“Meet the Coaches” – MIT Sailing Head Coach Mike Kalin

Mike Kalin Head Shot with sailing pavilion and Boston skyline in background

Cambridge, Mass. (November 4) – As part of a series that will take part throughout the 2020 fall semester, the Department of Athletics, Physical Education and Recreation (DAPER) will be featuring a number of head coaches and DAPER staff members. The next installment of this series features Mike Kalin, one of the head coaches for the MIT sailing team!

As part of each feature, we have included a written question and answer session, along with a video interview where recruits, alumni, fans and others can learn more about the program and MIT. If you can't currently visit MIT, we will bring MIT to you!

Q: What is your favorite sport to watch on TV?

A: Sailing of course!  With foiling boats and drone coverage of the racecourse, I find it really exciting!  The fastest boats can now go triple the wind speed in some conditions, so it's definitely not the boring sailboat racing from 30 years ago!

Q: What is your favorite sports team?

A: New England Patriots, although that was predicated on being a huge Tom Brady fan since he came into the league 20 years ago.  I've lost a little bit of interest in football since Brady left for Tampa Bay.
Q: If you were not coaching what kind of career would you have liked?

A: Designing America's Cup boats. I've followed the event pretty closely my entire life and even remember my Grade 3 teacher informing our class in 1983 that the Australians had outclassed the Americans through this radical boat design.  Yacht design was one of the reasons I initially pursued mechanical engineering, so if I had to do it over, maybe that is where I would have placed my energy.

Q: What sports did you play growing up?

A: Hockey, basketball, soccer, but eventually my interest in sailing displaced all of those sports.  My home town of Kingston hosted the sailing portion of the 1976 Summer Olympics -- Montreal was the main host, but the sailing conditions are much better in Kingston.  I would say that single event influenced the trajectory of my life more than anything else.  I didn't come from a family that sailed, it was just something that my older brothers stumbled upon and I followed them.  I was fortunate to get a lot of support to sail in Kingston; first from my provincial team, then from the national team.  Kingston was such a hotbed for sailing that I had really great coaches and some great role models as a youngster.

Q: Have you started watching anything new in particular on TV since MIT moved to remote learning in March?

A: Nothing on TV, but I'm listening to more podcasts now than ever as I've gone on pretty regular walks to clear my head.  I listen to New York Times "The Daily" and NPR's "How I built this", pretty religiously.

Q: What was your most memorable college experience?

A: Engineers in Canada have a private ceremony known as "the Calling of the Engineer" upon graduation.  It's a pretty secretive event where you are bestowed with an iron ring to be worn on the pinkie finger of your working hand.  The ring serves as a daily reminder of the responsibility and ethical obligation to society; the ceremony had a lasting impact on me.

Q: If you had to make a playlist of music what would be the top three songs on it?

A: A tough question.  I'm certainly a lot less aware of the artists I listen to -- I mostly just plug in an artist to Amazon music and let their algorithm decide what I'm going to like!  I'd probably start with a Coldplay mix and see where that takes me. 

Q: If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world where would it be?
A: Colombia and Venezuela.  I've spent some time in northern Brazil and that was a pretty awesome trip.  I would love to explore northern South America and check out how people live in that part of the world.

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