Harvard Crimson

The Harvard Crimson are the intercollegiate athletic teams of Harvard College. The school's teams compete in NCAA Division I. As of 2013, there were 42 Division I intercollegiate varsity sports teams for women and men at Harvard, more than at any other NCAA Division I college in the country.[3] Like the other Ivy League colleges, Harvard does not offer athletic scholarships.[4]

Harvard Crimson
UniversityHarvard University
ConferenceIvy League (primary)
ECAC Hockey
EIWA (wrestling)
NEISA (sailing)
EISA (skiing)
CSA (squash)
CWPA (women's water polo)
NWPC (men's water polo)
NCAADivision I (FCS)
Athletic directorErin McDermott
LocationBoston, Massachusetts[lower-alpha 1]
Varsity teams42 teams
Football stadiumHarvard Stadium
Basketball arenaLavietes Pavilion
Ice hockey arenaBright-Landry Hockey Center
Baseball stadiumJoseph J. O'Donnell Field[1]
Soccer stadiumJordan Field, Ohiri Field
Lacrosse stadiumHarvard Stadium
Rowing venueNewell Boathouse, Weld Boathouse
Sailing venueHarvard Sailing Center
MascotJohn Harvard
Fight song"Ten Thousand Men of Harvard"
ColorsCrimson, white, and black[2]

Sports sponsored

Men's sports Women's sports
Cricket (club)[5]
Cross countryCross country
Field hockey
Ice hockeyIce hockey
Rowing (lightweight and heavyweight)Rowing (lightweight and heavyweight)
Rugby (club)Rugby
Swimming and divingSwimming and diving
Track and fieldTrack and field
Water poloWater polo
Co-ed sports
Fencing – Sailing – Skiing
† – Track and field includes both indoor and outdoor


Harvard's baseball program began competing in the 1865 season. It has appeared in four College World Series. It plays at Joseph J. O'Donnell Field and is currently coached by Bill Decker.

Men's basketball

Harvard has an intercollegiate men's basketball program. The team currently competes in the Ivy League in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and play home games at the Lavietes Pavilion in Boston. The team's last appearance in the NCAA Division I men's basketball tournament was in 2014, where they beat Cincinnati in the Round of 64 in a 12 vs. 5 seed upset. The Crimson are currently coached by Tommy Amaker.

Women's basketball

Harvard has an intercollegiate women's basketball program. The team currently competes in the Ivy League in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) and play home games at the Lavietes Pavilion in Boston. The team's last appearance in the NCAA Division I women's basketball tournament was in 2007.


The fencing team won the 2006 NCAA team championship in men's and women's combined fencing. Representing Harvard Crimson, Benjamin (Benji) Ungar won Gold in the 2006 Individual Men's Épée event at the NCAA Fencing Championship, and was named Harvard Athlete of The Year.[6] In 2020, the fencing program received more attention following a student admission scandal which involved former fencing coach Peter Brand accepting bribes to admit at least two sons of Maryland businessman Jie “Jack” Zhao into Harvard as members of the fencing team.[7][8][9]


Harvard v Brown, 2009
See: Harvard Crimson football and Harvard Stadium

The football team has competed since 1873 (using rugby union rules through 1882).[10] They have won ten national championships when the school competed in what is now known as the FBS.[11] They are perhaps best known for their rivalry with Yale, known as "The Game". Sixteen former players have been inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame.

Harvard's athletic rivalry with Yale is intense in every sport in which they meet, coming to a climax each fall in their annual football meeting, which dates back to 1875. While Harvard's football team is no longer one of the country's best as it often was a century ago during football's early days (it won the Rose Bowl in 1920), both it and Yale have influenced the way the game is played. In 1903, Harvard Stadium introduced a new era into football with the first-ever permanent reinforced concrete stadium of its kind in the country. The stadium's structure actually played a role in the evolution of the college game. Seeking to reduce the alarming number of deaths and serious injuries in the sport, the "Father of Football", Walter Camp (former captain of the Yale football team), suggested widening the field to open up the game. But the state-of-the-art Harvard Stadium was too narrow to accommodate a wider playing surface. So, other steps had to be taken. Camp would instead support revolutionary new rules for the 1906 season. These included legalizing the forward pass, perhaps the most significant rule change in the sport's history.[12][13]

Ralph Horween

In both 1919 and 1920, headed by All-American brothers Arnold Horween and Ralph Horween, Harvard was undefeated (9–0–1, as they outscored their competition 229–19, and 8–0–1, respectively).[14][15][16] The team won the 1920 Rose Bowl 7–6 over the University of Oregon.[17][18][19] It was the only bowl appearance in Harvard history.[20]


