PREMIERES TONIGHT/WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4 AT 10 P.M. ET/PT
Watch and Embed an Excerpt of the Segment: http://s.sho.com/1fz3oH1
Harvard Crew Coach Harry Parker lost his race with cancer on June 25th, but called the two years since his diagnosis of blood cancer "a miracle." In that time he continued his incredible winning ways and above all, coached his team to victory in his final and most important event, the Harvard-Yale crew contest that is the oldest inter-collegiate sports event in history. Correspondent Sharyn Alfonsi follows Coach Parker as he nears the end of his life and his lifework after 51 seasons at Harvard as one of the most successful coaches in American collegiate sports history. Alfonsi's portrait of Coach Parker, including his last interview, will be featured on the next edition of 60 MINUTES SPORTS, Tonight/Wednesday, September 4 at 10:00 P.M. ET/PT only on SHOWTIME.
Parker told Alfonsi he didn't think he would get that much time after his diagnosis. "…It's a miracle. The last two years have been a real bonus… it's been nice that it's worked out," he said. When Alfonsi expressed surprise that he would continue to work while battling the cancer, he said, "It seemed like the right thing to do."
And he did right, as he always has, with his crews. Harvard went undefeated in regular season competition in 2012-2013 -- the 22nd time they accomplished this over Parker's tenure as varsity coach-- and finished second in the nation. It's all part of a historic legacy that includes eight official national championship victories and eight unofficial national crowns when his crews went undefeated against all major competition.
Harvard's heavyweight varsity crew beat Yale's on the Thames River in Connecticut last June in the 148th Harvard-Yale Regatta with 60 MINUTES SPORTS cameras there to record the event and Parker's reaction to his last great win. He died with a record in the event of 44-7, including wins in 13 of the last 14 meets.
Parker was also an Olympic rower and coached Olympic crews, but when asked what was most important to him in his rowing career over six decades, the choice was simple: "Harvard-Yale."
Of his legacy, Parker told Alfonsi, "I don't think about that too much. You know, just that people remember me as being a good coach. That'd be fine."