Rowing Propels Students to Future Success

Friends of the Mobjack Rowing Association Fund  – Rowing propels students to future success 

Rowing for Mobjack

Image Courtesy Mobjack Rowing

As a teenager, Tim Ulsaker took a bet with his brother that would spark a passion so deep; it became the inspiration for his life’s work. For $25, he agreed to try out for the championship level crew team at Washington- Lee High School in Arlington, led by legendary coach Charlie Butt. While Tim did not develop into what he considered a stellar rower, he was mesmerized by the excitement and physical demands of the sport, as well as the invaluable life lessons it afforded him.

When Tim took a job as the auto mechanics teacher in the rural, waterfront community of Mathews County, he knew this was the right place to cultivate his vision – a place steeped in the tradition of maritime trades and seafood harvesting, where residents know the local waters like the back of their hands. The teacher became a coach. The river became an extension of the classroom. And the desire to share the rewards of rowing with his community turned into something far greater than he ever imagined.

Over the years, Tim has grown the Mathews High School rowing program with the same grit and determination he seeks to impart on his students. He has developed insecure teenagers into head strong young men and women who believe they can reach any goal set before them. He won over apprehensive residents and turned them into loyal and enthusiastic fans. He moved his practice facility from an abandoned old cow barn to historic Williams Wharf to give his students access to miles of sheltered open water, and he created Mobjack Rowing Association to provide for year-round rowing activities for the public. Ultimately, Tim successfully transformed a small high school crew team into a rowing powerhouse that regularly wins regattas against elite high schools across the United States and abroad.

After 28 years, 1,000 crew participants, $3.5 million in earned college scholarships and countless career opportunities, Tim has seen tremendous return on his and his faithful supporters’ investments. Through crew, he is shaping young men and women into successful adults by providing an experience that will serve them for life. As one former student writes, “Coach Ulsaker has taught me about responsibility, perseverance, and how to firmly stare adversity in the face and beat it back with sheer guts.” Another states, “I will be forever grateful for the family of rowers I’ve gained, a competitiveness and demand for excellence in myself and those around me…and most of all, an unwavering love of the water and pride in the town I grew up in.”

The Friends of Mobjack Rowing Association Fund was established by an anonymous donor to support the operating needs of Mobjack Rowing and to serve as a lasting tribute to Tim Ulsaker for his time, effort and expertise in developing championship rowing in Mathews County and surrounding communities.

To donate to this fund, please visit

138 Main Street
Mathews, VA 23109
804-725-3454 |

An affiliate of The Community Foundation Serving Richmond and Central Virginia