Sullivan has been an integral
part of the Holy Cross rowing program for more than three
decades. He graduated from Holy Cross in 1970 after rowing for four
years and serving as co-captain in his senior year. He began
coaching the Crusaders in 1974 as the men's junior varsity coach
and assumed head coaching duties in 1975 and has served in various
coaching positions for both the men's and the women's squads.
In his 34 years as a coach, he gave uncountable hours to both
coaching and fundraising efforts.
The rowing program had its most successful season in 2002. That year, the varsity men's eight won the New England Rowing Championhips and captured the Men's Team Trophy. The men's lightweight eight also won the Patriot League Regatta and finished second at the Avaya Collegiate Championships. The team also earned an invitation to the prestigious Eastern Sprints and participated at the Royal Henley Regatta. Sullivan was voted New England Men's Coach of the Year in 2002 and was awarded the irow.com coaching award with Coach Patrick Diggins in the same year.
Sullivan oversaw the program's development from a regional program to a national player. When he took over, the Worcester City Championship was the highlight of the annual schedule. Over the course of his career, he helped propel the program to membership to the Eastern Association of Rowing Colleges (EARC).
After a 34-year coaching career, and 42 years since he first stepped foot on campus as a freshman, Sullivan retired. By then, rowing had become a perennial participant in the Intercollegiate Rowing Association National Championships and appeared in the national Top 20 rankings. As a tribute to his numerous contributions to the program, boats were named after both he and his wife Kathy.