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Peter A. Holland

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Memories & Candles

“I didn't row under Coach Holland during my time at MIT (1985-1989), but I definitely knew "Coach." He was a friendly, inspiring presence and someone...Read More »
1 of 22 | Posted by: Richard Franklin - Alexandria, VA

“Coach Holland improved the lives and characters of many young men with his ability to challenge and support us as individuals and a team. My best...Read More »
2 of 22 | Posted by: Jeff Green - omaha, NE - Student

“Dear Coach Holland - thank you for coaching me and our whole team at MIT in the late '70's. Thank you for being a good man, a good coach, and a man...Read More »
3 of 22 | Posted by: John Stenard - Saint Petersburg, FL

“I rowed lightweight at MIT but my freshman year, after the lightweight races were over Coach Holland asked me to race with the Frosh Heavies at the...Read More »
4 of 22 | Posted by: Ahsan Iqbal - Holladay, UT

“Pete Holland was a really good coach, friend, and role model. I rowed for him during the 1970 and 1971 seasons at MIT, where in '71 he turned a...Read More »
5 of 22 | Posted by: Bob Wilson - Weston, MA - Student

“I have very fond memories of Coach Holland from my years at MIT (1998-1992). ”
6 of 22 | Posted by: David Brenneis - Madison, WI

“I only rowed crew a short time my sophomore year, 1976, where I was coached by Pete. I played varsity hockey and remember the keg parties MIT held...Read More »
7 of 22 | Posted by: Alfred Lewis - Student

“While I rowed on the Lightweight boat at M.I.T., and Coach Holland coached the Heavies, he was a big presence in the boathouse and often coached...Read More »
8 of 22 | Posted by: Robert Lambe - Topsfield, MA

“Pete Holland was a great coach, leader and example. I remember fondly those days on the MIT crew."Pull hard and go fast!" ”
9 of 22 | Posted by: Larry Esposito - Boulder, CO

“I learned rowing from Coach at MIT. Remember Winter training at FIT and IRA immersion at Cornell and Dartmouth. Cambridge is a long way from my...Read More »
10 of 22 | Posted by: Thom Shapton - Portland, OR

“Coach Holland coached me with the Varsity Mens' Lightweight Crew at MIT for most of 1993-1996.I remember two things about him most.First, his sense...Read More »
11 of 22 | Posted by: Scott Miller - Austin, TX

“The years Pete Holland spent at West Point were a wonderful gift. His experience made our crews better, but what is more, his dedication to principle...Read More »
12 of 22 | Posted by: Kelley Mohrmann - Beaufort, SC

“My condolences to the family and friends of Coach Holland. He had tremendous passion for rowing, and his time volunteering at West Point was...Read More »
13 of 22 | Posted by: Michael Meyer - Macomb, MI

“Rick and Tim,Your dad was a coach, mentor and friend to me. In addition to rowing, we shared an abiding interest in the Civil War period and in...Read More »
14 of 22 | Posted by: JIm Gorman - Boxborough, MA

“Coach Holland was my coach for all 4 years of rowing at West Point. He made me love rowing and being on his team. Making him proud was always my goal...Read More »
15 of 22 | Posted by: Faith (Copeland) Lee - KS

“Uncle Pete was the most fun-loving, outgoing, inspiring individuals I have ever known. He could put a smile on your face every time you thought of...Read More »
16 of 22 | Posted by: Douglas Lynn - Stamford, CT

“Coach Holland volunteered at West Point between 2001-2005 when I was a Cadet. As the Crew Team's manager, I was responsible for making sure the...Read More »
17 of 22 | Posted by: Jason Hillman - West Point, NY

“My sincere condolences to Rick and family. May your memories give you comfort during this difficult time. Heaven certainly received another Angel. ”
18 of 22 | Posted by: Maria Montanez

“Peter. We shared many magic moments together as freshman and Varsity Coaches. Also those moments off the water at IRA time or pre race evenings. Your...Read More »
19 of 22 | Posted by: Bill Sanford - Liverpool, NY

“I'm terribly sorry for your loss. Reading the many accomplishments Peter had during his journey made me understand just how amazing a person he is....Read More »
20 of 22 | Posted by: Thomas Carrazzo - North Scituate, RI

“I'm so sorry about your dad. ”
21 of 22 | Posted by: Joanne Thurber - Dudley, MA

“Rick, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. ”
22 of 22 | Posted by: Malcolm Lovett - FL


As a longtime collegiate rowing coach, Pete Holland's advice was simple: 'Pull hard and you will go fast.' His passion for the sport afforded him a long, successful and rewarding coaching career that he never regarded as "work."

Peter died at his home at the Southgate Retirement Community in Shrewsbury on Monday, September 9, 2019. He was 82.

Born on February 27, 1937 in Boston, he was a graduate of Middlesex School in Concord where he first began rowing. He was raised in Weston and after earning a Bachelor's degree in History from Dartmouth and completing the ROTC program, Pete served in the United States Army during the Cuban missile crisis. He married Marjorie Lynn in February of 1961, and by 1965 had finished a master's degree program in history from Wesleyan University.

From 1969 until 1988, Pete lived in Lincoln, MA, then moved to Harwich, MA, before settling in Shrewsbury, MA over the past decade.

A 1960 graduate of Dartmouth College, Pete began his coaching career at Salisbury School in Salisbury, CT. He then returned to his alma mater at Dartmouth to coach the Freshmen heavyweight crew from 1966 until 1969. From 1969 to 1996, Pete was a central figure in the MIT crew program, spending time coaching varsity heavyweight and lightweight crews. He also coached at the U.S. National Team level, serving as an assistant coach in the late 1970's. Pete's 1975 MIT second varsity heavyweight 8 won its event at the prestigious Intercollegiate Rowing Association regatta, and his varsity heavyweight 8 earned a silver medal in its event – both performances still stand as the best ever finishes for MIT heavyweight 8's at the annual "IRA" regatta.

Pete was honored at the Museum of Science on October 19, 1996 at a well-deserved MIT retirement party. He then completed his career serving as a volunteer coach for several years at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

A history major in college, he earned his master's degree in history from Wesleyan college, with the thought that if he couldn't make a living as a rowing coach, he'd become a history teacher. He was particularly drawn to the figures and battles of the Civil War era. He was also an avid follower of politics and often engaged in lively discussions on a variety of topics. A lifelong fan of New England sports teams, Pete had special affection for the Red Sox and Patriots and listened religiously to the games of both on the radio. He also loved rock and roll artists from the British Invasion, especially "The Beatles".

In addition to his wife, Marjorie he is predeceased by his sons, David P. and Matthew S. Holland.

He leaves his sons, Richard M. Holland of Medway and Timothy L. Holland of Northborough; his daughter-in-law Alison W. Holland of Medway; his grandchildren, James L., M. Tucker, Madison R. and Aimee M. Holland; nieces and nephews.

Family and friends will honor and remember Peter's life by gathering on Thursday, September 19th in The First Parish Church of Weston, 349 Boston Post Road, Weston where his Memorial Service will be held at 3 p.m. Rev. Jeff Barz-Snell will officiate. Burial in Lincoln Cemetery is private. There are no calling hours.

Memorial donations may be made to the Friends of the MIT Crew - Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 600 Memorial Drive, W98-200, Cambridge, MA 02139-4822 or www.giving.mit.edu/give/