Harvard has won six national collegiate team championships: 1898 (fall),[21] 1899, 1901, 1902 (fall), 1903, and 1904. They have crowned eight individual national champions: James Curtis (1898, fall), Halstead Lindsley (1901), Chandler Egan (1902, fall), A. L. White (1904), H. H. Wilder (1908), F. C. Davison (1912), Edward Allis (1914), J. W. Hubbell (1916). They won the inaugural Ivy League championship in 1975, their only league championship.[22]

Men's ice hockey

The men's ice hockey team is one of the oldest intercollegiate ice hockey teams in the United States, having played their first game on January 19, 1898 in a 0–6 loss to Brown.[23] Former head coach William H. Claflin and former captain George Owen are credited with the first use of line change in a game against Yale on March 3, 1923 when the Crimson substituted entire forward lines instead of individuals.[24] The men's ice hockey team won the NCAA Division I Championship on April 1, 1989, defeating the Minnesota Golden Gophers 4–3 in overtime.[25] The Cleary Cup, awarded to the ECAC regular-season champion, is named for former Harvard All-American hockey player, coach, and athletic director Bill Cleary, a member of the U.S. hockey team that won the 1960 Winter Olympics gold medal. The team competes in ECAC Hockey along with five other Ivy League schools and is coached by Harvard alumnus, Olympian, and former NHL forward, Ted Donato.[26] Harvard competes in one of the most heated rivalries of college hockey at least twice each season against Harvard's archrival, the Cornell Big Red, in installments of the Cornell–Harvard hockey rivalry. Cornell and Harvard are the most storied programs currently in the ECAC.

  • 1-time NCAA men's champions: 1989
  • 10-time ECAC men's champions: 1963, 1971, 1983, 1987, 1994, 2002, 2004, 2006, 2015, 2017
  • 11-time ECAC men's regular-season champions: 1963, 1973*, 1975, 1986, 1987, 1988*, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2017* (*denotes tie)

Women's ice hockey

See the "Harvard Crimson ice hockey" navigation box at the bottom of the page.


Harvard men's eight at Henley, 2004
See footnote.[27]

Older than The Game by 23 years, the Harvard–Yale Regatta was the original source of the athletic rivalry between the two schools. It is held annually in June on the Thames river in eastern Connecticut. Both the Harvard heavyweight and lightweight teams are typically considered to be among the top teams in the country in rowing, having won numerous national championships in recent years.

For a time the Harvard lightweight men's team had one of the "oddest" streaks in collegiate sports, having won the national championships in every odd year from 1989 to 2003 (and in no corresponding even years).[29][30] The streak was broken when Harvard lost to Yale by almost 4 seconds in 2005.[31]

The women's heavyweight rowing team were NCAA Champions in 2003.



Harvard added Women's Rugby as a varsity sport in 2013, increasing the number of sports the school offered to 42.[32][33] Collegiate women's rugby programs are governed by the National Intercollegiate Rugby Association. Harvard was the first Ivy League institution to sponsor a varsity rugby program.[34] Prior to 2013, the Harvard Radcliffe Rugby Football Club, which began in 1982, had won two national championships (1998, 2011) as a club team.[34] Notable honors include: 2019 National Intercollegiate Rugby Association (NIRA) National Champions,[35] Ivy League Champions (2018, 2013),[36] Ivy League Sevens Champions (2016, 2017, 2019)[37][38]


The Harvard team won the Leonard M. Fowle Trophy in 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 and 2005, and the dinghies Intercollegiate Sailing Association National Championships in 1952, 1953, 1959, 1974 and 2003, the women's dinghies in 2005, the sloops in 2001 and 2002, and the team race in 2002 and 2003. The team was ranked 11th nationally in 2013 according to Sailing World.[39]

Men's soccer

Before the NCAA began its tournament in 1959, the annual national champion was declared by the Intercollegiate Association Football League (IAFL) — from 1911 to 1926 — and then the Intercollegiate Soccer Football Association (ISFA), from 1927 to 1958. From 1911 to 1958, Harvard won four national championships.

Women's soccer

Women's soccer was elevated from a club to a varsity sport at Harvard in 1977. Bob Scalise, Harvard's current athletic director, was the first head coach. The team has won thirteen Ivy League Championships: 1978, 1979, 1981, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2011, 2013, 2014, and 2016.

Men's squash

  • 40 national titles
  • 41 Ivy League titles
  • 2014 national champions

Swimming and diving

Harvard Swimming and Diving was founded in 190230. Harvard Men's Swimming and Diving is currently coached by Kevin Tyrrell, Harvard Women's Swimming and Diving is currently coached by Stephanie Wriede Morawski.


