While I know so many have found this time to be discouraging, I have been continually impressed by the drive and positive attitudes of those involved in Aztec Rowing. 

Craig Doan
Head Coach, SDSU Mens Crew

 Posted by at 7:31 AM

Annual Meeting and Elections – Crew Classic canceled

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Apr 012020

Because of the safety issues brought about by the coronavirus, the 2020 San Diego Crew Classic was canceled. Therefore the H Del Beekley Foundation will be holding our annual meeting and elections online Sunday April 5th at 4:00pm PST. If you would like to participate please send an email to

 Posted by at 11:53 AM