Moving fast to stem the potential mutiny, Captain Asbury Coward, who had succeeded Cutter as athletic director, kicked Lindsey upstairs to a make-work project of "studying the prospects of U.S. rowing in future Olympic Games" and appointed Paul Quinn head coach of the crew. Says Lindsey today, with only a suggestion of bitterness, "I was naive, I suppose, to let myself get involved in such a situation. Coming from the West Coast, 1 just didn't know what had been going on at Annapolis." Says Quinn: "I'm sorry it had to happen to either of us. I was naturally hurt when I was passed over, and Lou was hurt just as bad later on."
Unlike feverish, intense Lou Lindsey, Paul Quinn is a hulking figure of a man with massive hands, an expansive smile, a relaxed, almost delicate manner with oarsmen. Prompting, coaxing and encouraging his boys by a megaphone, he speaks in a voice so confidential that a man at his elbow cannot hear what he says. But beneath his tact and diplomacy Quinn is a relentless faultfinder and nit-picker—as a coach must be to succeed in a sport where even a tiny flaw in one man's style or timing can disrupt the perfection of an entire boatload. Split seconds can and do lose boat races, as Navy itself proved when, pulling in near harmony, it beat Cornell in the Eastern Sprints by four-tenths of a second, hardly more time than it takes to bat an eye.
Quinn seems always to be fussing at his charges like a spinster aunt. "Not quite so much layback," he will mutter privately to his No. 4 man. The correction is a matter of inches. Another does not thrust his sweep into the water with enough precision and is quietly chided. A third is rushing forward on his sliding seat. Gradually, as each tiny imperfection is polished away, the crew approaches its ultimate, machinelike objective: to make the shell cover the greatest amount of water in the shortest time.
This Saturday, while the slim shells glide in seeming effortlessness through the waters of Onondaga Lake and the Thames, Paul Quinn, like the rest of the cheering thousands on the shores and in the moored boats, will become for 15 anguished minutes no more than another spectator. For once a crew race has begun, no coach can do more than hope he has done his work well. While the race is on, his fate rests in the blistered hands and aching muscles of eight oarsmen and a cox who are no more machinelike or perfect than any other human beings.
For one veteran oarsman's analysis of why he chose rowing as a sport, see also related article on page 42.