Michael Zimmerman played tennis for the Harvard tennis team, and was a member of four successive Ivy League championship winning teams, from 1989 to 1992. In both 1991 and 1992 he earned Ivy League Player of the Year and ITA All-American honors.[40]

Track & field

Harvard has men's and women's teams in track & field in Indoor, Outdoor (Men, Women), and Cross-Country.[41] Among its notable athletes have been Bill Meanix, who held the world record in the 440 yd hurdles, and Milton Green, a world record holder in high hurdles.

Men's volleyball

Inaugural season for the men's team was 1981. The Crimson compete in the Eastern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (EIVA) and are under the direction of head coach, Brian Baise.

Women's volleyball

Inaugural season for the women's team was 1981. The Crimson compete in the Ivy League and are under the direction of head coach, Jennifer Weiss.

Water polo

Coach Ted Minnis heads both the Men's and Women's Water Polo teams, which compete in the Collegiate Water Polo Association. The teams both play in Blodgett Pool.


First established in 1913, the Harvard wrestling team celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2013–14, making the Crimson one of the oldest collegiate wrestling programs in the nation. As part of that celebration GoCrimson.com released the "Top Moments in Harvard Wrestling History" in collaboration with the Harvard Crimson Wrestling team. The team practices and competes in the Malkin Athletic Center. In 1938, The Harvard Wrestling team featured the program's first national champion, John Harkness. Jesse Jantzen ’04 graduated in 2004 as the most accomplished wrestler in Harvard history. The Crimson's all-time leader in wins (132), win percentage (.910) and pins (50), Jantzen's accomplishments also include: 2004 NCAA Champion, 2004 NCAA Most Outstanding Wrestler, 3 Time NCAA All-American, 3 Time EIWA Champion, 4 Time NCAA Qualifier.[42]


  • Nils V. "Swede" Nelson Award – college-football award named for former player


Harvard has several athletic facilities, such as the Lavietes Pavilion, a multi-purpose arena and home to the basketball teams. The Malkin Athletic Center, known as the "MAC," serves both as the university's primary recreation facility and as home to the varsity men's and women's volleyball, men's and women's fencing, and wrestling teams. The five-story building includes two cardio rooms, a deep 25-yard swimming pool, a smaller pool for aquaerobics and other activities, a mezzanine, where all types of classes are held at all hours of the day, and an indoor cycling studio, three weight rooms, and a three-court gym floor to play basketball. The MAC also offers personal trainers and specialty classes. The MAC is also home to volleyball, fencing, and wrestling. The offices of several of the school's varsity coaches are also in the MAC.

Weld Boathouse and Newell Boathouse house the women's and men's rowing teams, respectively. The men's heavyweight team also uses the Red Top complex in Ledyard, CT, as their training camp for the annual Harvard–Yale Regatta. The Bright Hockey Center hosts the ice hockey teams, and the Murr Center serves both as a home for the squash and tennis teams as well as a strength and conditioning center for all athletic sports.

Other facilities include: Joseph J. O'Donnell Field[1] (baseball), Harvard Stadium (football), Cumnock Turf and Harvard Stadium (lacrosse), Jordan Field and Ohiri Field (soccer), Blodgett Pool, Olympic-size (swimming and diving, water polo), and Roberto A. Mignone Field (rugby)[43]

Television footage

Harvard Undergraduate Television has footage from historical games and athletic events including the 2005 pep-rally before the Harvard-Yale Game. Harvard's official athletics website has more comprehensive information about Harvard's athletic facilities.


  1. Harvard's overall administration is located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, but its main athletic department office and almost all of its athletic facilities lie within the Boston city limits. The Malkin Athletic Center (fencing, volleyball, wrestling) and Weld Boathouse (women's rowing) are located in Cambridge.


