The Boys in the Boat

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Ky Ebright Character Analysis

The highly talented coach of the University of California at Berkeley rowing team, Ky Ebright is Al Ulbrickson’s rival throughout the book. Having coached Olympic gold medalists in the past, Ebright is eager to repeat his feat in the 1936 games, but in the end, he recognizes that Ulbrickson has the finer team.

Ky Ebright Quotes in The Boys in the Boat

The The Boys in the Boat quotes below are all either spoken by Ky Ebright or refer to Ky Ebright. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Books edition of The Boys in the Boat published in 2014.
Chapter 7 Quotes

The next year, 1924, Washington returned, with a young Al Ulbrickson rowing at stroke, and won the varsity race again, decisively this time. In 1926 they did it yet again, this time with Ulbrickson rowing the final quarter of a mile with a torn muscle in one arm. In 1928, Ky Ebright's California Bears won their first Poughkeepsie title en route to winning the Olympics that year and again in 1932. By 1934 the western schools were finally beginning to be taken seriously.

Related Characters: Al Ulbrickson, Ky Ebright
Page Number: 113
Explanation and Analysis:

For a long time, East Coast rowing programs were the only major crew programs in America. Rowing was a popular sport, but there were no crew programs on the West Coast that could rival Harvard’s or Yale’s. However, this all began to change in the 1920s and 1930s, when programs at the University of Washington and U. C. Berkeley began to give Harvard and Yale a run for their money. Furthermore, Cal’s crew program sent a team to the 1932 Olympics and won, cementing the point that East Coast crew wasn’t the be-all, end-all of college rowing. The East-West rivalry intensified throughout the 1930s, and it persists today (although mostly in other sports, such as football and basketball). The rivalry was (and is) a good way for two different regions of the United States to celebrate their cultural identities and rally together in support for their teams.

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Ky Ebright Character Timeline in The Boys in the Boat

The timeline below shows where the character Ky Ebright appears in The Boys in the Boat. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
At the University of California, Ky Ebright, the crew coach, was also working with a lackluster varsity team. Ebright was a short,... (full context)
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
Around the same time, Ky Ebright and his Cal team were preparing to travel up to Washington for the annual race... (full context)
Chapter 8
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
...in Vancouver. Pocock used American cedar to build smoother, more aerodynamic boats. In October, Ky Ebright wrote Pocock to order new shells for Cal; in his letter, he accused Pocock of... (full context)
Chapter 9
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
...that whoever rowed faster at Oakland would row at the Pacific Coast Regatta. Meanwhile, Ky Ebright was having a hard time managing his team. The same rowers who had been the... (full context)
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
On April 7, the Washington team was in California, preparing for their time trial. Ebright and Ulbrickson spoke to reporters, doing their best to sound pessimistic about their teams’ chances.... (full context)
Chapter 10
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
East Versus West Theme Icon
...had demoted the sophomores to JV. On the other hand, Ulbrickson, feeling paranoid, wondered if Ebright had forced his team to lose to Washington early that year to lull Ulbrickson into... (full context)
Chapter 13
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
...the Poughkeepsie regatta, and, most importantly, the Olympic time trials in Princeton, New Jersey. Meanwhile, Ebright was even more confident than Ulbrickson; his own varsity team had posted a record three-mile... (full context)
Chapter 14
Teamwork and Trust Theme Icon
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
...Meanwhile, the varsity team bonded and continued to row spectacularly. At the same time, Ky Ebright prepared his team for Poughkeepsie, confident that he’d be able to defend Cal’s national title... (full context)
Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
Class Theme Icon
East Versus West Theme Icon
...but he would have to win one more time to stay ahead of his rival, Ebright. Ulbrickson congratulated his teams, but urged them to stay focused on qualifying for the Olympics.... (full context)
Chapter 15
East Versus West Theme Icon
...Washington’s victory at the regatta established it as the best crew program in the country—even Ebright said so. In July 1, the team packed for Princeton, where it would be rowing... (full context)
Epilogue
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Sports, Politics, and Community Theme Icon
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...another quarter century, and was later inducted into the National Rowing Hall of Fame. Ky Ebright won a third gold medal in 1948, and is remembered as one of the finest... (full context)