William Joseph Knecht (March 10, 1930 – December 17, 1992) was an American competition rower. He took up the sport at La Salle University, and later went to Villanova University, graduating in 1951. In 1946, he joined the Vesper Boat Club and won multiple national titles with them. Internationally, he earned gold medals in the eights at the 1955 Pan American Games and 1964 Olympics, and in double sculls at the 1959 and 1963 Pan American Games.[3] He also took part in the double sculls event at the 1960 Olympics, paired with John B. Kelly Jr., but failed to reach the final[2] due to a sudden illness.[4]

Bill Knecht
Bill Knecht 1964.jpg
Knecht at the 1964 European Championships[1]
Personal information
BornMarch 10, 1930
Camden, New Jersey, U.S.[2]
DiedDecember 17, 1992 (aged 62)
Cheltenham Township, Pennsylvania, U.S.[2]
Height183 cm (6 ft 0 in)[2]
Weight86 kg (190 lb)
ClubVesper Boat Club[2]

In his school years, Knecht was an avid basketball and football player. He was a lifelong friend of Kelly, both being godfathers of each other's sons.[5] By the time of 1964 Olympics Knecht had six children and ran a sheet metal business.[6] He later became a member of the U.S. Olympic Rowing Team Committee, a judge at the 1992 Summer Olympics, and the founder of the Cooper River Rowing Association. He was inducted into the American Rowing Hall of Fame. The annual Knecht Cup Regatta is hosted by the Villanova University in his honor.[7]


  1. ^ Spero of U.S. Gains in European Rowing. New York Times (August 7, 1964)
  2. ^ a b c d e Bill Knecht. sports-reference.com
  3. ^ Steven Olderr (September 14, 2009). The Pan American Games / Los Juegos Panamericanos: A Statistical History, 1951–1999, bilingual edition / Una Historia Estadística, 1951–1999, edición bilingüe. McFarland. pp. 166, 173. ISBN 978-1-4766-0468-8.
  4. ^ Stowe, 16
  5. ^ Stowe, 15
  6. ^ Mike Jensen (October 23, 2014) Vesper rower recalls Olympic glory of '64[permanent dead link]. philly.com
  7. ^ Kevin Rossi (April 9, 2015) Crew's Meghan Knecht, the Knecht Cup and Learning Her Family's Past. drexeldragons.com

Cited sourcesEdit