Sailor of the Week: June 3-9John Mollicone, head coach of the Brown University sailing team, had an opportunity to take his coed team to the Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA) National Semifinals in the spring of 2009. John turned this chance down... By doing the right thing, he taught his sailors a life-long lesson through sportsmanship and integrity.
A day after the Bears missed out on qualifying for the national semifinals by one spot at the highly competitive 2009 New England Dinghy Championships, John was informed that his team could advance due to a scoring error by qualifying team, Connecticut College. John had about two hours to make a decision on accepting a bid to the national semifinals. Without enough time to consult with his team, John was forced to make a difficult decision on his own. On one hand, Brown had a successful season and would be a worthy competitor in the national semifinals. On the other hand, they had earned a bid by penalty and not based on their accomplishments on the water. After considering his options, John passed on the spot. The sailors on the Connecticut College team earned the right to compete at the national semifinals. John knew that and was comfortable with his decision.
“NEISA is such a hard district in college sailing and Connecticut College sailed a great event at the New England Championship,” said John. “They deserved to qualify and represent NEISA at the national semifinals and I didn’t think they should be penalized for improper paperwork.”
US SAILING President Gary Jobson proudly presented the W. Van Alan Clark, Jr. National Sportsmanship Award to John last week at the ICSA National Championships in Madison, Wisc. This US SAILING award is presented annually and recognizes an individual who best exemplifies the spirit of sportsmanship in sailing.
John joins a long list of highly respected sailors who have received the award since it was first presented 21 years ago. The list includes well-known sailors such as Nick Scandone, Olin J. Stephens, Dave Perry, Harry Carpenter, and Buddy Melges.
John began sailing with his parents at a young age. He raced with his father and began taking lessons at the East Greenwich Yacht Club when he was 10 years old. He first learned to sail in Dyer Dows, and then moved on to Sunfish, Lasers, and 420s. John sailed in college at Boston University and graduated in 1998. He was named an All-American skipper his senior year, while leading his team to a win at the New England Dinghy Championships, and a third place finish at nationals.
He has been the head coach at Brown for the past 11 years. While at Brown, John has coached 40 All-Americans and has led the Bears to 29 national championship appearances. In 2010, the Brown coed team finished third at nationals and the women finished fifth.
Personally, John has won multiple National, North American, and Midwinter Championships in a variety of classes ranging from dinghies to keelboats. This summer he looks forward to a lot of one-design sailing on Farr 40s, Melges 32s, and J-24s. In August, he is competing in the J-24 World Championships in Sweden.