Since he was a young boy, Sam has always been drawn to physical activity and sport. Throughout grade school he participated in many sports before settling on cross country and track in high school. However, when he was 16 years old, he had a fateful accident from a 30-foot fall and shattered his foot and ankle. The damage was extensive and permanent, and he was told by his surgeons that he would never run again, not even so much as across the street.
Still determined, Sam set his heights on new challenges. The next year, in 2004, he tried out for his collegiate rowing team at Berry College in Rome, Georgia where he grew up. With his ankle being a minimal obstacle, he fell in love with rowing more so than any other sport.
Sam spent the next 5 years with the Berry College Viking Crew, serving as President of the club for two of those years, which developed his interest in further coaching the sport of rowing. During his time at Berry, Sam had great success as a rower and player-coach, winning several prestigious medals in the Southeast region, including Gold medals at the Marathon Rowing Championships in Natchitoches, LA (2005) and at the Head of the Hooch (2009). Individually, Sam won Silver in the Championship Men category at the Tennessee Indoor Rowing Championships (2006) and a Bronze in 2009. He was also voted by his team as the Gus Stalling Overall Outstanding Crew Member Award for two years, the Dave Corbin Leadership Award in 2008, and Most Outstanding Men’s Varsity Athlete for four straight years.
Immediately after graduating from college, Sam was taken on as the Juniors Head Coach at Rocket City Rowing Club in Huntsville, Alabama in the Fall of 2009. As Head Coach, Sam sent multiple crews to the Finals of the 2010 Southeast Youth Regional Championships, having one crew qualify for Youth Nationals and finishing in the top 10. Sam has also spent much time rowing and racing with other Masters rowing clubs, including Lookout Rowing Club in Chattanooga, TN, Rocket City Rowing Club, Rome Rowing Club, and now Lake Oswego Community Rowing where he hopes to have many more successful years of rowing and coaching.