Tom Matlack ’86 P’16: On Acorns Becoming Oak Trees and Rowing For Coach Will Scoggins

Rachel Wachman '24March 30, 20232min

Tom Matlack ’86 P’16 has never felt as in the zone as he did while rowing at Wesleyan. “It’s this weird thing where you’re with eight other people, and you’re trying to move in exact synchronicity,” Matlack explained. “There’s a feeling when you’re doing that well that the boat actually feels almost like it’s floating. And that there’s no way to tell who is contributing what to the speed of the boat. So, you have to trust that each of the other people who are rolling with you is working just as hard as you are.”

For Matlack and many of his teammates, Coach Will Scoggins became a lifelong mentor and friend. This past year, Matlack and teammates John Gannon ’86 P’25 and Peter Sallick ‘87 came up with the idea to establish and grow an endowment fund that, once fully vested, will generate income that there will be a Scoggins eight purchased every four to five years.

“We raised enough money so that there would always be, in perpetuity, a shell in the boathouse with his name on it,” Matlack said. “So every rower, forever, will know his name. We got the first of those boats. And we christened it with his name on it at Wesleyan….All of those guys would say exactly the same thing that I’m saying, which is that he is the most important mentor in their life.”

Click here to read Rachel Wachman ’24’s story.