  1. Baseball: O'Donnell Field Archived November 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine. Harvard University Athletics official website. Retrieved January 16, 2011.
  2. "Color Scheme" (PDF). Harvard Athletics Brand Identity Guide. July 27, 2021. Retrieved October 31, 2021.
  3. "Women's Rugby Becomes 42nd Varsity Sport at Harvard University - Harvard". Gocrimson.com. August 9, 2012. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  4. The Harvard Guide: Financial Aid at Harvard Archived September 2, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. "- TheHub at Harvard College".
  6. Lodha, Karan (June 6, 2006). "Male Athlete of the Year: Benjamin Ungar | Sports | The Harvard Crimson". Thecrimson.com. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  7. "House Sale Leads To Arrest Of Ex-Harvard Fencing Coach Peter Brand In $1.5M Bribes Scheme". WBZ-TV. Associated Press. November 16, 2021. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  8. Cote, Jackson (December 7, 2021). "Former Harvard University fencing coach Peter Brand indicted after authorities say he accepted more than $1.5 million in bribes from Maryland businessman". MassLive.com. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  9. Jaschik, Scott (November 23, 2021). "Ex-Fencing Coach at Harvard Arrested for Bribery". Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved May 6, 2021.
  10. 'Evolvements of Early American Foot Ball: Through the 1899/91 Season' by Melvin I. Smith (Library of Congress Control Number 2008903251 first published December 2, 2008) pages xii and xiii
  11. Smith, Mel. "Early American Football Style College Champions 1882/83 – 1890/91". College Football Data Warehouse. Archived from the original on February 11, 2010. Retrieved January 20, 2010.
  12. "History of American Football". www.newsdial.com.
  13. Nelson, David M., Anatomy of a Game: Football, the Rules, and the Men Who Made the Game, 1994, Pages 127–128
  14. "Horween, Ralph". Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum. Archived from the original on March 17, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  15. "Horween, Arnold". Jews In Sports @ Virtual Museum. March 3, 2013. Archived from the original on March 13, 2013. Retrieved March 24, 2013.
  16. Jack Cavanaugh (2010). The Gipper: George Gipp, Knute Rockne, and the Dramatic Rise of Notre Dame Football. Skyhorse Publishing. ISBN 9781616081102. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  17. The New York Times Biographical Service. New York Times & Arno Press. 1997. Retrieved March 22, 2013.
  18. Ralph Goldstein (May 29, 1997). "Ralph Horween, 100, the Oldest Ex-N.F.L. Player". New York Times. Retrieved March 19, 2013.
  19. Dale Richard Perelman (2012). Centenarians. ISBN 9781477217306. Retrieved March 21, 2013.
  20. "A League First: Former Player Turns 100". New York Times. August 4, 1996. Retrieved March 23, 2013.
  21. Wheelwright, William Bond; Goodridge, Arthur Minot, eds. (1899). Harvard Teams 1898-1899. Cambridge MA. p. 29.
  22. "The Ivy League Men's Golf Records Book 2012–13" (PDF). Retrieved June 26, 2013.
  23. "Harvard 1897–98 Men's Ice Hockey Schedule". Harvard University. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  24. "Men's Ice Hockey- Timeline of Tradition". Harvard University. Archived from the original on March 9, 2012. Retrieved August 6, 2011.
  25. "1989 NCAA Tournament". Inside College Hockey. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
  26. Wodon, Adam (June 30, 2004). "Harvard Zeroes In on Donato". College Hockey News. Retrieved August 9, 2011.
  27. Men's rowing (both heavyweight and lightweight) and women's lightweight rowing are not part of the NCAA and have separate championships. The NCAA does conduct championships for women's heavyweight (or openweight) crews (Divisions I, II and III). See: NCAA Rowing Championship.
  28. ECAC Awards and Honors: ECAC Rowing Trophy. Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) official website. Retrieved March 3, 2010.
  29. "The Oddest Streak in Rowing". Harvard Magazine. May 2002. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  30. "Championship Races: Intercollegiate Rowing Association (IRA) Championship – May 31, 2003". Row2k.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  31. "Championship Races: IRA Championship Regatta – June 4, 2005". Row2k.com. Retrieved December 21, 2012.
  32. Rugby Mag, "Harvard Women Rugby to go Varsity" Archived January 27, 2013, at the Wayback Machine, August 9, 2012,
  33. "Harvard women's rugby named varsity sport". Harvard Magazine. August 10, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  34. "Harvard Women". Ivy Rugby Conference. August 17, 2017. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  35. "It's Lonely at the Top: Women's Rugby, National Champs and Team of the Year | Sports | The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  36. "Harvard Women Take Rugby Title". Harvard Magazine. November 6, 2013. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  37. "Women's Rugby Captures Ivy League 7s Title in Overtime Thriller | Sports | The Harvard Crimson". www.thecrimson.com. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  38. "Women's Rugby Wins Ivy 7's Championship". Harvard University. Retrieved August 20, 2021.
  39. "Sailing World's College Rankings, May 2, 2012". Sailing World. May 2, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2015.
  40. Nickel, Lori (May 2, 1993). "Up the Tennis Ladder Via Great Neck Courts". The New York Times.
  41. "College and University Track & Field Teams | Harvard University". streamlineathletes.com.
  42. "Top Moments in Harvard Wrestling History". Flowrestling,org. Archived from the original on September 24, 2015. Retrieved February 11, 2018.
  43. AllstonBoston, Roberto A. Mignone Field780 Soldiers Field Road; County, Suffolk; Massachusetts 02134 (August 19, 2017). "Harvard University: Roberto A. Mignone Field". Ivy Rugby Conference. Retrieved October 10, 2021.
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